Speeches

Selected Speeches:

May 2, 1993, Investiture of Lawrence K. Pettit as President of Indiana University of Pennsylvania

Chairman Dixon; Chancellor McCormick; Senator Stapleton; trustees and governors; Father Dilg; distinguished platform colleagues; honored guests and delegates; members of the IUP family; members of the Pettit family; Bob Ackerman, Ruth Riesenman, Diane Duntley, and the members of your committees, to whom we owe so much for this marvelous three days of events; my brothers of Sigma Chi, whose volunteer efforts during this weekend have been exemplary, and who help to advance the values of friendship, justice and learning; and friends of IUP:

I accept this charge with humility, a firm resolve, and a heady sense of exhilaration. It is fitting that we conduct this rite in the spring of the year, as it is the season of renewal. This great university, now in its 118th year, has steadily expanded both its enrollment and its scope, repeatedly winning acclaim for the excellence of its undergraduate programs even as it has moved confidently into the ranks of doctoral granting institutions. Having achieved depth, breadth and excellence, IUP cannot rest, cannot coast into the next century, but must arrange for its own renewal and revitalization. This is its second spring.

For me personally this is a period of renewal as well. It matters not how many portfolios one has carried in the past, there is always, at the start of a new stewardship, the invigoration of fresh challenges and the nagging realization that true knowledge and wisdom are elusive, always the objects of a quest, but never a final resting place.

I said when I first spoke on this campus I felt a sense of coming home, that this town and this university remind me of the neighborhoods and institutions where I grew up and was educated, and of the enduring values that were instilled in me there. I was attracted to IUP by its growing reputation as a "public ivy" and by a special affinity to Pennsylvania, where I have ancestral roots, where I once taught at Penn State (I hope you will forgive this), and where two of my children were born.

I welcome and celebrate this linkage of destiny, knowing full well that my own renewed vitality may now come only with the renewed vitality of Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

This day belongs to all of us. It is IUP's day, for we proclaim the university's greatness and affirm its future. The day belongs to our students, whose many achievements we honor. It is for the faculty--the soul of the university--and for the staff, its sinew. This day is for the trustees and governors, and the hundreds of others who support IUP with their time and money and good will. It is a day for the academic community, whose ancient rites and timeless protocols we invoke to underscore the continuity of the life of the mind. It is a day that belongs to the people of the commonwealth who for over a century have sustained this university.

But I hope you will forgive me if on this, my 56th birthday as well as my investiture as your president, I regard this as especially my day, and if I focus the majority of my remarks on two things that have captured my lifetime concern: the university itself and the civic culture.

When he reserved the highest rung in the social order for his philosopher-kings, Plato demonstrated little doubt about the relationship between education and citizenship. One lesson of his Republic is that education leads to self-control and a balanced soul, wherein reason rules, and that such is required for the health of the individual and the state. In our American experience, the authors of the Federalist Papers believed that democracy implied an educated and virtuous citizenry, and that a stable republic required checks on the passions of the people.

As Robert O'Neil pointed out in his splendid remarks on this campus yesterday, Thomas Jefferson, whom we honor this year on the 250th anniversary of his birth, "harbored an abiding confidence in the capacity of an intelligent and informed citizen to cast a responsible vote as the key to democratic self-government."

The American Constitution, whose ratification the Federalist Papers were written to secure, prescribed a deliberative and balanced process of governance. Its framers also assumed a pattern of civic responsibility sustained by educated political discourse.

But history tells us that education in the abstract does not guarantee civic virtue or enlightened government. Weimar Germany was a culture honeycombed with highly authoritarian institutions, and the Weimar Republic failed in part because an artificially democratic government lacked resemblance to the dominant strains of its culture. And within that culture the most highly educated people on earth did not prevent the ensuing barbarity of Naziism. German education of the time was highly abstract and authoritarian; it lacked humanity and conscience.

One cannot think on these things without trying to measure just how important higher education is to a democratic society. How do we produce the educated mind that, at least theoretically, ensures civic virtue and democratic vitality?

In my view, the truly educated mind is open and tolerant. It respects diverse points of view. It is able to form critical judgments based on understanding of relevant information, concepts and perspectives. Educated discourse in politics is not absolutist, but seeks common ground in pursuit of the common weal. Bringing this home to the university, let me assert that to the educated mind cultural diversity is neither a threatening abnormality nor an imperative of conscience; it is simply a fact. To ignore it is intellectually dishonest; to abhor it is ignorant; and to elevate it out of context and promote it above all other values is an unproductive fixation.

One could argue that American universities have come to reflect their society more than they shape it, and in so doing they reflect some of the ironies of contemporary American politics: diversity and individualism, long regarded as the elemental strengths of our society, have become weaknesses. Diversity is a strength only so long as it coexists with tolerance and respect, and so long as it results in the integration of talents and perspectives toward the achievement of common ends and purpose. It is a strength only as those many identities that divide us are subordinate to the unity of national purpose, fired by the belief in national myth. Individualism is a strength insofar as it opens pathways to personal achievement based on merit, allows for the shedding of inherited inequalities, and provides the motivation for economic productivity. But both diversity and individualism were converted to national liabilities during the 1980s, with a new politics that exploits differences, and with the rebirth of Social Darwinism to justify a widening gap between the rich and the poor.

Our American system of government, so carefully constructed to ensure rational deliberation before popular sentiments are codified in law, has experienced shock and confusion historically when assaulted by emotional, single-issue movements. This phenomenon has reappeared in the last two decades with the displacement of conventional political and economic issues by a cultural agenda on which there is no compromise. And the cultural and religious wars of the 80's that still threaten to transform American politics into a battleground of fervent and narrowly-focused collections of true believers, have elicited strong reactions on the nation's campuses. The so-called "politically correct" absolutism at many leading universities becomes, curiously, a mirror-image counterpoint to the cultural absolutism of certain newly-politicized groups on the larger stage of "real world" politics.

The relationship between the academy and the polity has changed substantially since the early days of the republic. The impact of education on citizenship, consequently, is no longer simply a matter of one's acquiring the tools necessary for rational thought, enlightened discourse and informed judgment. Even though our inherited Lockean philosophy stressed individual rights, there was in Colonial America an implicit notion of community, at least among the free, white, male, and largely Protestant, political class. After westward expansion and the industrial revolution, waves of immigration and two world wars, the American political process no longer exemplified the idealized democracy of small town friends and neighbors. American colleges and universities changed also, from isolated, homogeneous academies designed to train lawyers and Protestant clergy, to gradually more inclusive engines of democracy, more diverse in both their make-up and their purpose. As a college education came to symbolize more than the affirmation of inherited status, so did civic virtue come to include more than noblesse oblige. Both education and citizenship became more difficult to capture in facile dictionary definitions, but grew into concepts so complicated as to spawn new academic disciplines.

In the post-World War II era, and especially since the late 1960s, the boundaries between the academy and its environment have become permeable. The campus is no longer a quiet sanctuary. There are hundreds of points of contact where persons within the university do business with their external peers, clients and patrons, whose values and norms become assimilated into the academy.

The penetration of the university by the society that supports it is not all bad, but it has a centrifugal effect on academic culture, and it complicates our latter day attempts to provide a setting conducive to producing virtuous citizens.

Consider, moreover, the destabilizing effects of a new world of constant change, in which the mere management of information leaves little time for the acquisition of solid knowledge or genuine wisdom, and in which the next few decades will face an overload of challenges in demography, technology and ecology. As scholars come to appreciate the full measure of these 21st century problems, and as they organize to contend with them, the academic culture may be further fragmented. "Pluralistic" and "diverse" will become the common descriptors when one discusses any particular institutional culture. But will the traditional elements of the academic culture guarantee both tolerance of diversity and the exercise of first amendment rights? Will the diversity and individualism that describe us and drive us coexist in an academic environment that will lead rather than follow the larger society, and that will inculcate those values most essential to virtuous citizenship?

Not just the curriculum, but the totality of campus experience is pivotal in the education of today's college students. How a campus treats diversity and individualism will have a substantial influence on expectations and values its graduates carry with them into the civic world. Just as a democratic society must balance the communitarian ethic with individual liberty, so must a university campus nurture individual striving for excellence while simultaneously producing citizens who, in the words of Miriam Weinstein, are "caring, compassionate, and activist in their concern for the health of the earth, all living things, and future generations."

For generations we have been able to assume that the academic culture is captured in the phrase "community of scholars." We have treated as anomalies the scattering of sectarian, military and other specialized colleges that have preached their own orthodoxies and governed themselves hierarchically. The norm has been for open, unfettered inquiry after the truth; license to question and deflate all orthodoxies by Socratic dialogue in the classroom, and by the accumulation of evidence in the study or laboratory; tolerance of diverse views, methodologies and lifestyles; and collegial governance.

Perhaps this was always the ideal model, never fully attained by any university. But its approximation must have been a far easier challenge when there were invisible walls between the relatively placid campus and the crosscurrents of politics and other social forces. It seems to me that if higher education is to shape civic virtue it must sustain an academic culture that retains the traditional values, practices, beliefs and assumptions, but one that is able to adapt to a rapidly and constantly changing environment without creating new orthodoxies or new forms of intellectual and social censorship.

What is the civic virtue we aim to instill in the educated man or woman? I have mentioned tolerance. We might expect also a communitarian spirit to temper individual ambition; a sense of duty and responsibility for the greater good; a willingness to compromise and to accommodate the views and needs of others; acceptance of a public interest that transcends special interests; and an openness, with the ability to handle ambiguities.

Both democracy and capitalism are full of ambiguities, and universities fail to educate students to deal with such ambiguities if we refuse to acknowledge them - if we sustain our own little orthodoxies, whether they be the rejection of all but one approach in a scholarly discipline or the imposition of "politically correct" terminology and behavior across campus. It is a mistake to sustain our own theologies at the same time that we aim to protect the academy from authoritarian influences. The certitude of religion is misplaced in the secular world of politics and economics, and it is this acknowledgment of ambiguity, as well as the desire to protect the free exercise of religion and to prevent the establishment of a particular state religion, that free societies insist on the separation of church and state. It is not that civic virtue requires the abandonment of private conscience - quite the contrary. It does not embarrass me as an Episcopalian to proclaim publicly a faith in God, nor, for that matter to ask, where would our country be without the social conscience of the Methodists? It is altogether possible and fitting that some religious values and some civic values are complementary, or even identical. But the practice of religion should not involve attempts at using the instruments of state power to enforce sectarian views on the larger society. More to the point, the authoritarian style of learning and belief typical of some religions is disruptive and inappropriate in the arena of democratic governance. The citizen, therefore, must learn to move back and forth from the often closed system of religious belief to the open system of democratic politics and free market economics. The academic culture, as both the archetype of open inquiry and the transmitter of inherited values, ought to accommodate the interplay of various styles of thought, and in so doing, provide the foundation for civic virtue in a democratic society. But when the academic culture itself begins to resemble a closed belief system it does not serve well the democratic society that supports it.

Where they co-exist, as in the United States, democracy and capitalism impact each other. Democratic government is a restraint on capitalism, subjecting it through regulation and law to a consideration of broader interests such as public health, welfare and safety. Capitalism invades the democratic process as well through the role of money in political campaigns, and in allocating disproportionate access to power to those successful in the marketplace. Persons who are unable to handle the ambiguities in this relationship, and who insist that intellectually pure models remain pure in the real world, are often frustrated and unproductive citizens, sometimes marginalized as they question the very legitimacy of government itself.

In addition to instilling such values as tolerance and regard for the public interest, the academic culture must also produce graduates who are at ease with the ambiguities of an open society. Finally, we would hope that university graduates appreciate the need for the building of community in order to guarantee individual rights.

Our challenge as a society is to take cultural diversity, which in its present form is tearing up our streets and neighborhoods and keeping money flowing to prisons rather than to schools, and convert it to the strength that it ought to be.

Universities have an undeniable role in this task. Compared to the larger society, we are relatively free of the problems of the right - bigotry, hatred, discrimination, and the belief that cultural diversity is an unwelcome intruder. Our problems are more likely to be those of the left: exaggerating differences as a basis for claims and entitlements, and policing and censoring the expression of those who are insensitive to the special needs of protected or vulnerable groups. If we succumb either to the mean spiritedness of the right or the excesses of the left we fail in doing our part toward building civic virtue. We need to remember our roots and our traditions, and to remind ourselves that there is one goal that is shared by every college and university in America, one so obvious that its importance is often ignored. That goal is preparation of a generation of citizens capable of defending liberty, justice, and freedom.

Our students not only must be able to defend their own freedom, but also the freedom of those incapable of defending it for themselves: the sick, the poor, the underprivileged, the children, and those still oppressed elsewhere in the world as well as in our own cities, hamlets, and country hollows. This is a great responsibility that we place on our graduates, but it is the core of civic virtue, and it gets us back to citizens who are "caring, compassionate, and activist in their concern for the health of the earth, all living things, and future generations."

Some would argue that America's problems with drugs, crime, and family breakdown are fueled by the lack of cultural rootedness or social ideals--what Alexis de Toqueville called the "habits of the heart." Our society can more certainly avoid a Weimar problem if our academic culture nurtures the "habits of the heart" as well as tending to the nourishment of the head. And as we do both we must sustain openness, tolerance and intellectual integrity. If we do less we fail to shape moral leaders for our ambiguous world.

In the springtime of our renewal at IUP, let us hold firm to the traditional values that have sustained civic virtue, and upon that foundation, reassert our leadership in the dual tasks of expanding opportunity and honoring excellence, and in building community as we celebrate individual achievement.



Ethics in the University
presented at the 1993 Annual Meeting of the
National Association of College and University Business Officers
(NACUBO)
July 6, 1993
Washington, D.C.


Lawrence K. Pettit
President
Indiana University of Pennsylvania

Good morning. It is a pleasure for me to be with you to discuss ethics. American news media in recent years have framed higher education as in need of an ethical implant. There are the athletic scandals; reports of scientific fraud and misconduct; news of questionable uses of indirect cost recovery, beginning with a yacht in Palo Alto; alleged collusion among 56 elite, "overlap group" institutions to fix the cost of financial assistance; egregious examples of so-called "political correctness" run amok; continuing allegations that faculty prefer not to be bothered by students, or to account for their time; and finally, since most of the media elite believe it essential to send their children to the most expensive private schools, the resentful claim that tuition is too high, due in part, of course, to bloated administrative costs. It matters not that the charges are valid for only a minuscule portion of the nation's colleges and universities, nor does it matter that higher education--the nation's only industry with both the quality and affordability to maintain a favorable balance of trade--has fewer ethical problems than any other part of our society. What matters is perception. Thus we are here today to discuss ethics in higher education.

As a sometime political scientist, I employ two perspectives in analyzing ethical problems. The first is that of the philosopher or ethicist who begins with laborious definitions of abstract principles, concepts, and values--definitions developed by decades, generations, or centuries of scholarly dialogue--and then construes what is good or just according to those definitions.

Second, is the perspective of the jurist, who begins with a statement of desirable but largely undefined principles and values and then, in the process of construing acts, gradually incorporates that construction into the definition of the principles or values. Obvious examples would be the manner in which the definition of First Amendment principles evolves through legal precedent or, similarly, the gradual incorporation of First Amendment rights into the definitions of "due process" and "equal protection."

The first of these models deals in absolutes; the second derives meaning from context. The first is abstract, the second concrete.

One needs to understand the differences in these two perspectives and to know that what is legal--that is, behavior governed by practical constraints to allow human institutions to function in society--may not necessarily be ethical or congruent with philosophical standards of right.

In our society, legality is a matter of explicit social control and reflects the dominant norms of society. It is not discretionary. Ethical behavior beyond the narrow requirements of legality may be discretionary and may even require behavior at odds with dominant cultural norms.

The interplay of these two perspectives has consequences for those who ultimately are accountable to society for what goes on at colleges and universities. The requirement for legal behavior recognizes that the university is immersed in a society and subject to its rules, which are enforced by persons external to the academy. The need for ethical behavior, however, may require that the university stand apart from, or above, its supporting society, especially because the academy is subjected to more rigorous and demanding standards than are its colleagues in politics, business, or even law and medicine.

A fundamental problem for those who administer and speak for universities is that the academy is an open system of human behavior and has highly permeable boundaries. It is also consciously and defiantly decentralized. There are hundreds of points of contact with the larger society. Each set of relationships at the university's boundaries operates with a high degree of independence, and each constitutes a normative mirror, reflecting back on the university the peculiarities of some other subculture.

For example, the interactions of athletics directors, coaches, and sports publicists with boosters, fan clubs, news and entertainment media and their advertisers, not to mention high school coaches, become over time an institutionalized behavioral system with its own values and norms, more in tune with the aims of business, entertainment, and the media than with those of academe. The participants in such a subsystem feed off one another. The college sports product needs to be marketed in order to pay its way, but also serves as a vehicle to market the name of the university. But the media also need college sports to sell their products and to attract advertising. Enormous profits are made from the business of selling amateur college sports. The jobs at stake are at least as numerous off campus as on.

College athletics is not the only example, of course. Those other hundreds of points of contact take on similar characteristics and function with similar degrees of independence. Through the operations of these subsystems, the University gets drawn into symbiotic relationships with often powerful forces in society whose standards of ethics might differ from its own. The entrepreneurial and self-aggrandizing talents that energize both business and politics, for example, are inappropriate and disruptive in the academic culture. What satisfies modern news media as informative or analytical is superficial and suspect when part of academic dialogue. The entertainment industry's need to pander to the lowest common denominator is anathema to the academic world, where we hope intellectual rigor still enjoys more currency than does amusement. Ideally, what passes as ethical behavior in business, politics, media, and entertainment, therefore, should not always pass muster in higher education.

But the concept of the cloistered university is antiquated. American universities function in a competitive, capitalist world, in which television now dominates the public consciousness. Television both shapes and reflects public tastes and attitudes. As a result, our intellectual and political cultures are more populist than many of us realize, and those in government and academia who once led the public, and who helped define such matters as public purpose and academic integrity, now obsequiously link institutional missions or political philosophies to whatever items are selling this year at the Vox Populi Emporium. One result is that the academic fraternity no longer enjoys the prerogative of defining quality or success within its ranks. That is done for us by superficial popular rankings, such as what appears annually in U.S. News and World Report. The public reads, hears, and learns of colleges and universities through such channels, and through intercollegiate athletic spectacles. At the same time, specialized publics at those hundreds of points of contact develop a keen knowledge of university operations useful to them, and impose their values and ethics on the academy through their regular relationships with it.

Universities strive for quality but trade on reputation. Only a few institutions of long-standing academic prestige (essentially those recently under the gun for alleged restraint of trade and price fixing) are so secure in their reputations that they captain their own ships. Others must seek notoriety through success at popular activities that have little to do with the central purpose of a university. This is the avenue by which they earn the right to be considered significant and worthy of attention in the contemporary American culture. An ethical lapse here and there might be the price they pay for an audience to whom to communicate their claim of substantial academic reputation. The problem is especially acute for public universities because in this country there lingers an outdated notion, more pronounced in some parts of the country than others, that private colleges are by definition "better" than public colleges.

There are two dominant compensatory activities in which colleges and universities engage. Nearly all public universities and colleges have become extensively involved in economic development activities, motivated at least in part to prove their usefulness according to external criteria. And even the major public universities--or especially they--have reached the point of no return in their involvement in intercollegiate athletics as a major profit center in society. It is probable that in both economic development and intercollegiate athletics colleges and universities face unending ethical riddles as they strive for success and high profile in games ruled by norms other than their own.

Education, like religion, is expected to be a noncapitalist conscience in a capitalist society. In the more pristine context, that was possible. But today the pervasive influence of television as the medium of popular communication, and as the modern nerve center of business and political activity, attenuates the influence of the more detached institutions, pulls them into the maelstrom to ensure their own acceptance and survival, and begins to erode their once granite ethical standards. In a religious metaphor, where higher education once played the role of the Episcopal bishop in society, it now is viewed as the televangelist. One struggles to imagine a more profound fall from grace.

Modern university presidents must promote their institution in a society that higher education serves but does not shape; in a culture that more and more disregards the intrinsic value of a college, but judges its social utility; in a context in which the continuing moral strictures of the past conflict with new demands for economic and social involvement. Moreover, the decentralized character of the university and its openness result in a range of independent and institutionalized boundary relationships that the university CEO cannot monitor, let alone control.

Of course our ethics in academe are not what we imagine them to have been in the past. Today, for better or worse, universities are of society, not apart from it. Many of our ethical standards are hybrids, born of this union for survival. Our growing boundary relationships will involve us in ethical systems different from that at the core of the academic enterprise. The dilemma is that the society that expects us to share and promote its values, norms, and economic and political goals also expects us to be above reproach. The same newspapers and television stations that fan the flames of intercollegiate athletics as a growth industry will criticize us for ethical callousness as we pursue that industry.

There are other examples as well. Consider the range of potential conflicts of interest in sponsored research, faculty consulting arrangements, presidential and trustee service on corporate and bank boards, and so forth.

Additionally, higher eduction will face a growing number of ethical problems simply because of the steady march of science and technology. Some of them may be intensified by relationships with the larger society. In computing for example, key ethical questions include privacy of computer-stored information, effects of computerization on the distribution of power in society, liability for malfunctions in computer programs and the creation of malicious software such as computer viruses.

Academic medicine will face yet other problems. A few years ago a medical writer for the Arizona Republic speculated on the joint effects of two recent developments. The first is the invention of an abortion pill which, taken soon after the first missed period, can induce a miscarriage with relative safety. The second is the development of a new method for detecting genetic defects shortly after the fetus begins to grow. The writer speculates about the range of ethical decisions required in evaluating the different grounds for aborting a developing fetus. If it is ethical to abort a fetus that might develop severe brain damage, is it ethical to abort one that will be prone to alcoholism or Alzheimer's disease, or one that may be too short or too tall, or a boy when the parents desperately want a girl?

More recently, writers for the Chicago Tribune warned, "The growing ability to know which genes predispose a person to disease or contribute to intelligence and other skills and talents raises questions of invasion of privacy, and job and insurance discrimination against certain gene carriers."

These are the kinds of ethical problems academia--in tandem with the rest of society--will face. Solutions will emerge out of boundary relationships. The operative standards will not necessarily be those of the academy.

But there are two sets of ethical problems we in academe cannot blame on society: how we govern our own affairs, and how our own incentives, rewards, and traditions inspire unethical behavior. Perhaps in no other profession is there such excruciating peer pressure as in college teaching, nor such constant and critical scrutiny of the quality and quantity of one's work product. Small wonder that individual faculty on occasion are ethically flawed. Maybe we are lucky that there are not more examples of research fraud, plagiarism, and exploitation of graduate students.

While we cannot excuse such unethical behavior, we do need to examine its main cause. The problem is that we still employ a single model of excellence for colleges and universities and, consequently, a single standard for faculty productivity and worth. The model is that of the major research university. The system almost guarantees frustration and the constant erosion of morale among most faculty at all but the top-level research institutions, and even among some who are at such institutions but happen to be in academic disciplines that lack significant external funding opportunities. The failure to sustain optional models of excellence creates ethical pitfalls for frustrated and ambitious faculty members, but also in a broader sense makes it almost impossible for any institution to accept limitations on its own scope of activities. Competition and the quest for an ever more impressive reputation, coupled with the tenet that nothing should get in the way of the pursuit of truth, have led to the evolution of several research leviathans across the land. They have crossed the threshold of manageable scale into the realm of the insatiable fiscal appetite. Society cannot feed them enough money because their needs expand almost exponentially. Do their rejection of limits and the concentration of state and federal resources in their precincts pose an ethical problem, especially in the face of an enormously dispersed responsibility among colleges and universities to develop and nurture human capital? That is a question we in higher education must confront.

Aside from the ethical traps involved in competition for professional recognition, there is another category of internal ethical concerns: the manner in which we conduct our academic politics. Several years ago Edward Fiske noted in the New York Times that "political infighting continues to be a major presence in American higher education." He quoted New Jersey's then Governor Kean as speculating that Woodrow Wilson left the presidency of Princeton University to run for governor because he was worn out by academic politics. Fiske added, "Like Wilson, people who have sampled academic and real-world politics tend to prefer the latter, partly because some civilizing restraints built into electoral politics are absent from its academic counterpart."

In the Spring 1989 Educational Record, I published a small piece meant to be an interstitial memo in the emerging dialogue on ethics. I did so because I did not want the concern for ethical conduct of university governance to be overlooked. Some of the points made were: (1) the American academic culture lacks a set of ethical expectations governing the conduct of internal politics; (2) professionally academics pursue truth, but politically the university can be an incubator of destructive gossip and rumor, much of it inimical to the achievement of our goals and to the attraction of public confidence; (3) there is a special irony at public universities when the CEO stands in defense of academic freedom in order to prevent politicization of the campus, while at the same time dissidents at a few institutions solicit the intrusion of politics in the form of media or legislative punishment of administrators with whom they have a grievance; (4) an ad hominem style of campus politics poisons shared governance and inhibits rational dialogue; and (5) when the style of academic politics undermines institutional or system leadership, it weakens the university's ability to draw support from its environment. At the end of the article I asked two questions: (1) at what point does the internecine sport of our calling become unethical behavior? (2) who blows the whistle in order to protect the vulnerable CEO against unethical attacks?

As we try to cut our way through the particular tangle of ethical concerns mentioned here, we might concede that the legal perspective would be the more appropriate one in approaching ethics in the university's boundary relationships and in its relations with society at large. At those points of interaction, pure academic standards may have to yield on occasion as long as there are other acceptable ethical standards. At the core of our internal concerns, however, in dealing with the academic program, faculty professional behavior, and the workings of university governance, we need to employ the more philosophical perspective, adhering to a body of absolutes that elevates our behavior.

Our first duty is to get the internal house in order. It is a moral imperative but also a practical matter of self-interest. In the contemporary political system, higher education is not a heavy player. We do not deliver either votes or money. Nor are we a significant player in directing the economy, in spite of our enormous economic impact. What little political leverage we have is not a result of our having or controlling any political resources. The attributes or resources that give higher education any influence in contemporary society are rather intangible: enlightenment, respectability and of particular relevance to this discussion, rectitude. If we come to our relationships at the hundreds of points of contact with our rectitude intact and largely acknowledged, then it should be easier for us to provide moral leadership and to raise the ethical consciousness of others. But when our internal politics lack integrity and honor, and when we can be accused of succumbing to the temptations of the market place in the unending competition among our institutions, we relinquish our traditional pulpit and, with it, our moral leadership.