ERIC Number: ED179158
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1979-May-4
Reference Count: N/A
Reflections on the Ethical Problems of Accepting Gifts: An Open Letter to the Harvard CommunitV.
Bok, Derek C.
The ethical problems of receiving funds and the objections raised by concerned members of the university community are discussed by the president of Harvard University. It is proposed that donations be rejected that force the institution to deviate from its chosen standards of admission, or permit the donor to determine the selection of professors or other academic personnel, or compel the university to promote a particular set of values or beliefs. An institution may consider it in bad taste to become involved with an objectionable benefactor and will wish to refrain from celebrating the gift in a manner that implies support for the donor's behavior. It is doubtful that universities have an ethical obligation to reject such gifts. In and of itself, the act of accepting a donation does not imply an endorsement of the views or actions of the benefactor. In certain cases, a gift may be designed, not merely to benefit the university but to achieve some other aim that is ethically objectionable. Examples of situations where gifts might be accepted or refused and the ramifications of the issues are discussed. (SW)
Descriptors: Academic Freedom, College Administration, Conflict, Educational Finance, Endowment Funds, Financial Support, Higher Education, Institutional Autonomy, Moral Values, Political Influences, Presidents, Private Colleges, Private Financial Support, Public Relations, School Business Relationship, School Community Relationship, Self Determination, Social Attitudes, Standards
Harvard University, Massachusetts Hall, Cambridge, MA 02138
Publication Type: Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Harvard Univ., Cambridge. Office of the President.