Quote of the Day

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Ethics Emphasis


In an encouraging move, George Wythe has announced it will begin infusing ethics training into its courses.

"'We’ve actually had a lot of discussion about the principles of ethics on the board over the last year,' said Curriculum Committee Chair Vicki Jo Anderson."

Indeed.

15 comments:

Felidae said...

Hilarious cartoon! I also concur with your assessment of the situation under leadership prior to Groft. I bet the board is mad as hell over the mess they inherited from Brooks and DeMille. Meanwhile, here's a quote from President Schulthies' bio on the school website:

"During his tenure [at BYU] he chaired the Human Subjects Committee, overseeing the ethical standards of all human research at Brigham Young University's three campuses, and training faculty in ethics in human research across multiple disciplines."

Seems to me that he has the bona-fides to lead out on this. I think he'll do a good job. He shows his experience and commitment to ethics here as well. http://www.gw.edu/about/from_president.php

By contrast, I doubt we'll see anything even remotely like this at that goofy Center for Social Leadership or Monticello College.

The Real George Wythe said...

Felidae, this board didn't inherit the mess, it enabled it.

Of the eight current board members, six were around to mortgage the Cedar City campus, forge ahead with the ill-advised Monticello plan, take that single mom's $150K, appoint Brooks president, and who knows what else (see my previous post here for a snapshot of the board makeup in May 2009).

Indeed, the board member who sparred with me on Wikipedia and lied about colluding with his/her spouse (I know who it was but I'm being purposely vague; see here) is still on the board. (That board member's behavior on Wikipedia was beyond unprofessional.)

That is one reason why it is crucial that the school publish an HONEST history on its website. It is also crucial that the school establish a track record of ongoing integrity, transparency, and prudence--traits sorely lacking in the past.

The board's actions of appointing Schulthies and introducing ethics concepts into the school's courses are encouraging. But the school is in no way out of the woods yet.

Tammy Jensen said...

I read through your blog last night and was reminded of an experience that I had a several years ago. I had been watching a news piece about a politician that I couldn’t stand and agreeing with all the criticism being heaped upon the man. The thought, almost unwillingly, came into my mind, “could you withstand your life being scrutinized, your every word being taken out of context, your every action being brought forward from your past.” I had an internal shudder. That politician suddenly looked different to me.

You can be right on your facts, and dead wrong on your assumptions. The facts on this blog are probably largely accurate, but the conclusions and the judgements are dead wrong.

I moved into Oliver’s ward several years ago and have since moved away. I worked with his daughters in Young Women’s and have babysat his younger children on occasion. I attended several of his classes at his school etc etc. His family, (individually, and collectively), is uncommonly strong. When they spoke of their parents, it was impressively warm and respectful. In my work with the youth, I’ve found that to be uncommon. His knowledge is impressive and extensive, but what I find most impressive about him or any individual for that matter, was his character. I observed on several occasions, his uncommon capacity for understanding and lifting “the weakest among us”. In one of those instances it was “the most annoying” among us. He responded with grace and patience. It was noteworthy, because it was small, it transcended human nature, and I had rarely seen anyone respond so in like situations.

Now, I know that you have painted him as a contriver, a liar, and a cheat - but your wrong. In his desire to build the school, he exaggerated and those around him put forward half truths - I noticed that tendency before you pointed it out - (I’ve also noticed the same tendency in most human organizations - military, schools, business, yes, even church.) but I also know he was largely just struggling for the school’s survival most of the time, and in that environment, you become less and less worried about detail. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for accuracy in the details, but I’m also for accuracy in the bigger picture. You are helping them get accurate in the details, while completely missing the bigger picture. Let’s be honest, to build anything takes guts and work. We can and should applaud those that have put themselves out there in front of the critic with all their warts (which may be many) in hopes of doing something good.

As Teddy Roosevelt so aptly said,
“The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming.”

To the founder of this blog. I can imagine that if I lived in your ward with you, I would probably have similar positive observations of you and yours. I trust that you have a wonderful family and morals etc. I also can imagine why you have chosen to remain anonymous --- for this is dirty work, and I wouldn’t want my name on it either. If your intentions were to help build, I’m sure you have accomplished that in that you have provided needed feedback to the leaders at George Wythe, however, because of the personal assumptions generated on your blog, it is no longer “the raw facts”, but slander - especially towards Oliver. To all of you - all the ones that have put yourselves up as judge and jury to a man that you don’t personally know, I would just remind you that we all will be scrutinized up close at some point - remember every word you’ve posted about Oliver.

Tammy Jensen said...

I read through your blog last night and was reminded of an experience that I had a several years ago. I had been watching a news piece about a politician that I couldn’t stand and agreeing with all the criticism being heaped upon the man. The thought, almost unwillingly, came into my mind, “could you withstand your life being scrutinized, your every word being taken out of context, your every action being brought forward from your past.” I had an internal shudder. That politician suddenly looked different to me.

You can be right on your facts, and dead wrong on your assumptions. The facts on this blog are probably largely accurate, but the conclusions and the judgements are dead wrong.

I moved into Oliver’s ward several years ago and have since moved away. I worked with his daughters in Young Women’s and have babysat his younger children on occasion. I attended several of his classes at his school etc etc. His family, (individually, and collectively), is uncommonly strong. When they spoke of their parents, it was impressively warm and respectful. In my work with the youth, I’ve found that to be uncommon. His knowledge is impressive and extensive, but what I find most impressive about him or any individual for that matter, was his character. I observed on several occasions, his uncommon capacity for understanding and lifting “the weakest among us”. In one of those instances it was “the most annoying” among us. He responded with grace and patience. It was noteworthy, because it was small, it transcended human nature, and I had rarely seen anyone respond so in like situations.

continued on next comment...

Tammy Jensen said...

Continued from above comment...

Now, I know that you have painted him as a contriver, a liar, and a cheat - but your wrong. In his desire to build the school, he exaggerated and those around him put forward half truths - I noticed that tendency before you pointed it out - (I’ve also noticed the same tendency in most human organizations - military, schools, business, yes, even church.) but I also know he was largely just struggling for the school’s survival most of the time, and in that environment, you become less and less worried about detail. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for accuracy in the details, but I’m also for accuracy in the bigger picture. You are helping them get accurate in the details, while completely missing the bigger picture. Let’s be honest, to build anything takes guts and work. We can and should applaud those that have put themselves out there in front of the critic with all their warts (which may be many) in hopes of doing something good.

As Teddy Roosevelt so aptly said,
“The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming.”

To the founder of this blog. I can imagine that if I lived in your ward with you, I would probably have similar positive observations of you and yours. I trust that you have a wonderful family and morals etc. I also can imagine why you have chosen to remain anonymous --- for this is dirty work, and I wouldn’t want my name on it either. If your intentions were to help build, I’m sure you have accomplished that in that you have provided needed feedback to the leaders at George Wythe, however, because of the personal assumptions generated on your blog, it is no longer “the raw facts”, but slander - especially towards Oliver. To all of you - all the ones that have put yourselves up as judge and jury to a man that you don’t personally know, I would just remind you that we all will be scrutinized up close at some point - remember every word you’ve posted about Oliver.

Felidae said...

First, I appreciate Tammy effectively reminding us to check our hearts to ensure we are not acting with malice. Certainly, being part of the human family makes us all vulnerable this. On the other hand, even if DeMille's intentions were always pure -- but he felt that the ends justified the means -- such reasoning is, in fact, the basis of most human suffering in this world. Indeed, this is especially true in the worst affronts by governments and others in trusted positions -- a point DeMille himself has made many times. (See Bastiat: What is seen, what is not seen?)

Hubris, bending and then breaking rules, deception ... all of these became common and jeopardized every GWU student's reputation and future. Sure, DeMille is bright. But that does not make him competent in all things, let alone to run a college and safeguard the required level of public trust to do so.

To TRGW, from your own snapshots of the board, it looks like if we step back in time and add Sills to the 14 you identify, that means there were probably 15 back in 2007 when Brooks pushed through his Monticello fantasy. You point out that only six remain today, which would have been a minority back then. Were those six also greenies with little influence? Were they dissenting voices as well? I'd be curious to know this before lumping them in with the old guard.

The Real George Wythe said...

Tammy - Thanks for reading! I understand where you're coming from. It's easy to sympathize with people when they're up close and personal. Stockholm syndrome is a (extreme) case in point.

But realize that the facts (as you conceded) described in this blog have had negative consequences in the real world for real people. At some point, accountability has to come into play.

There is a difference between niceness and competence. Choosing the former may be easier in the short run, but in the long run it usually results in suffering.

That said, if you discover anything unfactual in this blog, PLEASE point it out to me. The last thing I want to do is slander (which, by definition, involves making unfactual statements). Thanks!

Felidae, thanks for defending me. Maybe you're getting pulled in by some Stockholm Syndrome-like forces. :) I'm definitely willing to give the current, smaller board a chance though. We'll see what they're able to pull off.

Bipolar Attorney said...

Tammy,

I am not his Bishop and I would not presume to judge character. I do not questioned sincerity. But sincerity is not enough. Oscar Wilde said "all bad poetry is sincere."

I don't have a problem with classics based education. I am a big fan of Harold Bloom although I admit I have to take him in small doses.

I never would have known of this school and if I had known of it I wouldn't have cared but for Ann Tracy. I was appointed to represent a woman in stark mania after she went off her medication under the influence of Tracy. It was not a pretty sight. Tracy and her allies in Scientology have caused much pain and grief among those with genuine mental illness.

What I have against Mr. DeMille is that by acting as a diploma mill, he enabled Ms. Tracy to use phony credentials.

The idea that founding a school is a greater good that excuses this conduct is somewhat akin to the arguments of the banks in the foreclosure crisis. They argue that being right excuses the use of phony documents.

In sum, I don't care if everyone in Southern Utah has a PhD as long as it doesn't hurt people.

Tammy Jensen said...

I appreciated your comments. I was impressed with your openness and willingness to discuss. I decided to post one more time, though I have many time constraints that do not permit an ongoing dialogue. I think I would prefer discussing in a living room, but so it is...

Several years ago, we went to buy our first house. After expressing my embarrassment that we were missing a few documents that were needed from our financial files that we had brought in, I was greatly surprised at the loan officer’s description of most people’s files. He thumbed through our unimpressive little file box with great commendation.

With the life experience gained since then, I would no longer be surprised at his reaction. During that time we took over a small business with about 10 employees and a customer base - cut back on the easy and predictable paycheck to build the business - and witnessed first hand all the messiness that comes from building something from the ground up. I have recognized the same challenges with others in like endeavors. I would bet if you went into most small businesses, opened the books, opened the files, opened all the drawers and documents, spoke with the customer base and employees, in general - you would find similar weaknesses that the fledgling GWC display(ed)(s). Inexperience, lack of resources and personnel, a hit in the economy, family tragedy, the normal ebb and flow of life etc. All of these play a part in exposing those weak spots. Do I think that it is helpful to get feedback in those areas...not just helpful - it’s imperative to eventual success! I would imagine that your targets are largely grateful for your “free legal advise” because it leads to course correction and growth. However, the fact that those weaknesses are there does not constitute an embracing of “the ends justifies the means” mentality. It does not deserve a blanket statement of “incompetence”. It constitutes a normal progression of small to large. The unfortunate events that have occurred are other examples of common happenings in the early history of most worthwhile organizations. Along with those instances, that are profoundly regrettable, there are magnificent things that have happened and will continue to happen because of their efforts. Their weaknesses must be transcended and corrected, and I have confidence that Oliver will and is and has, but when I say there is slander on this page - there is. Are you really after the truth? I have purposely avoided discussing specific allegations outlined, because I don’t think you are -

continued...

Tammy Jensen said...

I appreciated your comments. I was impressed with your openness and willingness to discuss. I decided to post one more time, though I have many time constraints that do not permit an ongoing dialogue.
Several years ago, we went to buy our first house. After expressing my embarrassment that we were missing a few documents that were needed from our financial files that we had brought in, I was greatly surprised at the loan officer’s description of most people’s files. He thumbed through our unimpressive little file box with great commendation.

With the life experience gained since then, I would no longer be surprised at his reaction. During that time we took over a small business with about 10 employees and a customer base - cut back on the easy and predictable paycheck to build the business - and witnessed first hand all the messiness that comes from building something from the ground up. I have recognized the same challenges with others in like endeavors. I would bet if you went into most small businesses, opened the books, opened the files, opened all the drawers and documents, spoke with the customer base and employees, in general - you would find similar weaknesses that the fledgling GWC display(ed)(s).

Tammy Jensen said...

Continued...

Inexperience, lack of resources and personnel, a hit in the economy, family tragedy, the normal ebb and flow of life etc. All of these play a part in exposing those weak spots. Do I think that it is helpful to get feedback in those areas...not just helpful - it’s imperative to eventual success! I would imagine that your targets are largely grateful for your “free legal advise” because it leads to course correction and growth. However, the fact that those weaknesses are there does not constitute an embracing of “the ends justifies the means” mentality. It does not deserve a blanket statement of “incompetence”. It constitutes a normal progression of small to large. The unfortunate events that have occurred are other examples of common happenings in the early history of most worthwhile organizations. Along with those instances, that are profoundly regrettable, there are magnificent things that have happened and will continue to happen because of their efforts. Their weaknesses must be transcended and corrected, and I have confidence that Oliver will and is and has, but when I say there is slander on this page - there is. Are you really after the truth? I have purposely avoided discussing specific allegations outlined, because I don’t think you are -

I have read articles tearing apart Hugo’s Les’ Miserables, but I love that book. I trust that I assume correctly that you are familiar with the story. Javert has all his facts correct. He sees so clearly every minutia of the law. He is so very justified in his opinions, in his condemnations, and in his assumptions. There is nothing left to investigate because, the facts are the facts! In bringing him up, I do not suggest that in your real life you are Javert. As I said before, I do not believe this blog to be a proper representation of who you are, (how could it be, when presented behind a cloak of anonymity). I will illustrate why I feel his character is applicable.

One of the beauties of Montesquieu’s observations in “Spirit of the Laws”, is that the “real” law is unchanging and immovable, but that man-made law is based upon the “spirit” that rules in the population of the people. You have created certain “laws” if you will, for this website. Almost unspoken rules you play by - every human organization does. As you have artfully aided GWU in recognizing and correcting their blind spots, allow me to make a suggestion. Instead of your blog title and personal handle being “The Real George Wythe”, a more proper title for it, (in its current state) would be, “In the Spirit of Javert.” - because it is. It is to that stubborn “real” law that I appeal too in this exchange with you. I am not your enemy, but as you have forced Oliver to wear his “A”, “you too have deeply sinned,” and your many posts make that obvious to the casual observer. Fortunately for you, nobody knows your identity and you have the opportunity to grow and reform into a better human being without the pain and shame that comes from public humiliation. I hope that you will - that your obvious gifts of persuasion and intellect will be channeled in a way that is more worthy of the Giver of those gifts.

TammyJensen said...

Inexperience, lack of resources and personnel, a hit in the economy, family tragedy, the normal ebb and flow of life etc. All of these play a part in exposing those weak spots. Do I think that it is helpful to get feedback in those areas...not just helpful - it’s imperative to eventual success! I would imagine that your targets are largely grateful for your “free legal advise” because it leads to course correction and growth. However, the fact that those weaknesses are there does not constitute an embracing of “the ends justifies the means” mentality. It does not deserve a blanket statement of “incompetence”. It constitutes a normal progression of small to large. The unfortunate events that have occurred are other examples of common happenings in the early history of most worthwhile organizations. Along with those instances, that are profoundly regrettable, there are magnificent things that have happened and will continue to happen because of their efforts. Their weaknesses must be transcended and corrected, and I have confidence that Oliver will and is and has, but when I say there is slander on this page - there is. Are you really after the truth? I have purposely avoided discussing specific allegations outlined, because I don’t think you are -

Continued...

Tammy Jensen said...

I have read articles tearing apart Hugo’s Les’ Miserables, but I love that book. I trust that I assume correctly that you are familiar with the story. Javert has all his facts correct. He sees so clearly every minutia of the law. He is so very justified in his opinions, in his condemnations, and in his assumptions. There is nothing left to investigate because, the facts are the facts! In bringing him up, I do not suggest that in your real life you are Javert. As I said before, I do not believe this blog to be a proper representation of who you are, (how could it be, when presented behind a cloak of anonymity). I will illustrate why I feel his character is applicable.

One of the beauties of Montesquieu’s observations in “Spirit of the Laws”, is that the “real” law is unchanging and immovable, but that man-made law is based upon the “spirit” that rules in the population of the people. You have created certain “laws” if you will, for this website. Almost unspoken rules you play by - every human organization does. As you have artfully aided GWU in recognizing and correcting their blind spots, allow me to make a suggestion. Instead of your blog title and personal handle being “The Real George Wythe”, a more proper title for it, (in its current state) would be, “In the Spirit of Javert.” - because it is. It is to that stubborn “real” law that I appeal too in this exchange with you. I am not your enemy, but as you have forced Oliver to wear his “A”, “you too have deeply sinned,” and your many posts make that obvious to the casual observer. Fortunately for you, nobody knows your identity and you have the opportunity to grow and reform into a better human being without the pain and shame that comes from public humiliation. I hope that you will - that your obvious gifts of persuasion and intellect will be channeled in a way that is more worthy of the Giver of those gifts.

The Real George Wythe said...

Tammy,

Please give a specific example of a slanderous statement I have written on this blog.

Thanks,

TRGW

Bipolar Attorney said...

Since Tammy has taken offense to the discussion on mental illness, I submit the following to a candid world. Don't take my word for anything. Look it up yourself.

Mental illness is a significant problem in society. According to the DSM-IV, one percent of the population has Bipolar I disorder. (mania and majhor depression.

"Patients with depressive and manic-depressive illnesses are far more likely to commit suicide than individuals in any other psychiatric or medical risk group. The mortality rate for untreated manic-depressive patients is higher than it is for most types of heart disease and many types of cancer." (Goodwin and Jamison, "Manic-Depressive Illness, page 227)

Since the discovery of the use of Lithium, there have been major advances in pharmacological intervention in Bipolar disorder. A good lay person's explanation can be found in several of the books by Dr. Kay Redfield Jamison. For those interested in classical education, I suggest "Touched With Fire." Dr. Jamison has been named as one of America's top 100 doctors. (PhD UCLA, teaches at Johns Hopkins Medical School)

Ann Tracy has spent the last two decades trying to convince people not to take psychiatric medicine in spite of the known risks of non-intervention. In doing so, she refers to herself as Dr. Tracy with a PhD in Biology.

George Wythe gave her this degree not for expertise in the lab, genetics, statistics but for "life experience" in writing her book on Prozac. There are many fine doctors including psychiatrists in Utah that can comment on the lack of scientific method. I would suggest you start with the Utah Psychiatric Institute which is a world class facility.

I think this is the only science degree given by George Wythe. I see no connection between Tracy's ramblings and the classics, leadership and constitutional law.

I don't think Mr. DeMille knew of the dangers of exposing the mentally ill to Dr. Tracy's views. I don't even think Ann Tracy understands what she is doing or has done. But Mr. DeMille put his name and the name of his University behind psuedo science.

I hope your family is never touched by mental illness. If, God forbidding it is, I would hope that you find care other than that vouched for by George Wythe.