UBC President and Vice-Chancellor Santa Ono announced today the reinstatement of John Furlong as the keynote speaker at the university’s 18th Annual ZLC Millennium Scholarship Breakfast on February 28, 2017. The university had previously cancelled Mr. Furlong’s keynote address. President Ono offered the following statement:
UBC and I have apologized for our handling of this matter publicly and directly to John Furlong and his family. With today’s decision we are making right the fundamental wrong at the heart of the issue: a well-intentioned but incorrect decision to cancel John’s speaking engagement in the first place.
John Furlong has an extraordinary record of public service and accomplishment, and is the holder of an honorary UBC doctorate degree. He has been, and continues to be a champion for amateur sport in Canada and around the world. In this regard, he is especially qualified to speak at this event for the benefit of our aspiring student athletes.
We confirm that Mr. Furlong has graciously accepted our invitation.
Notwithstanding what led to the decision to cancel Mr. Furlong’s keynote address, I have made it my decision as president of the university to reverse course because it is simply the right thing to do. I decided this after better informing myself with the facts, including Mr. Furlong’s stellar reputation in the fields of business, leadership and sport, the diverse views of our many stakeholders, and, as importantly, the judicial record. The British Columbia Civil and Supreme Courts have ruled in favour of Mr. Furlong in every matter that has come before them. The university had no basis to put its judgment above theirs.
My strong hope is that we can now all move forward with Mr. Furlong delivering an inspirational address that will result in a memorable, uplifting experience for the audience and a highly successful fundraiser for UBC’s student athletes.
Tickets may be purchased at: http://www.gothunderbirds.ca/breakfast
Professor Santa J. Ono
President and Vice-Chancellor
UBC Public Affairs