Ethical Dilemma

Here are the facts.

As I mentioned before, my school is in a fight with our sister school over state funding. We are clearly in the right and the sister school is clearly in the wrong.

The president of our university system (meaning, the president of both schools) is biased in favor of my school and against the sister. He wrote a personal email that was immediately leaked where he used unfortunate language to refer to the sister and made clear he was against them and pro us.

Sister school tried to remove him from office on the grounds of bias.

And now for the dilemma.

My colleagues are all defending the president, contorting themselves into weird shapes to prove to themselves he isn’t biased.

And I concur with the sister school in that he should be removed. Even though it will set our cause back significantly.

It slaughters me that these very same people would be arguing the exact opposite of what they do now if he were biased against us.

I understand it’s normal to want a win. But I don’t want to win like this! I want an honest, clean win. I don’t know how to live without organizing principles of existence.

If we are so eager to compromise our integrity over something so not life-threatening, what kind of people are we?

Does anybody here understand what I’m on about or am I completely alone on this?

20 thoughts on “Ethical Dilemma”

  1. “I want an honest, clean win…Does anybody here understand what I’m on about?”

    I understand what you’re saying, but that’s not how the real world works. You can’t get things done that you want to happen, unless the party (or union, or school, whatever) that will do those things wins. So sometimes you have to support less-than-perfect individuals to achieve a greater good.


      1. I’m talking about politics and group effort, not personal, individual matters.

        In the specific issue that you’re posting about, how will removing the school president and “sett[ing] our cause back significantly” be a good thing if it costs your school the needed funding?


        1. First of all, as I said, it isn’t like this is even a life or death issue. So we won’t get to build yet another palace to house yet another Political Correctness Unbound office. What a tragedy. People aren’t fighting for their jobs or anything important, which at least I could understand. It’s a completely theoretical win that is about nothing else but sticking it to the opponent.


          1. “It’s a completely theoretical win that is about nothing else but sticking it to the opponent.”

            This wasn’t apparent from your initial description of the issue as “a fight…over state funding.” If the outcome doesn’t really matter, do whatever the heck you want to!

            Just make up your mind which outcome is going to bother you more — the president getting to stay, or your school failing to “stick it to the opponent.”


              1. “What bothers me is that nobody is like me. I feel alienated.”

                Oh, come on. There are 7.6 billion people on this planet. MILLIONS of them are like you …and like me… and also like xykademiqz. In fact, the three of us are probably more alike than we realize.

                You want some empathy? Okay, how’s this — I feel an ETHICAL DILEMMA everytime somebody tells me something really stupid, or says something I consider insulting, and I know the proper thing to do is either enlighten them or punch them in the nose — but social or other practical circumstances won’t permit that.

                I’m sure you feel the same way in similar circumstance, so there, we’re alike — no reason to be alienated.


  2. I will (unhelpfully and facetiously) point out that, henceforth, the other school shouldn’t be referred to as the sister school but rather as the evil stepsister school.


    1. And it’s totally true. They’ve been extremely pathetic. Last week, they denied me access to their library because they say I owe them $10 from 6 years ago.


      1. Why didn’t you just tell them to go to hell, and go get the book and walk out? Was there a school cop at the door, or someone else bigger than you?


        1. “Why didn’t you just tell them to go to hell?”

          Ah, let me modify my comment! I would never act like a bully and tell someone physically weaker than I am or lesser in rank or position to go to hell. I’d simply say, “Excuse me, but [by virtue of my position] I have the right to do this.” And then I’d politely go ahead and do whatever I needed to do.


  3. I totally understand your feelings. My own judgement would depend on information that’s not included.
    Was it a work or private email account?
    Who leaked it and why?
    It is true that people tend to use… extreme language to refer to mundane situations. I might (sincerely) praise a student’s work to encourage them to tighten up weaker spots while off-the-record I might refer to it as a train-wreck to a colleague who would understand that I mean it’s a promising work in progress (if I thought the colleague wouldn’t understand I wouldn’t use that terminology).
    From student days I remember ridiculing professors with friends in private. The thing was that we really liked them (the really liked was a prerequisite for the verbal vivisection and we totally talked them up in public saying how great they were and how people needed to take their classes which was completely true).
    What I’m saying is that for me it kind of boils down to the status of the email account. If it was a work account then yeah, he needs to step down.
    But I also heartily regret the erosion of private spaces – it’s really like the worst aspects of totalitarianism – one’s own private thoughts are not one’s own but the property of the crowd, I effin’ hate that.


    1. As a high-level bureaucrat, he needs to know that nothing should be ever put in writing to assure plausible deniability. What kind of a silly person puts something like this in professional emails?


      1. Yeah, I can possibly give him the benefit of a doubt on intent (without more details) but if it’s in a work email then…. he needs to go. Avoid even the appearance of unprofessional bias is the rule.


  4. Besides the status of the email, I’d also want to know if he was actually biased against them from the beginning, or if he had come to the conclusion that they were wrong and expressed it intemperately. Because if they are this obviously wrong then any competent administrator will become biased against them. And you don’t want an incompetent one.


  5. I understand your dilemma, but the sister school doesn’t deserve to be treated fairly.

    But you don’t have to support actively that kind of tactic, though.


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