An open letter to Joe Wiley, round II

President Wiley, (and others) –

The 2014 FHU Benefit Dinner is rapidly approaching. As FHU nears this critical fundraising event, I am writing to ask that you make a change to the planned keynote speaker for the event.

Like many children born in the 1980’s, I am no stranger to Bill Cosby or his family-friendly comedy. However, as of late, the allegations surfacing (once again) against him make it imperative that FHU move away from this complete disaster.

While Mr. Cosby has not been formally charged with a crime (as of this email) and may never be, FHU might consider conducting itself under the assumption that it would not host a convicted sex offender to speak for any cause, including one that raises scholarships for women. That he has settled cases of this nature in the past ought to be concerning enough. Additionally, while his silence may not be assumed as guilt, his refusal to speak out on or acknowledge these allegations is a concern.

As a past participant in the FHU Benefit Dinner, I have some limited understanding to the amount of effort, time, money, and commitment put into the event by many individuals at FHU. That should not be overlooked. Within that same view, I expect you will consider the rightness of continuing down this path.

Plenty could be said (and I am sure has been said behind closed doors) about the Public Relations challenge this presents, or how this will affect FHU’s ability to control its own message. That is a secondary concern. FHU should stand first for protecting the innocent, for standing beside the potential victims.

I hope you will choose to cancel the contract with Mr. Cosby (in spite of the financial value loss, etc.) and pursue a different emergency speaker. If and when you do this, FHU will be better in the long run as well as respected for making the right decision under the awkward circumstances.

Best regards,

Wes Hartline
B.B.A. of Finance, 2005

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