Ethics Course

I guess the UC system has been working it's way down the ladder of the compensation scandal hierarchy. I thought they had forgotten about that sweetheart deal I gave to absolutely no one. I finally got my invitation today to learn how to stop myself from doing absolutely nothing again. I've decided to include you with me as I clean up my act. Off we go!

Page 1: What? No pig latin? Utbay tsiay hatway mIay ostmay omfortablecay ithway!



Page 2: It's our President, Robert Dynes, with a video message. From the video it's clear he's not used to the talking head bit. His eyes are a good 15 degrees away from the camera the whole time. My favorite part is when he says "I liked it" when referring to taking the ethics course himself. If he really did enjoy it, he's disturbed.

Page 3-5: Blah blah blah. Introductory text, a short outline of the course.

Page 6: This reminds me of Dilbert comics I've seen before. The last one below has me thinking -- when was the last time a graduate student really felt like their dignity was being respected? I suppose in the end we only have ourselves to blame since we got ourselves into this mess.

We are committed to the following principles:

Integrity. We will conduct ourselves with integrity in our dealings with and on behalf of the University.

Excellence. We will conscientiously strive for excellence in our work.

Accountability. We will be accountable as individuals and as members of this community for our ethical conduct and for compliance with applicable laws and University policies and directives.

Respect. We will respect the rights and dignity of others.

Page 7-8: I'm given the "Standards of Ethical Conduct." In summary, except for the financial reporting bits, it's pretty much the same thing you might get in your high school welcome book. Respect others, respect yourself, do right for yourself, snitch on others. That sort of thing.

Page 9: Oooh. We're finally getting relevant to me now. We're going to follow the ethical decisions of "Edna" the Business Manager of a large department. This describes my position and responsibilities as a physics graduate student.

Page 10-13: Uh ohs, Thuvan (a name I've never heard before) is taking perks from hotels. Thuvan schedules large conferences and chooses hotels which will receive this business. Thuvan is spending all day hanging out at hotels getting free food and services. It looks like Edna has to talk to her about following ethics rules.

Edna Tim

Page 14-17: A professor just got a big grant, and wants to hire the department chair's wife for a position, but without doing a proper job search. Tim wants to play along so there's no trouble from the professor, but Edna knows better. It looks like Edna has to sit down with another employee. Notice the slick graphics to help me visualize the situation.

Page 18-22: A professor has found a desirable, young and grant-rich researcher at another institution, and would like to hire her. But in order to do this, her salary would be higher than university standards. Oh no! Do we follow the rules or ";make a secret promise to raise the salary in a year?" We follow the rules, of course.

Page 23-45: I'm going to be nice to you and speed you over the rest of Edna's ethics situations. She really has got a bunch of lousy employees. The only things I learned that apply to me are: Don't steal lab equipment (no one will notice a super computer missing, will they?) and don't gossip to the media when your lab-mate gets arrested (I'll just do it anonymously, guys).

Page 46-48: Just use common sense, dammit! Well, it didn't say dammit, but it should have.

Page 49-51: Here they're just insulting me. They give an example of a campus gardner who used what he learned from an online ethics course in a few sticky situations. They're attempting to show that even low-level employees have ethics choices to make. But even here, this gardner has more power over facilities and purchasing decisions than I do. I want them to give the example of an employee like me that applied what he learned. The problem is, I have power over nothing. No one is going to put me in a sticky situation because I have nothing to offer in return.

Page 52: Regent Parsky gives me a video message thanking me for taking the course. No, thank you Regent Parsky.

Page 53: An offer to provide feeback and a certificate of completion!!! Whew. Now I feel validated. This is going up in my office so everyone knows my ethics are unreproachable.

I'm ethical

Congratulations to you if you read this far.