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The Big Q

A dialogue on the big questions college students face. Like The Big Q now on Facebook to stay updated on the latest post and winners.

  •  Long Distance Love

    Monday, Oct. 17, 2011

    Best student comment on "Long Distance Love" wins a $50 gift certificate.  Comments must be received by midnight Oct. 23.

    When Thomas went to college, he left his girlfriend, Angela, back home, 500 miles away. Thomas promised Angela he would remain faithful to her even as he was exploring college life. However, Thomas isn’t sure if being faithful means he’s just not supposed to have sex with other girls.

    He has had his eye on a few freshman girls in this dorm. Would it be okay for Thomas to fool around with them as long as he wasn’t having sex? If his girlfriend never specified what faithful meant, is it really all that wrong to do it?

     

    Here are some useful resources: 

    A Framework for Ethical Decision Making

    Advice for Long Distance Relationships

    Surviving a Long Distance Relationship

     

    Photo by abbynormy available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial License.

  •  The Drinking Age

    Monday, Oct. 3, 2011

    Best student comment on "The Drinking Age" wins a $50 gift certificate.  Comments must be received by midnight Oct. 9. 

    David was always a responsible young adult in high school. He worked hard for good grades. He participated in a number of extra curricular activities. He never drank or did drugs. It was his desire to attend a prestigious college that motivated all of this, and he didn’t want to do anything that would jeopardize his chance at admittance.

    Even still, David’s friends would occasionally ask him why he didn’t party with them, and he always had the same response: It wasn’t a moral abstention, but a legal one. People under the age of 21 aren’t allowed to drink, and he didn’t want to do something he could wait a few years to experience.

    However, now that David’s 18-years-old and in college, he finds himself with a different opinion. He no longer has to worry about getting into his university. He finds himself less concerned with the dangers of high school drinking. He gives more consideration to the idea that he can vote and go to war, yet he’s not allowed to consume alcohol.

    David doesn’t intend to do anything dangerous when drinking, just have a couple beers when he goes out with his new friends. He’s in a relatively safe environment. He plans to drink responsibly. Is there really a problem?

    You may find these resources helpful:

    Drinking Age Pro-Con

    A Framework for Ethical Decision Making

     

    Photo by bunchofpants available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial License.

     

  •  When Do I Friend?

    Monday, Sep. 26, 2011

    Best student answer to Emily's problem wins a $50 gift certificate.  Comments must be received by midnight Sunday, Oct. 1.  Rules

    At the beginning of her Freshman year, Emily is a bit surprised to find a notification for a friend request along with a message. It's from John, a guy she met at Orientation who lives in the neighboring dorm. His message is brief: "Hey Emily! Good meeting you at Orientation. Looking forward to seeing more of you! John."

    Emily hadn't spent too much time with John since they weren't in the same orientation group. During the few interactions they did have, though, he came off as a bit creepy. He kept popping up wherever Emily went and acting over-friendly. He's definitely not someone she is hoping to get to know better.

    Emily feels kind of odd confirming, but she doesn't want to seem snobby and unfriendly by refusing something as simple as a Facebook friend request. Should she and John become Facebook friends?

    Here are some useful resoources:

    A Framework for Ethical Decision Making

    Anatomy of a Facebook Stalker

    The "Only If We're Off-line Friends" Rule

     

    Photo by Ed Yourdon available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial License.

  •  Let Me See Your Grades

    Monday, Sep. 19, 2011

    Juliana was a good student in high school. She wasn't valedictorian, but she got mostly As and Bs. Her parents thought they had to sit on her to get her assignments done, but she thought they worried too much. After all, she did get into the college of her choice and was starting her freshman year at school.

    Juliana was looking forward to the independence of the college environment. There was only one hitch: her parents were insisting that she allow them to see her grades. Because she was 18, by law, she was an adult. But by her parents' law, she was either going to make her records accessible or they weren't going to pay for school.

    Was it right for them to invade her privacy like this?

    Here are some useful resources:

    A Framework for Ethical Decision Making 

    Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)

    Photo by quinn.anya available under Creative Commons License.

  •  Oh, the Cleaners Will Get That

    Monday, Sep. 12, 2011

    Best Student Comment Wins a $50 Amazon gift card. Responses must be received by midnight, September 12, 2011

    Mike is new to the Bike Club on campus and the first meeting just finished. As members start shuffling out of the room, Mike notices no one picks up the trash. Mike starts to gather plates, cups, and napkins and throw them away.

    The president of the Bike Club, Tom, says, “Oh, the cleaners will get that.” Do students have a responsibility to clean up after themselves? Or is it not that important since the University pays people to clean?

     

    Here are some resources you may find useful:

     A Framework for Ethical Decision Making 

    Staff Perspective on College Behavior 

    Civility at Rutgers

     

    Photo by r_melgaresavailable under Attribution- Non Commercial- No Derivs License.

  •  The Dealer in the Next Room

    Monday, Sep. 5, 2011

    Best student comment wins a $50 Amazon Gift Certificate. Responses must be received by midnight September 11, 2011

    Isaac moved off campus his sophomore year into an apartment with his friend Jason. Isaac and Jason met in their dorm during freshman year. Isaac always thought Jason seemed like a really cool guy until he discovered that Jason was into cocaine. Not only was Jason a user; he also distributed cocaine to others on campus. Isaac doesn’t want to rat Jason out because they’re friends, but Isaac doesn’t want to run the risk of being kicked out of his apartment, or worse, going to jail.

    Should Isaac confront Jason and tell him that he knows he has been using and selling cocaine? Should Isaac tell a school counselor? the police?

     Here are some resources you may find useful:

    A Framework for Ethical Decision Making 

    Signs of Drug Use

    College Drug Use 

     

    Photo by International Relations and Security Network available under Attribution- Non Commercial- No Derivs License.

  •  I Want to Remain a Virgin

    Monday, Aug. 29, 2011

      Best student comment wins a $50 Amazon Gift Certificate. Responses must be received by midnight September 4, 2011

    Katherine entered college with a very high standard for herself regarding sex. She is proud of her choice to remain a virgin until marriage. Now she has met the most amazing guy during the fall term of her freshman year. Max, her boyfriend, believes physical affection and even sex are important ways of showing how much two people care for each other. He has pressed Katherine to express their growing romance sexually, but so far she has said no.

    Should Katherine revise her beliefs about sex because someone she respects and wants to have a deep relationship with believes differently? His views are probably the mainstream views among their friends, she realizes.

    Should Max keep pressing her for sex? Is his bringing it up often a legitimate part of his wanting to express his love for her? Or do his frequent suggestions show a lack of respect for her beliefs?

     

    Some resources you may find useful:

    A Framework for Ethical Decision Making 

    More College Hookups, but More Virgins Too

    10 Truly Shocking Stats on STDs and College Students

     

    Photo by AWKWORDrap available under Attribution- Non Commercial- No Derivs License.

  •  Living Situations

    Monday, Aug. 22, 2011

     Best student comment wins a $50 Amazon Gift Certificate. Responses must be received by midnight August 29, 2011

     

    With his acceptance to his first-choice school, a medium-sized private university far from his hometown, Mo gets a package of information about his options for dorm living. He’s heard a lot about the various Residential Learning Communities on campus, each of which focuses on a different theme. As an African American, Mo is interested in exploring his racial and cultural identity, so he’s drawn to the African American–themed dorm, United. But then he wonders whether living in United will limit his interactions with students from other communities. He doesn’t want to be defined entirely by being African American, but he also doesn’t want to feel isolated in a dorm where there may be no other African American students.

    Should Mo choose the United dorm knowing it may allow him the best chance to explore his ethnic identity, or should he opt for another residence hall where the dorm’s theme may attract a wider variety of students?

    Some resources you may find useful:

    A Framework for Ethical Decision Making 

    The Impact of Diversity on College Students

    Why Does Diversity Matter in College Anyways?

     

    Photo by Derek Severson available under Attribution- Non Commercial- No Derivs License.

     

  •  Facebook Gossip or Cyberbullying?

    Monday, Aug. 15, 2011

    Best student comment wins a $50 Amazon Gift Certificate.  Responses must be received by midnight August 21, 2011.

    Paige, a college freshman, needed to put the finishing touches on a poli sci paper that was due at 11. After her 9 a.m. class, she returned to her room in the residence hall to check the footnotes, but when she unlocked the door, her roommate Cheyenne was in bed with the comforter pulled up above her head.

    Paige flicked on the light. It wasn't her problem that Cheyenne was such a party girl. She hadn't come home the night before, and that was hardly the first time. She decided to ignore Cheyenne and opened her laptop to begin her work. But when she started typing, Cheyenne growled at her to go somewhere else.

    Paige had told some friends to come by her room before class, and now she had to let them know she wouldn't be there. On her way out of the residence hall, she posted a new status to her Facebook: "Cheyenne (AKA the skank) is sleeping it off in the room. I'll be in the library."

    By the time she reopened her laptop, her friend Ivy had commented on her status: "That girl is going to be pregnant before midterms." And Leanne followed with lol.

    Paige was astonished when she got back from dinner that night to be approached by Tara, the Resident Fellow on her floor. Tara said she wanted to talk with Paige about cyberbullying Cheyenne.

    Do you think Paige was engaged in cyberbullying? If so, do you think the university should get involved in the issue?

     

    Some resources you may find useful:

    A Framework for Ethical Decision Making 

     Destructive Bullying 

    Facebook Crimes on Rise

     

    Photo by Herbstkind available under Attribution- Non Commercial- No Derivs License.

  •  Rush

    Monday, Aug. 8, 2011

    Best student comment wins a $50 Amazon Gift Certificate.  Responses must be received by midnight August 14, 2011.

    When Bobby first arrived on campus, he didn't know a single person. Making an effort to meet people, Bobby went to a fraternity party where the members tried to convince him to come out for rush the following week. They seemed pretty cool, and Bobby was excited to have met some new guys who seemed to like him already. Bobby has heard all the typical fraternity stereotypes: heavy partiers, skirt chasers, users, etc. He has also heard that fraternities can act as very exclusive clubs, and that brothers only interact with other members. However, Bobby also knows that stereotypes are often wrong.

    While Bobby has never been a huge partier, and he really doesn't want to be pigeonholed as a "frat boy," he really does want to find a good setting to get to know his classmates. Should he go out for rush and see what it's like or wait for another opportunity to meet people?

    Here are some resources you might find useful:

    Going Greek: The Pros and Cons

    Hazing Study

    A Framework for Ethical Decision Making

     

    Photo by Wolfram Burner available under Attribution- Non Commercial- No Derivs License.