I am not an ethicist. Thus, unlike the New York Times column, I do not purport to know the answers. I will post my own as well as those submitted. From time to time I may say what I think but this Blog is primarily for the contributions of others.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Gray Suede Shoes

Dear Law School Ethicist:

I am a law teacher. In my first year class I got into a discussion with a pretty good student. At some point he noted my shoes (Ecco Grey Suede with semi capped toe) and said he liked them. Later on in the conversation he suggested a  bet. If he booked my class, I would buy him a pair of shoes like the ones he was admiring. If he did not book it, he had to prepare an elegant dinner for me and my family. When I graded his exam it looked like he might book the course until I made a small adjustment in his grade. I lowered it 2 points because he should not gamble. I did not have to buy the shoes. Have I done the right thing? It was for his own good.


Sunday, May 25, 2014

Grading For Cookies

Dear Ethicist:

At my school all students are assigned exam number and we may not know the identity of the students  until grades are handed in. These are, though, preliminary grades and we know which students are which before final grades are submitted. One of the worst grades in my class was earned by a student who is the daughter of a friend of mine and she brings me cookies and milk every day. I would like to adjust her grade upward. I will not have to lower anyone else's grade. Is it unethical for me to raise her grade as a token of gratitude? Suppose it's just because she had had a tough life and I want to give her a chance to improve herself?

Thanks, Grading Master

Friday, May 23, 2014

Big Red Slobbering Dog

Dear Law School Ethicist,
The associate dean for student affairs at my school has started a program to lessen stress for students. It meets once a week at 6:00 p.m. We learn how to meditate, how to breathe, and are given exercises that alleviate stress. I have a lot of anxiety and would rather use this time to go home, watch sports or ESPN, and have a brewski. It's my stress reduction program, and it works great. 

But, this dean is also my teacher for civil pro, and, even though her pet program is voluntary, she takes names of those who attend her "stress class". Everyone in her civil pro section shows up, except me. Today she asked me how I'm doing. Now I'm really freaked.  

She is very proud of her stress initiative and stresses (oops, sorry) that her door is always open and her therapy trained Golden Retriever, Buffy, ready to be cuddled. Am I going to get screwed because I didn't sign up for de-stressing and I'm scared of dogs? 
"Go Blue!" Benny

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Time is On My Side

Dear Law School Ethicist;

Ok, here is the story. In my law school class about a third of the class is given extra time on exams. Some have trouble with eye sight, some have language issues, and others have ADHD although I am not sure if that is the way it is spelled or how it is pronounced. Some take ADHD meds but do not get extra time. All of these people have an advantage on the exam. I know a buddy of mine who got extra time wrote 1000 more words on an exam than I did. I wanted extra time too and  this year I developed a heavy Italian accent. It worked great and it got  me extra time. Now some jerk claims I violated the Honor Code. Yes, I did fake the accent but I did not fake my desire for extra time and throughout the exam in my head I did think in an Italian accent. I say if I cheated so did all the students who do not have ADHD but take the medicine anyway. What do you think?


Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Big Cheese

Dear Law School Ethicist;

At my law school when someone writes an email to the faculty that rubs me the wrong way I like to also send kind of a comical follow up to the faculty. I am very funny. I know that because everyone laughs when I make a quip. So, I might write something like. "So now you're the big cheese." or "Is my email working. I got a weird email." or "Et tu brutus." I know it breaks everyone up but lately someone told me it is immature, not funny, and makes me look like a bully since it appears I am ridiculing the writer of the original email. What do you think?

Thanks, Your Funniest Nightmare.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Why's Everyone So Mad at Me?

Dear Law School Ethicist:

I am a professor at a law school. Yesterday we were interviewing a candidate and I asked him who he sleeps with. I know we cannot discriminate based on martial status but there are many professors who hold positions because of the person they sleep with. I don't get it, if it is plus -- if you are sleeping with the "right" person, that is -- aren't I obligated to ask so I will know how to rank the candidate. Well everyone got really really mad and said I was unethical. What's up with this? Also, when we place ads for open positions shouldn't we include a blank on the application so the candidate can identify his or her sleeping partner. Am I wrong? Please help.