Ethical Conflicts in Student Leadership Through a Legal Lens

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					  Ethical Conflicts in Student
           Leadership
                     Through a Legal Lens
                   Eric M. Feldman
College of Education (Leadership & Professional Studies)
   Graduate Assistant, Global Learning Initiatives
                                            Clarified Values

         Session Goals                      Effective Communication
 Understand the historical and legal
  context of the rules and policies         Diversity Appreciation
  surrounding student leadership.
 Have a heightened awareness of            Interpersonal Skills
  sensitive issues that must be addressed
  in student leadership.                    Leadership Development
 Be able to analyze ethical dilemmas
  though thoughtful processes, rather
  than snap judgments.
 Understand others’
  perspectives/opinions.
 Be able to effectively communicate own
point of view to others.
Duality of Ethical Conflict




                 should
 should

 allowe




                 done?


                  What
  What

   be




                   be
   d?
Should a student organization host a
contest where participants portray
“ugly women,” including the use of
blackface?
 Iota Xi Chapter of Sigma Chi Fraternity vs. George
  Mason University, 1991
 The dean of students agreed and imposed discipline
  on the fraternity, preventing it from holding social
  and sports activities for a two-year period.
 Ruling: The event was protected free speech
The college suffered no “material disruption”
 Student Organizations > Freedom of Speech
Should a university remove content
from a bulletin board if a member of
the community complains that it is
offensive?
 Burnham v. Ianni, 1997
 The president ordered the removal of two faculty
  photos, one containing a rifle and the other a sword,
  because of a sexual harassment complaint.
 Ruling: The suppression of the photos was
unreasonable. The board was being used for
its intended purpose.
 Administrative Authority > Freedom of Speech > Public
  Should a university provide a refund of
  student fees to a student who does
  not want his money going to student
  organizations?
 Southworth v. University of Wisconsin, 2000
 Students sued because they felt the government was
  compelling them to support speech with which they
  may not agree, via the funding of political student
  groups.
 Ruling: Upheld university’s right to facilitate
the exchange of ideas via student orgs, but with
viewpoint neutrality.
    Student Organizations > Activity Fees > Freedom of Association
  Should a religious student
  organization exclude students who
  may not profess the group’s beliefs?
 Christian Legal Society v. Walker, 2006
 University revoked recognition of group for refusing
  to allow homosexual students on the executive board.
 Ruling: By forcing the group to accept homosexual
members, the university is infringing upon its
right to express its disapproval of homosexuality.

    Student Organizations > Freedom of Association
  Should a student newspaper publish
  offensive remarks about university
  administrators?
 Yeagle v. Collegiate Times, 1998
 Article listed an administrators title, underneath of a
  block quote, as “Director of Butt Licking.”
 Ruling: Not libel, because it could not be
reasonably interpreted as factual as opposed to
satirical.

    Student Organizations > Freedom of Press
  Should a university dismiss a nursing
  student due to obesity?

 Russell v. Salve Regina College, 1989
 Administrators found the student’s weight to be
  unsatisfactory for a nursing student. Student agreed
  to a contract to improve, attended Weight Watchers,
  but did not lose weight and was asked to leave.
 Ruling: Dismissal constituted a violation of
the school’s contract with the student to educate.
    Awarding of Degrees> Discrimination
Activity Instructions
In a group:
1. Review the details of each situation, from the provided
    pages.
2. Individually, decide what you think is the “right” thing to
    do in each situation.
3. Each member will make a case to their groupmates to
    accept their point of view.
4. One member of the group will be responsible for
    presenting the group’s viewpoint, as well as whether or not
    the viewpoint was unanimous.
***15 minutes to work with your group
Post-Assessment
Revisit the Opinion Inventory you filled out at the beginning of
the session.

The same questions are printed on the back. Answer them again,
and see if your thoughts have changed.

Consider:
Did my opinions change due to the arguments of fellow students?

Did I change my opinions as I was forming my own arguments?

Did taking time to really think through the situation help me to form a
better opinion?
 Eric M. Feldman
 efeldman@fiu.edu
 Office: GL 461 (MMC)



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