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March 3

Amidst all the intensity of life at Carleton, I have come to realize that our current “Ask the Ethicist” model is not working well. Though there are lots of important ethical issues both on campus and off, they rarely get formally submitted through email or the Ask the Ethicist caucus. Though ethical conversation and reflection goes on every day among faculty, staff and students, many do not have time to craft a written response within a couple days of a question that does come in. While continuing to encourage your submission of questions, I’d like to try a slightly more proactive approach in the spring.

I would like to propose the following topics for the eight columns in the spring. These can be bumped along the way by other submissions, and individual authors will certainly have some freedom to craft the exact questions. All of these topics come from conversations or comments I or our PERC Student Associate have heard over the last few weeks. As always, we would like a mix of students, faculty, and staff to be featured in these columns. Please email me if you are interested in writing an ethicist column. I will also begin recruiting “ethicists” right away.

Here are the topics:

1) The ethics of food, food production or consumption

2) The ethics of curriculum: distribution requirements, electives, diversity, etc.

3) What should be the objectives of U.S. trade policy (April 10-16 is the “Global Week of Action on Trade” )?

4) What are the ethical issues around subcontracting at Carleton?

5) What are the most ethical ways to raise state revenue in Minnesota?

6) How do we honor multiple ethical frameworks at Carleton, especially when they conflict?

7) What are U.S. responsibilities for involvement in global conflicts (eg. Sudan, Lebanon, etc.)?

8) Is it ethical for Carleton not to have a professional ethics requirement?

Once again, please continue to submit additional questions and we will work to respond to those as they arise. Our goal is not provide a simple answer to any of these questions, but to struggle together with how we think deeply about such matters.

Doug Mork,

PERC Director