Ethics in Community - ASCI 97

Dr. David Perry, Winter 2001
Tuesdays 7:00-8:30 p.m.
Campisi Residential Learning Community, Santa Clara University

Overview: In this course we'll explore ethical principles, problems and solutions in relation to various communities in which we live. Topics will include sexual diplomacy in the residence halls, academic integrity, SCU's environmental practices, homelessness in Silicon Valley, international human rights, and ethical issues in the stories behind the products we buy.

Course requirements:

1) Regular attendance, careful reading of the assigned materials, and informed and courteous participation in class discussions. If you need to miss all or part of a class session, please inform me beforehand whenever possible. Unexcused absences and lack of participation in class discussions can have a detrimental effect on your course grade, even if your other work is stellar.

2) 8 hours of work on a SCCAP program (or 16 hours of work--2 hours each week for 8 weeks--in a community-based learning placement (CBLP) arranged by SCU's Eastside Project/Arrupe Center).

3) A 9-12-page paper (due Friday, March 16), comprised of three sections of 3-4 pages each, addressing the following questions:

a) What are the most significant things that you learned from the readings and class discussions? Include two points from each of the eight class sessions that have reading assignments.

b) What did you learn from your SCCAP/CBLP experience? How did the people with whom and for whom you worked at SCCAP/CBLP benefit from your efforts? What would you suggest to make future SCU student placements at that organization more effective?

c) What methods did you use to research a product that you regularly purchase? (Don't write about coffee or athletic apparel, since we'll explore those together.) What did your research reveal about it? Was the product made in ways that you concluded were ethical, or unethical?

Rather than waiting until late in the course to begin writing your paper, I recommend that you write down some thoughts relevant to the above questions every week (as if you're keeping a journal), then using those notes to craft your final version. You may also turn in one draft of your paper to me for recommended revisions, on or before Friday, March 2.

Course schedule:  Note that in cases where the readings are available on the web, you'll need to download and print them yourself using the URLs indicated. All other articles will be given to you at least a week in advance. You won't need to purchase any books for this course.

January 9 - Introduction to the course: Description of community-based learning placements; introduction to the field of ethics.  Guest speaker: Laurie Laird (Eastside Project).

January 16 - Issues on campus:  Readings: Jean Hughes and Bernice Sandler, "’Friends’ Raping Friends: Could It Happen to You?"; Center for Academic Integrity, "Research Highlights,", and "The Fundamental Values of Academic Integrity,"; David Perry, "Writing with Integrity."  Guest speakers: Laurie Lang (Wellness Center) and Matthew Duncan (Student Life and Leadership).

January 23 - Housing and homelessness in Silicon Valley:  Readings: National Coalition for the Homeless, "Why Are People Homeless?"; report on apartment vacancy rates and rents from the Sunnyvale City Manager; Joe Rodriguez, "An Insider Discloses Secrets of Setting Rents"; Laura Kurtzman, "Landlords Soften Rent Increases"; "Holding the Greenline"; National Multi Housing Council, "The High Cost of Rent Control,"   Guest speakers: Sister Elizabeth Avalos (Diocese of San Jose) and Eric Carlson (former mayor of Los Gatos, now Visiting Fellow at SCU's Center for Science, Technology and Society).

January 30 - The wider economic community:  Readings: Father Locatelli's letter about SCU's contract with Nike; James Briggs, "Beyond the Swoosh"; Fair Labor Assoc., "Workplace Code of Conduct and Principles of Monitoring," and "College/University Licensee Program"; adidas, "Standards of Engagement,", and "Social and Environmental Affairs,"; Verite on its audits of factories,   Guest speaker: James Briggs (President’s Office).

February 6 - Child labor:  Readings: Summaries of reports by the U.S. Dept. of Labor,,,

February 13 - Coffee and fair trade:  Readings: TransFair USA articles, "What is fair trade?" and "Who benefits from fair trade?" at; read about a small coffee cooperative at; examine Starbucks' policies at click on "Social Responsibility," then under "Commitment to Origins" click on "strong commitment," then click on various topics on the left side; peruse the list of companies favored by Global Exchange, at

February 20 - International human rights:  Read about human rights abuses and write a letter of concern to a foreign government, using Amnesty International's web site, Bring a copy of your letter to class to discuss, along with any essential background information. (I recommend joining AI's "Fast Action Stops Torture" network,

February 27 - Women's status and rights:  Readings: Susan Moller Okin, "Is Multiculturalism Bad for Women?" at; Equality Now on laws in various countries that discriminate against women, at

March 2 (Friday) - This is the last day I'll accept draft papers for comment.

March 6 - Animals and the environment:  Readings: Facilities Dept. flyers on recycling and landscape maintenance at SCU; Desiree Sylvester et al., "Tangling with the Troubles of Technology"; Carolyn Jung, "New Food Label Means Animals Were Treated Humanely"; Anne Raver, "Qualities of an Animal Scientist"; Foundation for Biomedical Research, "Dogs and Research,", and "The Draize Test,"   Guest speaker: Lucky Hinkle (Facilities - Recycling).

March 13 - Concluding reflections: Living lives of integrity, imagination, creativity, and excellence. Discuss findings/insights from your research projects and CBLPs.

March 16 (Friday) - Turn in your paper to me by 4:30 p.m. in the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics, Arts & Sciences Building.

You may pick up your graded paper in my office on or after March 29. Or if you would rather have me mail it to you, give me a 9x12 envelope with your name, address, and $1.18 postage.

Writing with Integrity

Hugo Bedau wrote in Thinking and Writing about Philosophy, p. 141: "Writers plagiarize when they use another's words or ideas without suitable acknowledgement. Plagiarism amounts to theft--theft of language and thought. Plagiarism also involves deception. . . . [Plagiarism] wrongs the person from whom the words or thoughts were taken and to whom no credit was given; and it wrongs the reader [e.g., your professor] by fraudulently misrepresenting the words or thoughts as though they are the writer's own." I would add that plagiarism is often unfair to your hard-working fellow students, since it involves considerably less effort to steal another author's ideas than to wrestle with and rephrase those ideas yourself.

Be very careful to avoid plagiarism. You must cite your sources everywhere in your paper where you use their ideas, and not only when you quote them directly but also where you paraphrase their points in your own words. In general, you should only use direct quotes when you find the authors' wording to be especially effective. But your paraphrasing or summaries of authors' points should be thorough: it's not fair to an author to change only a couple of words in a paragraph of his/hers and then imply (by not using direct quotes) that the paragraph is entirely your own prose. (It might help to imagine the author reading over your shoulder.)

A few additional practices are unethical for similar reasons:

1) You may not submit a paper that you did not write yourself, whether given to you by a sympathetic friend, purchased on the web, or written by a paid "tutor." Although (unlike plagiarism) this would not represent a case of theft, it would nonetheless be unfair to your peers, and would also perpetrate a fraud on your professor (me).

2) You may not submit a paper to me that is substantially similar to one that you wrote for another class, since both I and your fellow students rightly assume that you will be doing new research for this course.

List full references alphabetically at the end of your paper, using the following format:

1) For a book that’s not an anthology: author's name, book title (publisher, date). An example: Hugo Bedau, Thinking and Writing about Philosophy (Boston: St. Martin's Press, 1996).

2) For an article in an anthology: name of the article's author, "article title," name of the editor of the anthology, book title (publisher, date), pages. An example: Robert Arrington, "Advertising and Behavior Control," in William Shaw and Vincent Barry, Moral Issues in Business, seventh edition (Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, 1998), pp. 503-509.

3) For a journal article: author, "article title," periodical title, volume/issue (date): pages. An example: Karen Musalo, "When Rights and Cultures Collide," Issues in Ethics 8/3 (Summer 1997): 2-5.

4) For an article on the World Wide Web: author, "title of article" (organization name, date), URL- web address. An example: Alex Moseley, "Just War Theory" (Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 1998),

Within the body of your paper (at the end of a paragraph or a direct quote, for instance), you may refer to a source simply as (author, pages). An example for the quote at the top of this page: (Bedau 141).

Remember that cheating on exams and plagiarism on papers are serious breaches of academic ethics, and can lead not only to your flunking the course but to other disciplinary actions as well, including expulsion from SCU.

Go to Dr. Perry's CV.