Sunday, November 6, 2011

Ask the ethicist

Excerpted from a recent online discussion . . .

Dear Ethicist:

I'm a vice president of a major university and one of my top football coaches was recently caught buggering 10-year-old boys in the shower. Should I (a) report it to the university police (who I'm in charge of) or (b) conduct my own "investigation," and just tell the coach he's not allowed to use university property for buggering 10-year-old boys any more? I know that (a) is what the law requires, but it seems to me that (b) would be much simpler, and would avoid the embarrassment of having to find out the names of the victims or speak to their families. Also, isn't requiring the coach to find some other place to carry on his child molestation activity punishment enough? This is one of those difficult ethical dilemmas that I know always stump even the greatest philosophers and thinkers. What would you do in my situation?


Dear Ethicist:

If I could jump in here, I'm facing a similar ethical dilemma that might help "Challenged." I'm the president of a major university and I expect my vice president and athletic director will soon be arrested for failing to report to police and child protective services the fact that one of our top football coaches was caught buggering 10-year-old boys in the shower. I have to decide whether to (a) apologize to the victims and demand that the university officials who broke the law will be held fully accountable or (b) declare that I have known the Veep and director for 16 years and that they have my "unconditional support" and "I have complete confidence in how they have handled the allegations about a former University employee.” I've decided on (b). It's worked well for the Catholic Church.

Loyal Boss

Dear Ethicist:

I'm a top football coach at a major university who was caught buggering 10-year-old boys in the shower. I was recently confronted by the mother of one. Should I have (a) expressed my contrition and readiness to accept responsibility for my actions or (b) said to her, "I wish I could get forgiveness. I know I won't get it from you." I chose (b).  I think there's something wrong with people who nurture grudges and can't move on. Do you agree?

To Err is Human