In the Wikipedia page on Joseph Ellis (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Ellis), a college professor and renowned author, who has written many books about the early years of our nation’s history, it says the following:
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“In June 2001 the Boston Globe (Links to an external site.) revealed that Ellis had lied to his students in lectures and to the media about his role in American culture and the Vietnam War (Links to an external site.) years. He claimed to have been a combat platoon leader in Vietnam, to have been active in civil rights campaigns in the south, and to have been an anti-war leader at Yale. His actual military record consisted of obtaining a graduate student deferral of service until 1969 and then teaching history at West Point (Links to an external site.) until 1972. Ellis issued a public apology in August 2001 after the truth was exposed. In the ensuing controversy, Mount Holyoke suspended him without pay for a year, indefinitely suspended his status as an endowed chair (Links to an external site.), and removed him from teaching during the 2001-2002 academic year. In May 2005, Mount Holyoke restored his chair.”
Some people have argued that his false statements did not hurt anyone and that they certainly had no impact on the information he was teaching about American history. Others said that his poor judgment were not in keeping with our high standards and expectations of college professors.
Assignment: Prepare a 2 – 3 page, double spaced paper (using your text, class readings, and any research material that may apply), to answer the following questions:
What are the ethical issues associated with this case? Develop a clear argument in support of your rationale.
What did Ellis do wrong and why was it unethical? Or was it?
Should he have been punished? Was the punishment appropriate? If not, why? If yes, was his suspension for one year, by Mount Holyoke College, appropriate?
What would you have recommended, as a member of the college’s board of trustees, and why?
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