UBC President and Vice-Chancellor, Santa Ono, today made the following statement in response to public criticism of UBC’s decision to cancel John Furlong’s contract to speak at the upcoming Millennium Scholarship Breakfast:
UBC made this decision in good faith, but without proper consideration of its potential impact on Mr. Furlong or his family. While this decision was made without my knowledge or that of the UBC Board of Governors, I deeply regret this error and have apologized to Mr. Furlong on behalf of UBC. We do so again here.
While some take issue with Mr. Furlong, he also has a great number of supporters in the community, and there can be no question over his record of public service and his extraordinary contributions to amateur sport, to BC and to Canada. There is also no question that he deserved better in UBC’s handling of this matter.
At root, the university’s decision-making throughout this matter did not meet the standard I am eager to instill. While a modern university should neither court nor shy from controversy, our decision-making should be the result of a robust deliberative process.
In this case, we have no one to blame but ourselves and I will be working with the leadership team on ways to ensure we do better in the future.
We hope these events do not distract from the importance of the 18th annual Millennium Scholarship Breakfast. This is a vital fundraising event supporting scholarships for student athletes and I’m hopeful that it will attract the same level of community support as ever.
Finally, we wish to be clear that our event sponsor had no role in this decision and remains supportive of the event.
Professor Santa J. Ono
President and Vice-Chancellor
UBC Public Affairs