Ethics Questions for University Administrators:

In today's Wall St. Journal, my colleague Peter Berkowitz notes that the ethics of running a university receives almost no attention in leading university ethics programs. He poses the following questions as examples of issues that should be considered:

Is it proper for university disciplinary boards, often composed of faculty and administrators with no special knowledge of the law, to investigate student accusations of sexual assault by fellow students, which involve crimes for which perpetrators can go to jail for decades?

Should universities have one set of rules and punishments for students who plagiarize or pay others to write their term papers, and another — and lesser — set for professors who plagiarize or pay others to write their articles and books, or should students and faculty be held to the same tough standards of intellectual integrity?

How can universities respect both professors' academic freedom and students' right to be instructed in the diversity of opinions?

What is the proper balance in hiring, promotion, and tenure decisions between the need for transparency and accountability and the need for confidentiality?

What institutional arrangements give university trustees adequate independence from the administrators they review?

Is it consistent with their mission for university presses to publish books whose facts and footnotes they do not check?

In accordance with what principles may a university bar ROTC from campus because of the military's "don't ask, don't tell policy" concerning homosexuals, while inviting to campus a foreign leader whose country not only punishes private consensual homosexual sex but is the world's leading state sponsor of terrorism, and who himself denies the Holocaust and threatens to obliterate the sovereign state of Israel?

Let me add one for law school administrators: is it ethical to admit students who you know are likely never to pass the bar, in order to ensure that your "diversity" numbers meet an arbitrary goal decided upon by the faculty or the ABA accreditation people?