Ironic, after my previous post about ethical issues, I find myself in a situation that is seriously challenging my integrity. I’ll have to give a little bit of a background before I can explain this situation.
Last fall, I took a class on peer instruction in biomedical sciences. In this class, I had the opportunity to talk about teaching, learning, and the state of our education system in America. In this class, we eventually discussed ways that we could improve our own school. It ended in a departmental presentation that we gave with our ideas, including implementation of a Cell and Molecular Biology mentoring program, creating more organized study spaces for students, and creating more informal learning opportunities. I decided to ensure that we created an actual mentoring program for the department, because it was my idea and became my obsession.
So this past semester I’ve been working to organize and structure this program. I took the initiative get it started, recruited 28 applicants, and organized a training which we just had yesterday. Everything was great, except three applicants did not get their letters of recommendation in on time. I made the decision that if we wanted this program to be considered legitimate, we would have to hold strict deadlines. I told one student they were not accepted because I had not received the letter of recommendation, and then got an email from that student’s adviser saying that they submitted it on Friday, so he would have gotten it in on time. It was a blatant lie, because his student told me that the professor said he turned it in this morning.
So what do I do? Call the professor out on lying, pretend he didn’t lie, reject the applicant? This dude should be a model in ethical leadership. Unfortunately not, and it has put me in a crappy situation.