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Markkula Center for Applied Ethics

Media Mentions


A selection of articles, op-eds, TV segments, and other media featuring Center staff.

    

Toledo Blade Logo
Reports About Majewski's Military Service Leave Many With Questions

"Running an ethical campaign demands that candidates tell the truth about themselves, about their record, about their background," Mr. Pelissero said in an interview about Mr. Majewski's military service.

"And if Majewski has misled the public, then he's lying," the professor said. "And truthfulness, the truth, is an important ethical virtue that should be present in political campaigns."

John Pelissero, senior scholar in government ethics, quoted by the Toledo Blade.

Reader's Digest Logo
What is the Electoral Count Act—and why did the House Vote to Reform it?

The Electoral Count Act is a complicated and antiquated piece of legislation, one which many say needs updating to reflect the modern realities of voting and elections. 

Though members of Congress aren’t universally in favor of electoral reform, the fact that both bills have gained bipartisan support at such a politically divisive time is a good indication that the current process needs to be fixed. “Overall, the proposed reforms would help to ensure that the ethical standard of fairness is protected in future counts of Electoral College votes,” says Pelissero.

John Pelissero, senior scholar in government ethics, quoted by Reader's Digest.

Rep. Mark Finchem, of Arizona, speaks during an election rally in Richmond, Va., on Oct. 13, 2021.  AP Photo, Steve Helber, File
Mark Finchem Failed to Follow Laws on Income and Business Disclosures, Records Show

Arizona Rep. Mark Finchem didn't disclose nearly $2000 a month in pension benefits, as well as a $6,037 payment to one of his businesses from former President Donald Trump's reelection campaign in 2020, all in violation of state laws requiring elected officials to report their sources of income and all business ties.

Disclosures are critical to building trust in the democratic process and are one of the few ways the public has for evaluating politicians, said John Pelissero, a senior scholar in government ethics at the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University.

"The public has a right to know where candidates are getting their money," he said. "When there is an absence of compliance, not only do you have a likely legal problem, but you have an ethical problem."

John Pelissero, senior scholar in government ethics, quoted by The Arizona Republic. 

Steve Helber/AP Photo

Three women smiling and laughing while facing away from the camera.
Getting Friendly With Patients? Be Wary of Risks

What are the ethical considerations for physicians who develop friendships with their patients? Both The American College of Physicians (ACP) and The American Medical Association (AMA) have broad ethical guidelines stating that physicians generally “should not treat themselves or members of their immediate families."

In smaller, isolated communities, however, physician-patient friendships sometimes develop out of necessity. Margaret R. McLean, PhD, a senior fellow at the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University, Santa Clara, California, says this is one of the exceptions to “rules” regarding these allegiances. “If you’re the only cardiovascular surgeon for hundreds of miles, then friendships fall into a different context,” she says. “The same holds true in an emergency. If your friend is potentially having a heart attack and you can do CPR, then of course you will do that.”

Margaret McLean, senior scholar, quoted by Medscape.

Arizona Democratic candidate for Governor Katie Hobbs speaks to the media before dropping off her primary election ballot Tuesday, July 21, 2022, in Scottsdale, Ariz. Ross D. Franklin via AP Photo
Facing Financial Struggles, Katie Hobbs got a Side gig. She Didn't Report the Income as Required

Pelissero said it’s clear the developer could benefit from Gillmor’s actions to push back against prevailing wages, but it’s not clear how the public benefits from her intervention.

“It wouldn’t be unusual for the public to ask questions about, was there some sort of a deal made here between the mayor and the developer?” Pelissero said. “What the mayor may be doing could be entirely above board with the best interest of the public at heart, but the public may look at this situation and say, this just doesn’t look right.”

John Pelissero, senior scholar in government ethics, quoted by The Arizona Republic.

Ross D. Franklin/AP Photo

A blue and gray Amazon Echodot.
Alexa can Speak in Your Dead Grandmother’s Voice, and That's Probably not a Good Thing

Popular Mechanics discusses the implications of speech-synthesizing technology like Amazon's Alexa.

“If this becomes accepted, I think this could have a chilling effect on human communications,” Raicu says. “If I’m worried that anything I’m going to say could be used in a weird avatar of myself, I’ll have to second-guess everything.”

Irina Raicu, director of the Internet Ethics Program, quoted by Popular Mechanics.

Did Developer buy Santa Clara Mayor Gillmor for $100,000?  Minor payment for $8 billion Project

Concerns are rising surrounding Santa Clara Mayor Lisa Gillmore and her perceived conflict of interest. 

“It wouldn’t be unusual for the public to ask questions about, was there some sort of a deal made here between the mayor and the developer?” Pelissero said. “What the mayor may be doing could be entirely above board with the best interest of the public at heart, but the public may look at this situation and say, this just doesn’t look right.”

John Pelissero, senior scholar in government ethics, quoted by the California Political Review

Sihlouettes of a man and woman backdropped by hearts and computer network symbols.
How Dating in Virtual Reality Could Lead to Love in the Real World

Dating.com starts a virtual reality dating service and Lifewire explores the pros and cons of dating in the metaverse compared with general online dating.

"Because you are either chatting through text or voice in real-time in virtual reality, you can get to know someone much more rapidly than trading messages through a dating app," Don Heider, the executive director of the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics, who researches online communities, told Lifewire in an email interview. "If there is a connection, people can get much more information about a person, such as their background, likes, dislikes, and such, than one can through a series of messages through apps."

 

Don Heider, executive director, quoted by Lifewire.

 

 

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem speaks during the Family Leadership Summit in July 16, 2021, in Des Moines, Iowa. AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall, File
Ethics Board Keeps 'Action' Secret on Complaint Against Noem

John Pelissero, a scholar at the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University, said it was best practice for ethics boards “to be as transparent as possible” once they take action.

Across states and local governments, ethics boards follow a variety of procedures, he said, but added: “Most announce the final actions to the public.”

John Pelissero, senior scholar in government ethics quoted by The Associated Press. The story was republished in The Washington Post, Times Union, KTSP ABC 5, and more.

Charlie Neibergall/AP Photo, File

California Governor Gavin Newsom discusses his budget proposal, dubbed the California Blueprint, on Thursday, Jan. 13, 2022, in Santa Clara, Calif. Santa Clara Mayor, Lisa Gilmor, on far right. AP Photo-Noah Berger
Santa Clara Mayor Asks Newsom to Give Campaign Donor a Break

Gillmor’s intervention in the wage matter, along with the financial support from the company, raises ethical questions.

“The perception of this looks bad for Mayor Gillmor,” John Pelissero, a senior scholar at The Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University, told San José Spotlight. “It’s never a good idea for public officials to accept campaign contributions at a time in which they are also trying to help the provider of those campaign funds with some sort of special consideration from government.”

“It wouldn’t be unusual for the public to ask questions about, was there some sort of a deal made here between the mayor and the developer?” Pelissero said. “What the mayor may be doing could be entirely above board with the best interest of the public at heart, but the public may look at this situation and say, this just doesn’t look right.”

 

John Pelissero, senior scholar in government ethics, quoted by San Jose Spotlight.

 

 

Noah Berger/AP Photo