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Updated 2:00 PM February 11, 2005




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  Community input sought
Committee to explore ethics in public life at Feb. 7 forum

Enron. Martha Stewart. Halliburton. Abu Ghraib. Each of these names will be remembered for playing a major role at a time in American society characterized by major ethical lapses.

Exploring U-M's role in addressing these and other ethical questions is the purpose of the Ethics in Public Life Task Force, a committee appointed by President Mary Sue Coleman as one of four presidential initiatives announced in September. The task force will host a campus forum 6-8 p.m. tonight (Feb. 7) in the Hussey and Vandenberg rooms of the Michigan League to seek faculty, student and staff input.

The forum will help the presidential task force "gauge the perceived needs of teaching and learning at the University in regard to ethics, particularly ethics in public life," says Marvin Krislov, vice president and general counsel. Krislov is co-chairman of the task force, along with John Chamberlin, professor of political science and public policy.

The forum also will help the task force to continue gathering information about what the University currently does and what other universities are doing, Krislov says. A wide range of universities nationwide participate in similar programs. Among these are Princeton University, University of Notre Dame, and other Ivy League and Big Ten institutions.

At the forum, students, faculty and staff will have an opportunity to voice their ideas and opinions through focus groups and directed discussion questions.

One of the task force's major goals is to provide a set of recommendations to Coleman by the spring as to whether a Center for Ethics in Public Life should be established at the University, Krislov says. The forum should help the task force understand whether members of the University community are interested in developing such a center.

Eventually, people will be able to give feedback and information on the process through the development of a Web site and e-mail updates.

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