In a vulnerable moment, an RC student shared their personal experience with fraud and was subsequently placed under citizen’s arrest by a hotshot JD/MBA section mate.
In the seventy-fifth minute of an afternoon Leadership and Corporate Accountability (LCA) class, an RC section was stunned when JD/MBA student Fred Eralé declared he was placing fellow section mate Jay Walker under citizen’s arrest.
The lead-up to this dramatic scene began as the quality of comments decreased in the back half of the class. Senior Lecturer Smit Smith, a steely veteran of the case method, attempted to breathe new life into the discussion by prompting students to share their personal experiences with fraud. Jay Walker raised his hand and contributed that the situation outlined in today’s case “wasn’t even that bad” and that in his last job he had “personally done way worse.” Walker proceeded to outline his offense in detail.
Eralé, across the room, shot up out of his chair while wearing his signature HLS sweater, pointed at Walker, and declared, “By the power vested in me by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, I hereby place you under citizen’s arrest.”
A lively debate followed. Lecturer Smith decided to step back from the pit and take a seat. “It was great to see the students finally leading the discussion. This is what the case method is all about. After 60 years of teaching, this was truly a first.”
Eventually, as Eralé was waving a printout of the fraud triangle over his head demanding justice, Smith reluctantly interjected, proclaiming, “I have to get through these wrap slides.”
A buzz of commotion broke out in the Alrich 009 classroom. According to first-hand accounts of the incident, the Community Values Rep was seen frantically flipping through the section norms document to see what guidance it offered regarding a citizen’s arrest. The Admissions Rep had already begun quietly shepherding the 15 prospective student guests out of the room, hoping to avoid further embarrassment and a substantial drop in yield. The section President then stood up and called an emergency meeting of RCHQ, citing exceptional circumstances.
According to section insiders, the Community Values Rep took the floor and called for the section to reconvene on section norms, focusing on generating an aligned response to a citizen’s arrest-type situation. After more than three hours of circular discussion, and no consensus on what to do, section morale was wearing thin.
At this point, Walker made a stunning admission; he didn’t commit fraud at all. The story was entirely fabricated. When pressed by section leadership on why he would make such a comment Walker responded by saying, “I didn’t speak last class, I just felt like I had to get in”.
A wave of relief flooded the room with section mates saying the move was “totally understandable” and “entirely reasonable.” The prevailing sentiment was that the section should move on from this slight hiccup and focus on building back a strong section culture. Eralé was unconvinced and called for a moot court to “get to the bottom of it.”
While there was initial support for the idea, the section Treasurer quickly shot down the proposal due to budgetary constraints citing several students who had “not yet paid their retreat dues.” In a last-ditch effort to bolster his case, Eralé called for the scribe to read back the record. However, despite Walker’s comment being over 3 minutes long, the only scribe notes written were “personal experience comment”, which failed to support Eralés’ case.
Following the incident, the Harbus Special Situations team of investigative journalists dove deep to uncover what really happened during this bizarre turn of events. The investigation revealed that Eralés had run up the highest student bill the HLS Coop had ever seen. After reviewing HBS Classcards, the Harbus team further discovered that Fred Eralés was not a JD/MBA but an RC who “was thinking about” cross-registering at an HLS class next year.
Keir Sullivan (JD/MBA ’23) was raised in St John’s, Newfoundland & Labrador and studied Life Science and Commerce at Queen’s University. Prior to HBS, Keir worked at J&J.
River Ewing (JD/MBA ’23) grew up on a farm outside of Toronto, Ontario and studied Philosophy and Business Administration at the University of Western Ontario. Prior to HBS, River worked at a family office.