An Admissions Scandal Shows How Administrators’ Ethics ‘Fade’

http://chronicle.com/article/An-Admissions-Scandal-Shows/229477/

Over the past 14 weeks in class we have discussed the gray area and this article addresses some of the reasons why some people decide to act unethical. Nathan F. Harris, a doctoral student in higher education at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, conducted a study on administrative misconduct. Harrison examined the 2009 Illinois admissions scandal; the University of Illinois has a hidden admissions process to ease the entry of applicants who were associated with politicians, donors, and other university officials. Harris states that misconduct, “originates, evolves and sustains itself as a result of a confluence of factors: common psychological tendencies, such as self-deception; environmental pressures, such as financial concerns. In addition, Harris also states that some administrators lose sight of ethical considerations, a phenomenon known as “ethical fading”. Finally the article discusses some of the findings as to why clout-based admissions process emerge and persist. There is certainly a lot of ethical fading going on at some institutions, but it will be interesting to see how other examples of administrative misconduct gets analyzed, I am sure that  psychologist and sociologist are also conducting such research and it will be interesting to learn what their findings are.

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Should Colleges be Judging Rape?

http://chronicle.com/article/Should-Colleges-Be-Judging/229263/

In many of my classes we have discussed the role that a university plays in cases of sexual assault and whether or not they handle those cases in a proper manner. According to this article the mandates that the U.S. Education Department has imposed on universities for adjudicating sexual misconduct are unrealistic, and exceeds their legal authority. Currently there are more than 100 institutions under Federal investigation due to the way that they handled cases of sexual assault. Universities are getting complaints and lawsuits by victims of sexual assault who believe that their case was not handled promptly or fairly. On the other hand, some accused students who were found to be responsible and were suspended or expelled are also suing because of the lack of due process. Obviously, institutions need to reevaluate their protocols and procedures in order to insure that each case is handled promptly and fairly for both parties involved. The even bigger question is are colleges truly suited or equipped with determining if a student committed rape? If a college fails to respond to a report in a prompt and fair manner the U.S. Education Department may find that the institution violated the students rights under Title IX and if an institution is found responsible then in theory they could loose their federal founding. Dealing with sexual assault cases are extremely complex, I believe that colleges feel that they do have the obligation of keeping their students safe and ensuring that they have a safe learning environment. However, I also believe that in order to deal with these cases institutions need the staff, perhaps lawyers, investigators who are trained in dealing with these manners. Obviously that would mean funding for these positions, and how many universities are in the position to do that? This article goes into great detail into some cases and how some institutions have decided to deal with. This is a very serious and important topic that we must all be cognizant of.

North Charleston Mayor Announces All Officers Will Wear Body Cams

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/04/08/north-charleston-body-cameras_n_7027076.html

I don’t even know where to begin, I am at a loss for words because I truly can not comprehend why Officer Michael Slager decided to fatally shoot Walter Scott. A video that was recorded by a bystander shows that Walter Scott was not fighting with the police officer or in no way was he threatening his life. Michael Slager has now been arrested and has been charged with murder. However, it is interesting to see how the attorney for Slager stated that, “Slager felt threatened because Scott tried to overpower him and take his Taser” these comments were made before the video was released. That same attorney told the media on Tuesday that he was no longer involved in the case. What if that video didn’t exist? Would Slager still be arrested and charged with murder? Probably not! Because this video has been released he has now been fired and has been arrested and charged with murder; the video contradicts several parts of the original statement that Slager made. How are civilians suppose to trust law enforcement when tragedies like this happen and continue to happen?

Upon this tragedy the Mayor of North Charleston announced today that all police officers will have to wear body cams. However the bill hasn’t been passed yet. The bill was introduced back in December but has to be passed by the House in order for it to become law. Are body cams going to be useful? According to,” a report cited by White House’s Taskforce on 21st Century Policing found that the officers wearing cameras had 87.5 percent fewer incidents of use of force and 59 percent fewer complaints than the officers not wearing the cameras. (On the other hand, a recent Fusion investigation found that body cameras didn’t appear to reduce use of violence by police)”. I certainly have more questions than answers.

Indiana College Presidents Speak Out Against ‘Religious Freedom’ Law

http://chronicle.com/article/Indiana-College-Presidents/228955/

The Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act is causing national controversy and outrage; Gov. Mike Pence signed it into law last Thursday. This article addresses how university leaders, specifically university presidents in the state  are handling this new law. “Seven institutions in the state — Ball State, Butler, DePauw, Indiana, Purdue, and Valparaiso Universities and Hanover College — have issued statements promising to honor their nondiscrimination policies. Most, but not all, of the statements go on to condemn the law”. The decision to release a statement came about when many prospective students and parents expressed their concerns regarding this new law and they want to know where these universities stand. “University leaders had to make a decision: Do they speak out against the law? How do they strike a balance between protecting the free exchange of ideas on their campuses and promising to be inclusive?” It is obvious that university presidents have to be careful when speaking about political matters, or social issues. However, this law has caused many perspective students and faculty to reconsider whether or not they want to live in a state and go to an institution that might not be very welcoming. Although some university presidents have shied away from taking a strong stance on this issue, others have spoken out because they believe it is their responsibility to do so. Those institutions who have released statements have received positive reactions.