Tag Archives: courage

From Princeton, Something To Be Thankful For: The Princeton Open Campus Coalition


If the  plague of students ordering administrators to protect them from the stress of contrary views and unwelcome thoughts on campuses is not to reduce the U.S. academic environment to an apartheid, indoctrinating disgrace, it is obviously going to have to be the rational side of the student populations that staves off disaster. Fortunately, the Princeton Ethics Heroes Allie Burton, Evan Draim, Josh Freeman, Sofia Gallo,  Solveig Gold, Andy Loo, Sebastian Marotta,  Devon Naftzger, Beni Snow, Josh Zuckerman and their colleagues at Princeton Open Campus Coalition are equal to the task.

The students covered their institution in glory by delivering this civil and well-reasoned rebuke to the outrageous demands of the Black Justice League, which occupied Princeton administration building earlier this week. Here is their letter:

Dear President Eisgruber,

We write on behalf of the Princeton Open Campus Coalition to request a meeting with you so that we may present our perspectives on the events of recent weeks. We are concerned mainly with the importance of preserving an intellectual culture in which all members of the Princeton community feel free to engage in civil discussion and to express their convictions without fear of being subjected to intimidation or abuse.

Thanks to recent polls, surveys, and petitions, we have reason to believe that our concerns are shared by a majority of our fellow Princeton undergraduates. Academic discourse consists of reasoned arguments. We simply wish to present our own reasoned arguments and engage you and other senior administrators in dialogue. We will not occupy your office, and, though we respectfully request a minimum of an hour of your time, we will only stay for as long as you wish. We will conduct ourselves in the civil manner that is our hope to maintain and reinforce as the norm at Princeton. Continue reading


Filed under Character, Education, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Train Wrecks, History, Leadership, Race, U.S. Society

Ten Ethics Observations On The Resignation Of University of Missouri President Tim Wolfe


…for nothing, as far as I can see, except being in the wrong job when an “I’m mad at the world and somebody has to pay for it” tantrum by some of the black students got out of control.


1. I have searched and searched for a substantive reason for the upheaval. There is apparently nothing there. The university, the education of students and two men’s career’s (the University’s Chancellor has also been forced to resign) have all been disrupted, and for no good reason, except that some students decided it was a good time to grandstand. This makes the entire episode unjust by definition.

How ironic it is supposed to be about “justice.”

2. The main driver of events was graduate student Jonathan Butler, who started a hunger strike to force Wolfe to resign”for justice.” Given a chance to explain his position by the Washington Post, he had nothing definitive or constructive to offer, just vague dissatisfaction:

“I’m saying, even if you can’t really understand systemic oppression and systemic racism, is the fact we can’t be at a university where we have values like “Respect, Responsibility, Discovery and Excellence” and we don’t have any of those things being enacted on campus, especially in terms of respect. I’m on a campus where people feel free to call people the n-word, where people feel free as recently as last week, to used [their] own feces to smear a swastika in a residential hall. Everything that glitters is not gold. We really need to dig deep and be real with ourselves about the world we live in and understand that we’re not perfect but understand that just because we’re not perfect doesn’t mean we don’t start to understand and address the issues around us.”

Right. Some kids in a car that may not have been students and another individual on campus who has not been identified used  racial epithets. Some mentally deficient person, also unidentified, drew a swastika on campus using human excrement. (This type of incident tends to be a hoax  as often as not.) What exactly is the president of a university supposed to do about such things ? Wolfe mandated “sensitivity courses” for everyone on campus, which is already too much. I would refuse to attend. I would not respect anyone who did attend.

Heck, I might start a hunger strike.

It works. Continue reading


Filed under Character, Education, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Leadership, Race

The University Of Missouri Football Players Boycott And The Campus Race Conflicts To Come

In 1967, it was called "Columbia"...

In 1967, it was called “Columbia”…

I have searched far and wide, and this appears to be the full extent of the alleged provocation for the revolt of black students against the president of the University of Missouri, Tim Wolfe:

Sept. 12: Missouri Students Association president Payton Head posts about a racial slur directed at him.

Payton Head, MU senior and president of MSA, renewed the dialogue about racism and the racial climate on the University’s Columbia campus after publishing a Facebook post about his first-hand experience with racism. The night before, Head said he was walking around campus when the passenger of a pickup repeatedly shouted the “N-word” at him.

Head’s statement went viral on social media, and many people shared their support of Head and frustration with MU’s response, or lack thereof, to his post. “I’d had experience with racism before, like microaggressions, but that was the first time I’d experienced in-your-face racism,” Head told a Missourian reporter.

Oct. 5: Legion of Black Collegians members are the targets of racial slurs by a man on campus.

Another instance of racism brought the racial climate on campus again to the attention of students and administrators.

The Legion of Black Collegians shared a letter on social media describing the group’s encounter with overt racism the night before. The group was rehearsing for a performance at Traditions Plaza when a “young man” talking on his cellphone walked up to the group. After being politely and repeatedly asked to leave, the man walked away but referenced LBC members using racial slurs.

That same day, MU Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin responded with a post of his own, acknowledging and condemning racism at MU.

“There was a silence that fell over us all, almost in disbelief that this racial slur in particular was used in our vicinity,” Naomi Collier, president of MU’s NAACP chapter and member of the LBC’s activities committee, wrote in the letter.

Oct. 8: Loftin announces mandatory online diversity training for faculty, staff and students, which is met with widespread skepticism.

The training came after a number of accounts of overt racism experience by students on campus, but was met with skepticism and suspicion.Jonathan Butler, MU graduate student and campus activist, wrote a letter to Loftin saying the training was “a step in the right direction, but it is not enough.”

More recently,  someone used human feces to draw a swastika inside Mizzou’s Gateway Hall. Continue reading


Filed under Education, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, History, Race

Oh, Great: Ben Carson’s Model For How To Be President Is Barack Obama

And here's some advice for YOU, doctor: Shut up.

And here’s some advice for YOU, doctor: Shut up.

This is what I feared: Barack Obama’s irresponsible and deluded belief that being elected President makes him the Authority In All Things—the belief that I have referred to as the result of a flat learning curve,  would become a precedent luring future POTUSes into mischief. Sure enough, here is Ben Carson presuming to tell terrified people confronted by a mad gunman how to behave.

Ben Carson doesn’t have a clue how to be President, much less how to play hero. He has no relevant experience with either challenge, and this most recent silly statement, and it’s not his first, shows why Carson should stick to the operating room.  I covered a lot of this issue here, pointing out that the theoretical, hindsight heroes who just knew they would have reacted better than Mike McQueary when he witnessed Jerry Sandusky apparently molesting a child in a Penn State gym shower are engaging in convenient self-glorifying fantasies. Continue reading


Filed under Government & Politics, Leadership

Ethical Quote Of The Month: Yankees Pitcher C.C. Sabathia

CC Sabathia

“Being an adult means being accountable. Being a baseball player means that others look up to you. I want my kids — and others who may have become fans of mine over the years — to know that I am not too big of a man to ask for help. I want to hold my head up high, have a full heart and be the type of person again that I can be proud of. And that’s exactly what I am going to do.”

New York Yankees starting pitcher C.C. Sabathia, in a statement announcing that he would not be helping his team prevail in the upcoming playoffs and World Series because he was checking into an alcohol rehabilitation center to treat his alcoholism.

Nobody outside of the Yankees organization and Sabathia’s family was aware that he was suffering from this malady until the announcement. Here is his whole statement, which speaks for itself: Continue reading


Filed under Character, Ethics Heroes, Ethics Quotes, Health and Medicine, Sports, Workplace

Fordham, Marquette and Brown Revoke Bill Cosby’s Honorary Degrees


They want the robe back too, Cos...

They want the robe back too, Cos…

From a Brown University release last week:

“It has become clear, by his own admission in legal depositions that became public this summer, that Mr. Cosby has engaged in conduct with women that is contrary to the values of Brown and the qualities for which he was honored by the University in 1985. On Friday, September 25th, the University’s Board of Fellows held its first regularly scheduled meeting since that information became available. The Fellows deliberated and determined to revoke and rescind the honorary doctorate conferred upon Bill Cosby by Brown University.”

This was the right thing to do, and the three universities—Fordham and Marquette had beaten Brown to the dishonoring of Cosby by a few days— all deserve praise for doing it. No, this verdict isn’t inconsistent with my post condemning Disney’s decision to remove Cosby’s bust in its Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Hall of Fame Plaza. I made it very clear that the problem with that decision was that it involved withdrawing an honor that had nothing do with Cosby’s character, and was one that was earned and still warranted: Continue reading


Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Character, Education, Gender and Sex, Popular Culture

A Final Post Debate Observation: Cognitive Dissonance And The Welch Effect

Rand Paul23I’m literally the only one writing about this—which is to say that everyone else is wrong— so I might as well wrap it up.

You will recall that I predicted (and hoped) that one of the candidates in the CNN debate on Wednesday would have the wit, historical perspective and guts to prepare a Joseph Welch take-down of Donald Trump, as it is an excellent way of shining harsh light on a bully and ethics miscreant. This is how lawyer Joseph Welch ended the reign of terror of Sen. Joe McCarthy on live TV in the medium’s “Golden Age,” and McCarthy was bigger and more deadly game than The Donald.

I wrote:

Will the same tactic work on Trump? It should: it would have worked in the first debate. Now, it may not, because many Welches will not be as effective as a single one, and I would not be surprised if several of Trump’s competitors will have a Welchism rehearsed. It also won’t work if the wrong Welch jumps in first, or if he blows his delivery. (Welch was quite an actor.) We shall see. If someone doesn’t at least try it, none of these 15 non-Trumps are  smart enough to be President.

Well, the Welch moment came almost immediately, as the first candidate with an opening to deliver it took his shot: Sen. Rand Paul. As I wrote in my follow-up piece yesterday, it wasn’t completely Welch-worthy, but it stung:

The Joseph Welch moment that I predicted occurred, though it was a wan and, as I feared, an incompetent version.  The Welch-wannabe was Rand Paul, and he directly referenced Trump’s “sophomoric” personal attacks, saying…

“Do we want someone with that kind of character, that kind of careless language to be negotiating with Putin? Do we want someone like that to be negotiating with Iran? I think really there is sophomoric a quality that is entertaining about Mr. Trump, but I am worried. I’m very concerned about having him in charge of the nuclear weapons because I think his response, his real response to attack people on their appearance, short, tall, fat, ugly. My goodness, that happened in junior high. Are we not way above that? Would we not all be worried to have someone like that in charge of the nuclear arsenal?”

…First, a Welch retort has to be delivered with withering contempt, not snotty combativeness. Second, the deliverer has to talk directly to the target; this is key. Not “he,” Senator. “YOU.” Third, whether or not the question was about the temperament of the man with his finger on the button, the danger of having a leader who behaves like Trump goes far beyond that….Still, Welch’s tactic worked a bit. Trump’s rejoinder, essentially “You’re ugly, too!”, got what sounded like awkward laughter, and Donald Trump, who is an entertainer, and who, like most experienced performers, can sense what an audience is feeling, was very subdued the rest of the debate.

What happened is that while the whole bucket of water didn’t land on the Wicked Trump, enough splashed on him to slow him down. When Fiorina delivered a mini-Welch later and Trump simpered his submissive “she’s got a beautiful face, and she’s a beautiful woman” line, he was still melting. She, more than anyone else, jumped in the vacuum left by Trump’s “shrinkage.” Continue reading


Filed under Character, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Heroes, Government & Politics, History, Leadership, Research and Scholarship, Science & Technology