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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.

  •  A New Perspective on the Trayvon Martin Case

    Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2013 2:53 PM

     Santa Clara County Deputy District Attorney Chris Boscia and SCU Professor of Law Margaret Russell offered fresh perspectives on the Trayvon Martin case and the acquittal of shooter George Zimmerman at a panel discussion yesterday, sponsored by the Ethics Center and the University's Office of Diversity and Inclusion.  (Listen to the podcast)

    Boscia compared Florida gun laws and "stand your ground" legislation to similar California statutes, concluding that Zimmerman would likely never have been permitted to carry a concealed weapon in California, which might have averted the tragedy.  Russell compared the case to the 1955 murder of Emmett Till, another innocent young black man whose killers were acquitted.  Both speakers offered suggestions for social and legal changes that might prevent such tragedies in the future.

  •  Meet Patrick Coutermarsh, First Fellow in Applied Ethics

    Thursday, Jul. 25, 2013 2:13 PM

    The Center is pleased to welcome Patrick Coutermarsh as its first Fellow in Applied Ethics. He will work under the direction of Executive Director Kirk Hanson, primarily on researching and writing for the Center's new interactive webpage project. He will also provide research and assistance in case writing and commentary on ethical dilemmas in business ethics, government ethics, and other fields.

    A recent graduate of Santa Clara University, Patrick worked as a Hackworth Fellow during his Senior year, and created and lead SCU's first Ethics Bowl team in the California Regional competition. His other hobbies include Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (Blue Belt), and participating in triathlons and ultra-marathons.

    Patrick states:"I am honored to be a part of the team at the Center, and am excited to get started!'

  •  Trayvon Martin, Race, and Justice: A Panel Discussion on August 5 at Noon

    Wednesday, Jul. 24, 2013 4:44 PM

    Join us for our next Ethics At Noon panel discussion on Monday, August 5 at the Markkula Center, on race and justice in the Trayvon Martin Case, featuring panelists Professor Margaret Russell, Santa Clara University School of Law, and Chris Boscia, Deputy District Attorny, Santa Clara County.

    Professor Margaret Russell has been a member of the Santa Clara University School of Law faculty since 1990, and is affiliated with the University’s Center for Social Justice & Public Service, the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics, and the Center for Multicultural Learning. She has been honored for her contributions to student life at Santa Clara by the Asian Pacific Law Students Association and the Black Law Students Association. In 1991, she traveled to South Africa with a delegation of legal scholars to provide consultation on constitution-drafting for the post-apartheid transition. Prior to joining the Santa Clara Law faculty, Professor Russell was a fellow at the public interest firm Public Advocates, Inc., a law firm in San Francisco. She served as the director of Public Interest Programs and as the acting assistant dean of student affairs at Stanford University, and also clerked for the Honorable James E. Doyle of the U.S. District Court in Madison, Wisconsin. Christopher Boscia is Deputy District Attorney, Santa Clara County.

    Chris Boscia won the Robert L. Webb Award for Trial Advocacy in 2011 for his work in the case of People v. Gill, which led to induction into the Jurisprudence section of the American Academy of Forensic Science.  Chris was a guest panelist at the Academy's 2013 annual meeting in Washington D.C. on the topic, "Science in the Courtroom: A Matter of Perspective?" His forthcoming article, "Strengthening Forensic Alcohol Analysis in California DUIs: a Prosecutor's Perspective," will be published in the third issue of Volume 53 of the Santa Clara Law Review. Prior to joining the Santa Clara District Attorney's Office, he worked as a Deputy District Attorney in Contra Costa County, a staff attorney at the California DNA Project, a law clerk for the Honorable John F. Moulds at the U.S. District Court in Sacramento, and as a staff member to the California Commission on the Fair Administration of Justice. Chris has a strong connection to Santa Clara University.  In addition to being a law school alumnus, he co-authored the University's $2 million grant proposal to Lilly Endowment. He has also taught courses at the Law School and the College of Arts and Sciences, and serves on the Board of the St. Thomas More Society of Santa Clara County, and is a Barrister of the Honorable William A. Ingram American Inn of Court.

    Sponsored by The Markkula Center for Applied Ethics.

  •  WhoseLife Is it Anyway?

    Wednesday, Jul. 24, 2013 4:11 PM

     Should parents dictate what their children major in during their college years?  In the latest case study from the Center's Big Q project, an online dialog for undergraduates, a sophomore finally gets up the courage to tell his parents that he isn't interested in accounting.

  •  Center Executive Director Named to "The 100 Most Influential People in Business Ethics"

    Monday, Jul. 15, 2013 4:44 PM

     Kirk Hanson, Center executive director, was the top academic on the 2012 list of the most influential people in business ethics, compiled by Ethisphere magazine.  The citation reads, "Hanson leads the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics, which is a leading organization that covers ethical issues in a range of areas, including a particular focus on business ethics."  

    Winners came from 10 core categories including academics, business leadership, philantrophy, and government and regulatory.   Other academics on the list include Ann Tenbrunsel, director of the Institute for Ethical Business Worldwide at Notre Dame; Alex Plinio, co-founder of the Institute for Ethical Leadership at Rutgers; and Joshua Margolis, professor of business administration at Harvard.

    The magazine named Brandley Birkenfeld as the most influential person in business ethics "for his role blowing the whistle on alleged tax fraud occurring at UBS."

  •  Homework or Teamwork

    Monday, Jul. 8, 2013 3:10 PM

    How should a student balance the demands of team sports and academics?  That's the current dilemma on the Big Q, the Center's online dialog about everyday ethical issues for undergrads.  The best student response wins a $100 Amazon gift certificate. 

  •  Standing Together in the Sun

    Friday, Jul. 5, 2013 11:38 AM
    Melissa Giorgi

     A meditation on how to increase access to solar power by low income communities, Standing Together in the Sun details the efforts of Melissa Giorgi, a 2012-13 Environmental Ethics Fellow at the Center, to involve the city of San Jose in the University's Solar Decathlon project.  The Decathlon is a contest sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy in which teams from selected universities build a solar-powered house.

  •  Ethics Pathway Essay Receives University Prize

    Tuesday, Jul. 2, 2013 3:50 PM

    All Santa Clara University students have the opportunity to declare a "Pathway," a cluster of courses with a common theme, which promotes integrative and intentional learning. Students reflect on this theme in an essay at the end of their college career.

    This year, Jessica Reiner, one of the students in the University's Applied Ethics Pathway, won a Distinguished Pathway Essay Award for her reflection on how she came to choose a focus on ethics and how her ethics courses have helped shape her college experience.

  •  Restorative Justice in Schools Provides Framework for "Getting Behind the Hurt

    Friday, Jun. 28, 2013 11:21 AM

    “The Person is Not the Problem…the Problem is the Problem,” stated Mary Kindig and Dan Sackheim, keynoters at the June 27th Third Annual Catholic School Principals’ Institute, a program of the Ethics Center and the SCU Department of Education, in collaboration with the Diocese of San Jose.

    Kindig has a masters in social work from Columbia University and is Program Development Consultant with the Restorative Schools Vision Project. Sackheim is a consultant for the California Department of Education. The speakers explored a number of key concepts surrounding restorative justice, primarily focusing on the three distinct stakeholders in a scenario where harm has been done: the community, the offender, and the victim(s). Harm, in this context, is defined as bullying, incidents of violence or acting out, or any disruptive behaviors by students from kindergarten age and up.

    The restorative approach essentially focuses on understanding the harm done, and developing empathy for both the harmed and the harmer; reintegrating the harmer back into the community as a valuable contributing member; and implementing customized systems into schools such as planning, training, and focus groups, all of which recognize parents, students, teachers, and potentially clergy as key players and decision makers. It also focuses on greater accountability on the part of the school and the community when an act of harm has taken place, and innovative and interactive models as solutions.

    Kindig and Sackheim identified challenges such as the role of parents, teachers, and clergy in healing and moving forward; the role social media plays both in exacerbating incidents and potentially providing healing (by replacing negative posts with positive ones); and how to best embrace new and progressive definitions of discipline, self-discipline, and forgiveness. The challenges struck a cord with the audience of educators, many of whom had experienced or witnessed incidences of harm.

    The speakers contrasted the restorative justice approach with a more traditional model.  In the case of harm, the tradition approach would be to ask: What rules have been broken? Who broke them? What punishment do they deserve? The restorative model asks: Who has been hurt? What are their needs? Whose obligations are these?

    What does the model for restorative justice in schools look like in action? Regularly healing circles in which all parties engage in healthy communication would be one example. Contracts between students, teachers, and administrators that describe acceptable behaviors are another. Finally, traditional disciplinary measures are still a fall-back option in some scenarios.

    Mary Kindig serves as the Program Development Consultant for The Restorative Schools Vision Project, which brings restorative justice philosophy into schools as a solution to high rates of student expulsions and suspensions.  Dan Sackheim is Education Program Consultant, California Department of Education.
     

  •  Satre-Meloy Wins Markkula Prize

    Monday, Jun. 24, 2013 4:27 PM

    Graduating SCU senior Aven Satre-Meloy is the winner of the 2013 Markkula Prize, honoring the student who, in the view of the Ethics Center staff, has advanced the mission of the Center most effectively during the past year. 

    A combined Political Science and Environmental Studies major from Helena, Mont., Satre-Meloy addressed an ethical oddity at Santa Clara: The University aims to educate students of character and has an academic integrity policy but does not have the higher profile commitment to academic integrity that comes with having an honor code. Aven took the preceding years' efforts by students to adopt an honor code and advanced the cause miles down the road with his extraordinary efforts this year. He worked extensively with his peers; co-chaired a university-wide committee that completed a draft of an honor code; and spoke before pretty much every important governance committee on this campus (and I know they were not always easy meetings). Aven's grace under pressure and drive have brought us to the brink of actually adopting such a code -- a matter that looks like it will be decided finally in the next academic year.

    Satre-Meloy also was the winner of the University's Nobili Medal, awarded to the male undergraduate judged outstanding in academic performance, personal character, school activities, and constructive contribution to the University.