You have not been doing as well in your History
course as you had hoped. You decide the best course of action is to
speak with your professor so you drop by her office. As you approach the
door you hear her ask her assistant to make copies of a surprise pop
quiz she plans to give during the next class. Getting a good grade on
the quiz might be just the boost your grade needs, but you have already
forgotten most of the material. If you re-read the chapter to prepare
for the exam, are you cheating? Can you tell your friend who is also in
the course about the quiz?
No, you are not quite cheating if you re-read the chapter to
prepare for the exam. It was a coincidence, you did not see the
questions she will ask nor did you deliberately spy on her to acquire
this information. However, it does leave me with an unfair advantage for
this quiz. Thus, I would still meet with the History professor and
admit that I just overheard something about a pop quiz as I was
approaching her office. It would be my hope that she would decide I have
an unfair advantage and email the rest of the class (making it a
PLANNED quiz) or cancel the pop quiz for this week, and perhaps plan it
on a later date. Clearly, it would also be unfair for me to pass the
information to my friend (because it would give both of us an unfair
Janaki Khatri ‘14
You work in the bookstore with a guy
named Jack. At the end of the night you have the task of restocking the
merchandise while he counts out the cash register and makes the
deposit. One night while you are stocking the shelves, you notice that
after Jack makes the deposit, he reaches into the petty cash box and
takes out three twenty dollar bills. He looks up and notices you
watching him and tells you, “Don’t worry, I do this every Thursday
night. I take a little money so I can go out with my friends. We get
paid tomorrow and on Monday, I’ll slip the money back in. I do it all
the time, the manager doesn’t even know.” On Monday afternoon you go
into the cash box and sure enough, all the money is there, but you still
have a nagging feeling that what he’s doing is wrong.
Is Jack stealing? Will you inform your manager?
The Winning Entry: Kesha Sheth
is no honor among thieves. While Jack may not be stealing as
conventionally understood, this act is still considered to be stealing.
Anytime another person's property or money is taken without permission
or legal right, it is considered a theft. Even after he returns the
money, it does not absolve him of the embezzlement he committed. A
morally good act never cancels out a morally bad act.
ago, Plato and Aristotle promoted virtue ethics, a theory that continues
to be important in today's society. In professional and personal life,
people ought to strive to act in accordance with virtues that improve or
maintain their good character. Not telling the manager about Jack's
transgressions would be unethical and diminish my character. Jack's
actions cannot even be justified by necessity. If he really needed money
to go out, he could always save some money from the paycheck he
receives every Monday to use later that week.
The consequences of
keeping quiet should also be considered. If the manager ever discovered
Jack was "borrowing" money, not only would I get in trouble for not
reporting him, I would also be seen as untrustworthy. Therefore, it
would be in my best interest to inform the manager. If a person is given
the responsibility of handling someone else's money, he or she should
do so in the most respectable manner. As tempting as it might be to
secretly take no-interest loans from the storeowner, it is an unethical
act, and my not speaking up would be equally unethical.
Scott’s family never expected to be able to send
their son to college because they simply could not afford it. They were
thrilled when he received a full ride scholarship to play basketball at a
big university, giving him an opportunity they never imagined he’d
As wonderful as this, Scott has a problem. You see,
between his course load, practice schedules and games, Scott does not
have time to get a job and earn extra money. His scholarship only covers
the cost of his tuition; it does not provide him with money to afford
social outings with his friends or flights home to visit his family.
the university itself is making millions of dollars off of the ticket
sales, concessions, and memorabilia that Scott’s athletic talents have
helped stimulate. Given that he is the team’s star shooting guard and
the reason the team is putting up such high numbers this season, the
value of his scholarship is probably just a mere fraction of the value
that he generates among the school’s rabid fan base. His friends have
told him that the school should be paying him a salary because without
players, the school has no team. Is it fair that Scott is not receiving
some form of monetary compensation on top of his scholarship? Is he
being cheated by the school or is it a fair arrangement?
Winner - Michael Cuomo, '13 - History Major
The ethical question that Scott's scenario
raises - should he be receiving some sort of compensation given his abilities
as a student athlete - is indeed a complicated one. The college's basketball
team would not be as successful as it is now, or even exist for that matter,
without the star athletes that are currently on the team. When coupled with the
fact that the college makes an extremely large profit because of the games, it
only seems fair that members of the team, especially Scott, should receive some
sort of compensation. However, Scott receives a full scholarship from his
college because of his abilities, which in a way is a form of compensation.
This raises the question of whether this scholarship is enough, especially when
compared to the amount raised by the games.
I can see both sides of this scenario, but after examining the pros and cons of
each, I am leaning towards the decision that it is a fair arrangement. A
successful institution of higher education aims to teach the student not only in
the classroom, but also in extracurricular activities, like athletics. Thus, I
would argue that the basketball team is an important component within the
"big picture" of the college, and contributes to the learning
outcomes and success of students on the team. With this understanding, I think
that the basketball team and athletic department, regardless of however
successful it may be, is all part of the "package" that a student
gets when applying to the institution. If the athletic department has the right
goals in mind, then the student athletes obtain all the compensation that they
need; i.e. the primary goal should not be collecting titles, trophies, and
ribbons, but learning the valuable life-skills that come from working as a
team, competing fairly, and knowing how to both win and lose. Therefore, it is
clear than the college compensates its students with its intrinsic value so
that the students are prepared to improve their lives once they leave.
In addition, it is important to remember that it is not professional athletics
- it is an extracurricular activity. Yes, the college makes a lot of money
because of the games, but that money is then used to purchase the resources and
infrastructure to improve the quality of education at the college for the students,
including the student athletes. Plus, student athletes getting paid raises some
other problems: how would the college determine what to pay the student
athletes? If the student athletes can get paid because of abilities, then why
can't the math students get paid because of theirs? In the end, I believe
Scott's scholarship is a fair arrangement in terms of compensation. The free
education he receives is more valuable than any monetary value. Moreover, he
would never have been able to attend the college without the scholarship, so to
me it is not right of him to ask for more. It may seem unfair, especially
because he cannot go out with friends and fly home, but there are ways around
that - hang out on campus and Skype his family.
Sophia is a wonderful girl and a hardworking student. Her parents
immigrated to the United States almost 17 years ago, just shortly after
her birth, by illegally crossing the border into the country. While she
has often heard stories about her native country, she considers the
United States her homeland as she has never known anything else.
Sophia prepares to attend college she finds herself in search of loans,
grants and scholarships to pay for her education. According to her
guidance counselor Ms. Murphy there are many scholarships that a student
like Sophia qualifies for and as a result, going to college should be
no problem. She shares the good news with her friend Maria who wants to
be happy for her but cannot help but feel a little resentment. Maria
also arrived in America as a young girl but is a United States citizen
because she was adopted by her American stepfather. She is a good
student who has maintained a decent average but she is not the exemplary
student that Sophia is. Still, she does not think it’s fair that
someone who is in the country illegally should be eligible for more
financial aid than someone whose family has taken the time to go through
the proper channels.
Should Sophia be able to access a generous
amount of financial aid if she is in the country illegally? Is Maria
right? Should Sophia be penalized because of her parents’ actions?
The Winning Submission
Sophia is technically not an American citizen, she was a newborn when
her family illegally immigrated to the U.S. As a baby, Sophia had no
part in making the decision to immigrate. Therefore, Sophia should not
be penalized for her parents' decisions. Although it is understandable
that Maria feels this way, the scholarships are academically based.
Although neither Sophia nor Maria had control over whether she
immigrated to the U.S., legally or illegally, both girls have an
opportunity to excel academically. Although Maria feels cheated, Sophia
has worked hard to qualify for these academic scholarships and it would
be unfair for Sophia if she were penalized due to a decision made by her
parents that was out of her control.
works in the student health clinic which has a very strict
confidentiality policy. One day he sees a girl that he knows come into
the clinic and she says that she is there to receive the results of her
STD test. He can tell by her reaction upon leaving that she has indeed
been positively diagnosed and finds himself worried as this girl has
recently started dating a good friend of his, Brian.
next few weeks Brian continues to date this girl and never says anything
about her having an STD, leading Patrick to believe that she has not
disclosed this information to him. When Brian mentions that he is
starting to develop serious feelings for her, Patrick decides it’s time
to confront her about whether or not she’s disclosed her diagnosis. She
tells him that she has not done so and is afraid of doing so for fear
that Brian will no longer be interested. She also goes on to say that
while she has an STD she is not HIV positive so she is not breaking any
laws by keeping the information to herself. Patrick is not sure about
how to handle the situation. He feels guilty about keeping something so
important from a good friend like Brian but disclosing the information
could not only get him fired but open the clinic to a potential lawsuit
for breach of confidentiality.
What is the best way for Patrick to handle this situation?
Brittney Shupp, '15
is in a very tough predicament. Although he would like to inform Brian
of this girl's situation, he must abide by the confidentiality rules
that have been set forth by the clinic. Even though Patrick has already
approached the girl about the situation, I believe that it would be best
for his friend, Brian, if he confronted the girl again. Patrick could
tell the girl that if she truly has feelings for Brian that she should
reveal to him her situation so that he can be fully aware. He should
also emphasize to her that if Brian does love her, he will not let her
STD push him away, but rather remain by her side in support. He should
also share with her that relationships do not flourish when they start
with a lie. Patrick should then also offer to stand by her side and be
her shoulder to lean on as she tells Brian. After she talks to Brian,
Patrick can be sure to share with Brian how difficult it was for her and
how much courage it took for her to disclose this information so that
Brian can truly see how much this girl cares for him.
does confront this girl and cannot encourage her to share with Brian her
situation, then Patrick can approach Brian without mention of her STD.
Unfortunately, Patrick can never inform Brian of the girl's condition.
Instead, Patrick could tell Brian that he is does not think that this
girl is a good match for him. By doing so, he could suggest to Brian
that he end the relationship before it gets too serious and suggest that
he date other people. He could also introduce him to some other girls
who he feels Brian might like as well. This way, Patrick is not
breaching confidentiality and is keeping both the girl's and his friend,
Brian's, best interest in mind.