A student group at Wilfrid Laurier University in Canada has closed down a cafe after its owner put up a job ad that jokingly used the word “slave”.
Sandor Dosman, the operator of Veritas Cafe, had been struggling to find new employees and said previous ads drew little response. He decided to turn this around by jokingly describing one of the positions as a “slave”.
Dosman wrote that he was looking for “a new slave (full-time staff member) to boss (mentor) around Veritas Cafe.” It also included jokes about man buns, tattoos, and food safety because, according to the ad, “we try to not kill our customers.”
While it attracted more applicants than usual, the graduate students’ association at Wilfrid Laurier University didn’t share the owners’ sense of humor.
They student group terminated the contract with the cafe, forcing it to close down.
According to Dosman, the student group axed the partnership with his cafe because of the offensive ad. In a boardroom meeting on Monday, he was told the contract will be terminated as soon while being escorted off campus by two security officers.
“This came completely out of left field. I’m still in shock,” Dosman told The Record. “It was just black and white, ‘You are done.’ Now I’m out of the job and I have no idea what I’m going to do next.”
“I decided I’d try something a little different, but maybe it was a little too outside… I apologize if I offended anyone, that certainly wasn’t my intention,” he added.
“I wouldn’t have done it if I knew this was going to happen. I have no job now.”
Many café regulars defended the owner. The university’s ethics professor Byron Williston wrote an open letter to the student group, accusing them of acting like “spoiled children” and “petty bullies.”
He wrote: “I suppose it’s a sign of the times, especially on university campuses whose student bodies — undergraduate and graduate — seem to have been taken over by the terminally thin-skinned and self-righteous.”
“Perhaps you should direct your moral outrage at some of the many real problems in the world rather than behaving like petty bullies,” the professor added.