When Not Saying Anything is Truly the Best Choice

Within only a short period of time, there are two individuals who probably truly wish they have chosen their words more carefully…

The first of the major gaffes was from outgoing Ohio State president, Gordon Gee, who decided to take a shot at Notre Dame and Catholic institutions. In an address back in December, this was the following message he delivered:

“The fathers are holy on Sunday, and they’re holy hell on the rest of the week. You just can’t trust those damn Catholics on a Thursday or a Friday, and so, literally, I can say that. Father Joyce was one of those people who ran the university for many, many years. Notre Dame wanted to have its cake and eat it, too.”

He made this statement during a meeting with professors, students, members of the athletic department and athletic director Gene Smith. This was recently leaked to the greater public which put more pressure on the commonly controversial president. He has gotten in trouble at each of his schools, including his first stint at OSU.

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The second major mistake came from a junior professor who did not consider that spreading the word of eugenics in the educational realm was going to get him a plethora of negative attention. In a Twitter post, he chose to say that PhD students will fail if they could not succeed at eliminating carbs from their diet. The implication taken by the general public was that he was saying overweight people cannot achieve a doctorate. The explosion on social media was huge. Much of it was rather clever, but the sentiment was that the majority of the public reaction was offense and disappointment in this man’s opinion.

Both of these men have recanted their original statements but their words live on in the immortal world of the internet. When in a leadership position like these men, role modeling appropriate behavior can not only mean the difference of garnering respect but also whether you can keep your job. In a complex world where lines are crossed on a regular basis, we need to expect more out of our leaders to help the next generation of leaders have a solid, respectful foundation to build upon.

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