Our recent rerun of the article A Partner’s View of HBS has stirred a modicum of controvery and discomfort. In a Letter to the Editor run in last week’s Harbus, an anonymous partner wrote “By printing one disgruntled partner’s rant you’ve now intimidated several men and women who have just moved to a new place for the person they love, are trying to make friends and adjust to a stressful new schedule . . . Not only that, you have robbed them of their ability to place judgment and decide what’s fun and what’s not for themselves.”
I understand and appreciate this partner’s concern. A Partners View of HBS was run because it highlighted issues surrounding HBS partners. If you look through past issues of the Harbus over the last several years, you will find very few mentions of HBS partners. Likewise, in my experience and the experiences of those I have polled, most feel that the plight of HBS partners are often ignored and their experiences marginalized. We ran that acerbic article so that it could drive a conversation about members of the HBS family who may at times be ignored. The best time to run it was when the RCs first arrived, when they could best be sensitized to the issues surrounding HBS partners. To run the article after the new class had settled into patterns of behavior and after many partners had already had unfortunate experiences would have been too late. We ran the article early so that something might be done about the complaints it contained before it was too late for another class.
In this week’s issue we again feature an article that relates directly to partner-related issues. We will continue to run articles which address these critical and beloved members of the HBS community and want to heighten awareness of the issues that they face. With this issue as with all important ones, it is not possible to have a frank conversation without causing some discomfort. Unfortunately, it is also not possible to improve without having a frank conversation. ?