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At the Center

Capturing the lively discussions, presentations, and other events that make up the daily activities of the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University.

  •  Privacy by Design: An Engineering Ethics Perspective

    Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2013 2:52 PM

     When an app or piece of software comes on the market, its introduction may be followed by concern over whether users' privacy can be adequately protected.  But a new approach to privacy protection is "privacy by design," where protections are "baked into" the product from its inception.

    At a panel discussion this evening, 7 p.m., in Lucas Hall on the Santa Clara University campus, three outstanding computer scientists will offer their perspectives on privacy by design and the role that engineering ethics plays in those efforts. Join us for a presentation by Ben Adida Director of Identity at Mozilla and technical advisor to Creative Commons Brian Kennish ex-Googler and co-founder of Disconnect Arvind Narayanan Assistant Professor at Princeton and affiliate scholar at Stanford’s Center for Internet and Society.



  •  Global Dialog for Business Students on Ethics

    Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2013 5:02 PM

     Students from Jesuit business schools at Santa Clara University, Ateneo de Manila, and Loyola Institute of Business Administration in Chennai embark today on an online dialog about issues in business ethics.  The Global Dialog on Business Ethics blog kicks off with a discussion of who is responsible for the Dhaka factory fire in Bangladesh.  

    Created by Hackworth Business Ethics Fellows and SCU seniors Alexis Babb, Amanda Nelson, Saayeli Mukherji, and Noah Rickling, the blog will explore business ethics dilemmas that cross national boundaries.  The first post asks whether multinational companies are responsible for the safety conditions in factories that are part of their supply chain.

  •  Greg LeMond on Doping in Cycling

    Friday, Jan. 18, 2013 3:37 PM

    With Lance Armstrong's admission that he was doping during much of his bicycling career, it's interesting to revisit remarks made by Greg LeMond for a 2008 Ethics Center presentation:

    Most humans are born with the moral sense of what is right and what is wrong. But many will justify cheating by stating, “Everyone is doing it; why shouldn’t I?” Well, not everyone is cheating. And those who compete by the rules are the ones being cheated. The price that an honest rider pays is not being rewarded for their full potential.

    Read the full article.

  •  Privacy, Character Education, and Influenza Preparedness in the Center's January Newsletter

    Thursday, Jan. 17, 2013 4:40 PM

     January promises a great lineup of activities at the Ethics Center, from a panel on Privacy by Design to a workshop for educators on implementing the new Common Core State Standards.  Read about our coming events in our e-newsletter.

  •  Homelessness

    Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2013 4:48 PM

     The Center's Big Q project, an online dialog on ethics for undergraduates, is gearing up for Homelessness Awareness Week Jan. 28 with a new case study asking for student comments on how they might deal with a campus panhandler.  The best student comment will win a $100 Amazon gift card.


    Photo Credit:>

  •  All Are Welcome: Results of a National Study of Undocumented College Students at Jesuit Universities

    Monday, Jan. 7, 2013 4:18 PM

    Cynthia Mertens, SCU professor of law, and Laura Nichols, SCU associate professor of sociology, have been involved for the last years with a national effort to understand and better address the experience of undocumented students at Jesuit universities. On Jan. 15, noon, in the Arts & Sciences Building, they will report on their findings -- with the assistance of Kristin Heyer, Bernard J. Hanley Professor of Religious Studies, who has written extensively on Catholic social ethics and immigration.


  •  Discretionary Funds

    Thursday, Jan. 3, 2013 1:48 PM

    The Arizona Republic recently ran a series of articles on discretionary funds, "pools of money, often taken from a city’s general fund, that [are] set aside for an individual council member to use at his or her discretion. It’s a common practice among city councils around the country."  These funds are not closely monitored, and they may go for items that individual members might want but the full council might not approve.

    The Republic analyzed expenditures from discretionary funds and raised the question, In tough economic times, when cities are cutting basic services, does it still make sense to allow this discretionary spending?  Center Senior Fellow in Government Ethics Judy Nadler responded, 

    We’ve reduced police forces. We’ve reduced the hours at the library.  So we cannot afford to waste one dime on expenses that are not legitimate and that do not advance the work elected officials are charged to do on behalf of the public.”

  •  Happy Holidays from the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University

    Friday, Dec. 21, 2012 2:04 PM

     Wishing you all the best for a joyous holiday and a happy new year.  Back in 2013.

  •  Business Ethics for the Real World

    Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2012 9:02 AM

     There are still some spots left in the Massive Open Online Course being offered beginning Feb. 25 by Center Executive Director Kirk O. Hanson, Business Ethics for the Real World.  Three hundred and forty four people have already registered, and the course is limited to 500.

    The first four-week module defines ethics and explains a 10-step process for making ethical decisions.  Hanson outlines the concept of "unavoidable ethical dilemmas," that is, ethical problems that can be predicted based on the obligations people incur from their roles in the company, be they managers, executives, marketers, accountants, and so forth.

    The course is offered on the Canvas platform.

  •  Santa Clara County Board President Shirakawa Subject of a Critical Audit

    Friday, Dec. 14, 2012 3:13 PM

    The Santa Clara County Finance Agency has determined that Board President George Shirakawa Jr. has been imprudent in his use of public funds.  According to the San Jose Mercury News:

    Since taking office in 2009, Shirakawa used his county credit card for 174 meals at local restaurants, later reporting he had lost most of the required itemized receipts. He also billed taxpayers for out-of-state casinos, golf fees and rental car upgrades -- in some cases reimbursing the costs months later, only after being questioned. 

    Shirakawa also allowed his staff to use county monies to make donation to his favorite charitable causes.  In an interview with the Mercury News, Center Executive Director Kirk O. Hanson commented:

    It's clearly improper for public officials to use public monies for charitable causes....  The channeling of public monies by a single public official outside the appropriation process becomes a backdoor way of funding the charities that either are the favorite of a public official, or are useful to the public official in their election efforts.