2003 Student Writing Contest Case

You are Chris Vanderson, president and owner of Custom Research Services. Your firm recently constructed a new headquarters building on a five-acre lot, and you’ve landscaped the unused four acres with lighted walkways, fountains, and ponds for employees to enjoy during their lunch hours, and before and after work. Your lovely, campus-like site is one of the few such locations within the city limits.

John Okura, the mayor of your city, will soon be running for reelection. He has written to you asking permission to hold a fund-raiser on your grounds on Sat. July 12 from 8:00 p.m. until midnight. This event will be for heavy contributors; up to 150 people, each paying $500, are expected. His campaign will take care of all catering, security, and cleanup.

You do not want to become involved in this event for several reasons. First, you are not a supporter of the mayor’s policies. Second, if the present mayor loses, you do not wish to risk offending the new mayor. Third, if you allow this event, you will probably receive many similar requests by other candidates, nonprofit organizations, and the like. Despite their best efforts, so many people gathered outside at night are likely to damage the lawn and plants and create other problems.

You decide to write to the mayor and decline his request (The Honorable John Okura, Mayor of Hudson, City Hall, 2554 Main St., Hudson, Michigan 49236).

* This case was suggested by Deborah Valentine, Emory University, and adapted from “Microwriting” by Scot Ober in The Bulletin, March 1992, p. 42.