By Cazey Williams
Background: I wrote this email several months ago to the fool who succeeded me as president of a student organization at my undergrad. Most of the context should be clear once you read the email (though I’ve omitted identifying information, how gracious of me).
I’m posting this email both for your enjoyment and maybe your empathy. You may not relate to this exact situation, but most of us have endured similar ineptitude and have wanted to let them know how much they suck.
I will add that I sat on this email for two weeks before hitting send – but when I did, I bcc’d all the other people who had also been defecated on by this incompetent, irreverent imbecile. And seven months later, no, I don’t regret sending it.
Subject: Please Explain (burn #1)
Hi, Insert Name of Stated Incompetent, Irreverent Imbecile,
I'm curious as to what's happened to insert name of student organization. It’s been both frustrating and disappointing to hear about the organization’s struggles this year from afar.
When I joined the organization, it was struggling. However, when I graduated and we left it in your hands, we had set the chapter up for success. The chapter had more money and members than it had had in years. We set up events and traditions for future years. We gave you an actual transition. In fact, the primary goal of my chapter was to set the next year up for success.
It doesn't sound like that happened. From what I hear, this year's chapter has seen the worst leadership ever - if it’s seen any leadership. From what I know, an official meeting time was never set, you never had retreats, communication was lacking, and the president (you) doesn’t even attend some exec meetings.
How does that happen? I'm assuming you became overwhelmed by something, and maybe it was unforeseeable. On the former, why did you run for president? And on the latter, why didn't you step down or ask for help? You were surrounded by resources – other exec members and the student activities office. What did you learn at our school’s leadership conference? What did you bring back from the national conference?
I had worries from the start. I had to pin you down to transition you – at 10:30 PM on a Tuesday night while every other member of our organization was at a joint social.... I had to remind you several times to register for the national conference. You called me four days before the conference and asked how you were getting there. Basically, you threw away $900 that my board worked tirelessly to secure so that you and two others could go to Big City in the South. I really don't know how you got there - but you know what, I was excited you were there! I had hope.
But for nothing apparently.
Please tell me you were busy. I understand being busy. I was president of two organizations last year, financial director for a third, writing an Honors thesis, applying and visiting six grad schools, and trying to pass classes. I made sacrifices. I know it's so hard. So tell me you were busy - and then tell me why you didn’t ask for help.
Maybe you thought someone else would take the reins. But why would other members step in if you couldn’t even prioritize the organization? Why were there no set meeting times? Why did multiple friends ask me, the graduated president, what to do in circumstances because you were MIA? Why am I answering questions for you (ten months after I’ve graduated!): “Have I heard from the chapter?” “Have I heard from Insert Imbecile’s Name?” “What’s happening with the chapter?” “Are they alive?”
I shouldn’t be answering questions like that. Thank gosh I still care about the chapter enough to be concerned and respond. (That makes one of us.)
Are there even new members for next year? Have you left them money? Have you planned a transition? Have the forms been submitted to remain a chapter in good standing? Did I not transition you well? Why do I hear tales of exec meetings being canceled once everyone’s already assembled except for you?
Actually, forget all that: Will there even be a chapter next year?
I’m just trying to understand why you ran for president. You don’t run for office (including giving a speech) and then drop the ball; this isn’t Times Square on New Year’s Eve. I’m fully aware you’re on exec for multiple other organizations. I hope you’ve become aware that leadership is not simply holding a title. And also, I hope you’re aware that when you’re president of an organization, that organization takes precedent over all the other ones – even if the other ones are higher in the social hierarchy. The only thing that should precede it - and maybe I’m mistaken and old-fashioned - is schoolwork. (And I’m pretty sure you were only president of one organization, though actively participating in others, thank you, Facebook and Instagram.)
From my alumni perspective, this year’s chapter desecrated all of last year’s work. Desecrated. That’s why I’m writing this email. Not just to vent my frustrations, but to let you understand how letdown the alumni are. And not minimally letdown. No, no, minimal letdown does not result in an email like this. And you had ways out: Must I repeat it, you could have asked for help from your chapter adviser, your exec members, myself, etc., or you could have stepped down instead of letting the chapter degenerate.
I can’t understand why you ran for office. You had to guess you were going to be overwhelmed when you were running for exec for every other organization you were in (let me know if that’s a false statement) and also going to be a senior applying for grad school, not to mention just doing general senior things (though obviously not attending the Big Event Our Chapter Put on for Seniors – that was an event we put on last year).
To close, I want to make clear I don’t hate you or anything like that. Simply, I am so disappointed and wondering what happened. And I also want to make sure you have taken the time to consider what’s happened, so that next time when you have the urge to run for a position, especially the top one, you remember what happened to the chapter you were president of. I’d love to talk if you want and give suggestions on how the year may be salvaged, but I understand if you’re too busy.
Addendum: No, the imbecile never replied.