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Case Study in Crisis Management: The Valley Club of Huntingdon Valley, PA July 13, 2009

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A summer camp for children from mostly ethnic minorities was apparently asked to leave a private country club in Huntingdon Valley after just one 90-minute session on June 29, s009.  The executive director of the summer program, Alethea Wright, claimed that a representative from the club told her the group was no longer welcomed, but would not provide a reason why.  Though accusations of racism have become rampant, especially since many kids from the camp overheard white members of the club complain about “the black kids,” Valley Club regulars defended themselves by saying they were never informed that the private business would open its grounds to so many people at once.  Facing the unprecedented crisis, the club’s president, John Duesler, recently issued an apology for the misunderstanding, and clarified that the deal was revoked because of safety issues.

For more on the widely-discussed scandal, see the following videos:

Discussion Questions:

1.  After reviewing the content above, do you believe that officials from the Valley Club were really racist, or simply overwhelmed by the number of new members?

2.  Either way, why do you think the Valley Club’s representatives still owed the summer campers an apology? What might’ve happened if they ignored the issue?

3.  Was club president John Duesler’s apology adequate?  Why, or why not?

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