Phi Beta Cons

Studies in University Ethics?

…A non-starter. Don’t expect:

the leading ethics centers — Harvard’s Edmond J. Safra Foundation Center for Ethics, Princeton’s Program on Ethics and Public Affairs, or Yale’s Program in Ethics, Politics, and Economics — to sponsor lectures, fund graduate student and faculty fellowships, or publish writings that examine … ethical questions that stem from contemporary university life. While lavishing attention on legal, political and medical ethics, and to a lesser extent business ethics and journalism ethics — worthy areas of inquiry all — our leading university ethicists have shown scant interest in exploring university ethics. (Peter Berkowitz, “Ethics 101,” Wall Street Journal)

What else is new? Where there is no accountability, self-criticism is of no account.

Some years back I had a few words to say about the neglect of university ethics, its seminal role in informing other professional ethics, and how practically to address ethical problems on campuses. (The Chronicle of Higher Education, “Professional Ethics Begin on the College Campus,” September 19, 2003)
Since then, as Berkowitz shows, there has not been little or no progress in getting universities to reflect on the state of their own ethos.

Candace de Russy — Candace de Russy is a nationally recognized expert on education and cultural issues.

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