Ethics Alarms Awards Update: Let Us Not Forget “The Most Unethical University Of 2014,” and The Most Unethical Ethicist Who Helped Make It That Way

The unethical ethicist.

The unethical ethicist.

I finally completed the 6th Annual Ethics Alarms Awards for the Worst of Ethics yesterday, longer and more nauseating than its five predecessors, and also, as I realized when I awoke with a jolt at dawn this morning, more incomplete.

Somehow, I managed to omit two important and prominent awards that were in my notes but managed to elude me when I was preparing the final version. Here they are: I’ll be adding both to the official awards posts today:

Most Unethical University and Worst Academic Scandal of the Year:

The University of North Carolina and its incredible fake courses scheme that for 18 years between 1993 and 2011 allowed more than 3,100 students, 47.6 percent of them athletes, to enrolled in and receive credit for  classes that did not exist.

Least Ethical Ethicist

Prof. Jeanette M. Boxill, a philosophy professor and senior lecturer on ethics  who ran the University of North Carolina’s Parr Center for Ethics, and who somehow decided it was ethical to steer U.N.C.  into fake classes to help them maintain their eligibility with the National Collegiate Athletic Association, and actively worked to cover up the scam. Among other aspect of her participation, Boxill  helped players write papers, which the official university report on the conspiracy characterized as stepping across the line of permissible conduct.

Ya think??

The Chronicle of Education article about Boxill’s participation suggests that she rationalized helping the athletes graduate as “the ethics of care,” and a colleague says that she may have “often let her heart guide her.” Her heart guided her to allow students to acquire a degree that misrepresented their academic work to the world, and to perpetuate and further corrupt the already corrupt system of college athletics? Wow. For an ethics professor, she had a remarkably ignorant and unethical heart. She has,blessedly, been fired, and is appealing the decision.

I wonder on what grounds? I don’t think even The Saint’s Excuse (Rationalization #13 on the Ethics Alarms List) applies to her conduct.

The U.N.C. Scandal Accountability: No Punishment, Just “It’s OK…Just Don’t Do It Again”

Oh…and don’t get caught next time.

"BAD University! BAD! OK, that's over---keep on doing your lazy, sloppy job for obscene tuition fees...."

“BAD University! BAD! OK, that’s over—keep on doing your lazy, sloppy job for obscene tuition fees….”

Has the NCAA taken serious action against the University of North Carolina for 18 years of outrageous academic fraud? No.The organization placed the school’s football program on three years’ probation and banned it from the 2012 postseason, but that punishment was for other infractions too. Indeed, it is likely that the revelations about the fake courses credited to athletes and others resulted in no athletic sanctions at all. The NCAA’s position is that this is an academic rather than an athletic scandal. Funny, I seem to recall Penn State getting walloped with massive sanctions from the NCAA because it allowed an ex-assistant football coach to continue molesting little boys. That was a sick organizational culture scandal, and had nothing to do with the players on the field at all.

What would be a proper punishment for 18 years of allowing student athletes to play basketball and football while taking fake courses? I would say the forfeiting of  every game played in by one of those fake students, and 18 years of being banned from inter-collegiate competition. Perhaps then what laughingly calls itself an institution of higher learning might begin to take steps to ensure that its diploma is worth the paper it’s printed on. Continue reading

Ten Questions Regarding The U.N.C. Fake Courses Scandal

fake classes

Have you read about this astounding scandal at the University of North Carolina?

From the Times story:

Wednesday’s report, prepared by Kenneth L. Wainstein, a former general counsel at the F.B.I. and now a partner at the law firm Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft, found that between 1993 and 2011, two employees in the university’s African and Afro-American studies department presided over what was essentially a “shadow curriculum” designed to help struggling students — many of them Tar Heels athletes — stay afloat…More than 3,100 students, 47.6 percent of them athletes, were enrolled in and received credit for the phantom classes, most of which were created and graded solely by a single employee, Deborah Crowder. Ms. Crowder was a nonacademic who worked as the African studies department’s administrator and who told Mr. Wainstein that she had been motivated by a desire to help struggling athletes.Some of the classes took the form of independent study courses in which the students never met the professor; others took the form of lecture courses in which the classes were supposed to meet at specific times and places but never did. Over time, Ms. Crowder was joined in the scheme by the chairman of the department, Julius Nyang’oro, who became the professor of record for many of the fake classes. Mr. Nyang’oro retired in 2012, after news of the scheme came to light.

From CBS: Continue reading

Unethical Tweet of the Month: Actress Eva Longoria

 

Longoria tweet

Emilio Vicente, a gay illegal immigrant from Guatemala who is a candidate for  student body president at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, is now facing a run-off after receiving 41.08 percent of the vote.

He may or may not have been helped in his quest for the position by the above unsolicited tweet by actress Eva Longoria of “Desperate Housewives” fame. As far as anyone knows, she has absolutely no connection to Vicente or Chapel Hill. However, she knows he will be a “great leader” and is inherently a better candidate and more qualified than opponent Andrew Powell, who has the damning and disqualifying characteristics of being white, straight, law abiding and an American citizen. Vicente, however, is supremely qualified to lead because he is Latino, gay and illegal.

This is pure, undeniable bigotry, but politically correct, left-endorsed bigotry, so Longoria, who was the Democratic Party’s embarrassing 2008 co-campaign chair-–“war on women,” don’t you know—will never be criticized for it by the morally superior progressive establishment,  though her tweet is as indefensible and un-American as it is legalistically stupid.

I am officially declaring war on racist, bigoted, stupid women….like Eva Longoria.

_________________________

Pointer: Chris Plante

Sources: Daily Caller, Campus Reform,

 

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s Super Bowl Deception

"Well, I may not remember any of it, but the Commissioner says I'll life a long life..."

“Well, I may not remember any of it, but the Commissioner says I’ll live a long life…”

Today millions of Americans will gather around televisions, partying and cheering the spectacle of young men maiming and killing themselves for our entertainment pleasure during America’s most popular sporting event, the Super Bowl. An unknown but significant number of those athletes, we now know, are likely to be unable to recognize family members by the time they are 45, and several may take their own lives in despair.  Nonetheless, the official position of the National Football league is that all is well, and Commissioner Roger Goodell was touring the Sunday morning news shows to put out the propaganda claim that  pro football is good for everyone, even the players who accumulate concussions like the rest of us collect aggravation.

Presumably to appeal to the large proportion of the Super Bowl audience who know little about the sport, as well as the gullible fans who do, Goodell told Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace (who, if he had the knowledge, wit and integrity,  should have stopped him and protested) in response to Wallace’s question about the NFL’s ongoing concussion scandal, that NFL players live longer and are on the whole healthier throughout their lives than the general population.

This is deception, and intentionally misleading.

Goodell is taking advantage of the fact that all the measures of the mortality of pro football players are flawed, which is why last year the NFL Players Union commissioned Harvard to do a 100 million dollar study of the health of ex-players and how to improve it.  The union claims that the average age of death of an ex-NFL player is 57 years, which would directly contradict Goodell’s claim.  This figure is supported by a 2011 study by the University of North Carolina, as well as insurance company actuarial statistics.

The figure, however, seems statistically unlikely.  Measuring the life expectancy of any group of adult men, even those engaged in risky behavior, will yield an average life expectancy that is better than the general population. Why? Because men in the general population die as infants, children, young adults, and before they would be old enough to play football. Thus the NFL and defenders of the brutal game continue to promote the 2012 study that found that NFL players outlive the general population. If accurate—and the players find the study difficult to believe, as do I—it can be argued that this study is also flawed. It compares apples—strong, affluent, college educated upper-middle class men—to oranges–everyone else, including the poor, unemployed, uneducated and poorly nourished. Attempting to get around this problem, one blogger compared the deaths of NFL players to other celebrities whose death notices were prominently published. His conclusion: there was no denying the fact that pro football players appeared to die sooner that non-football players from the same general class, but there was no justification to believethe mid-fifties mortality figure.

So do we know how much playing pro football lowers life expectancy, or even if it does? No….and neither does Roger Goodell. The studies are in conflict. However, we do know that a disproportionate number of the players who may live well into their golden years will do so unable to think clearly, remember their children’s names, or care for themselves, because they accepted big paychecks to allow their brains to be permanently bruised and catastrophically damaged. I don’t call that living or being healthy, and Goodell shouldn’t pretend that it is, or cite as fact what is a disputed contention at best.

Playing pro football isn’t good for you, and if the studies ultimately prove that ex-NFL players are really likely continue breathing as long as the rest of us despite their brain injuries, that just helps us understand why they have been killing themselves.

_________________________

Sources: CP24, Boston.com, Lotsa ‘Splaining, USA Today, Forbes

University Justice Isn’t Ethical, Isn’t Reposponsible, And Isn’t Justice, Either.

Oh-oh...

Oh-oh…

The University of North Carolina is charging a student with an honor code violation because she did not acquiesce in a student Honor Court’s decision to dismiss a complaint of rape she filed against another student. The charge against her reads…

You are being charged with the following Honor Code violation(s): I.C.1.c. – Disruptive or intimidating behavior that willfully abuses, disparages, or otherwise interferes with another (other than on the basis of protected classifications identified and addressed in the University’s Policy on Prohibited Harassment and Discrimination) so as to adversely affect their academic pursuits, opportunities for University employment, participation in University-sponsored extracurricular activities, or opportunities to benefit from other aspects of University Life.

The student, Landen Gambrill, faces possible expulsion for her offense. Meanwhile, the man who she says raped her is still on campus.

Wait…what? This sound insane. How can this happen? Continue reading

Taking A Stand On Privacy, As Ethics Alarms Go Silent

"Oh, all right---as long as I get that job."

The cultural consensus on the boundaries of personal privacy are eroding more quickly than I imagined. There are a lot of reasons for this: the intrusions of technology, increased government intrusiveness as part of anti-terror measures, utilitarian calculations that conclude that privacy should be sacrificed for supposedly more worthy objectives, like preventing bullying, or discouraging sexism and anti-gay attitudes. Whatever the reasons, it is crucial that society puts the brakes on, hard, or George Orwell’s nightmare will arrive remarkably intact, just a few decades late.

A stunning report on the MSNBC blog Red Tape reveals that some state agencies are routinely requiring job applicants, as a condition of employment, to provide full access to their social networking accounts so their otherwise private communications can be monitored. Equally disturbing, college athletes at many colleges are being required to “friend” a coach or other university personnel, who can keep tabs on what the student is posting. From the University of North Carolina handbook: Continue reading