For those of you who made it, I hope you enjoyed today’s talk.
Dr. Reed and Mr. Betcher led a very interactive discussion about ethics of campus-community partnerships, using a hypothetical case study.
This was definitely one of the talks in which the relevant ethical issues were quite transparent. So I’ll leave it up to you to take up any of those threads.
If you want a suggestion on what to discuss, though, I was particularly interested in the question of what moral obligations (if at all) a campus has to its neighboring communities. On the one hand, one might think that a college is primarily an institution to educate and to research — and thus that there is little room for obligations to community members. On the other hand, there seem to be several arguments to suggest that colleges do have such obligations, directly or indirectly. Perhaps it’s a part of the university’s mission to benefit society at large. Or perhaps a university, in order to attract the best students, needs to benefit society because students want to be a part of a college that does that.
Another interesting issue is that of a power imbalance in contracts. Suppose that two parties are trying to reach an agreement, but that one of the parties does not have the capability of fully understanding the terms of the agreement. Does the more capable party have an obligation to the less capable party to explain the terms of the agreement? (One interesting way to think about this issue is to draw a parallel to informed consent. Can the less capable party really enter into an agreement if it is not informed about its content?)
Looking forward to reading your opinions!