Monday, October 24, 2005

A Different Kind of Bias in the Classroom?

Not being a professor myself, I sincerely wonder what other professors think about the ethics of students or their parents contributing time or money to a professor's political campaign.
Jennifer Lawless, the Brown University political science professor running against U.S. Rep. Jim Langevin for the 2nd Congressional District Democratic nomination, raised a few eyebrows when Brown's student newspaper, the Brown Daily Herald, reported last week that she had accepted about $5,500 in political contributions from two students and their families.

Lawless quickly decided to return the students' money -- which came to about $1,500 -- but has decided not to return the money from the students' parents. Adam Deitch, Lawless campaign manager, said he has decided there is no 'conflict of interest' in taking political contributions from students' parents, but that the students' money could create the perception of a conflict.

Deitch also said that Lawless is involved in ongoing discussions with Brown administrators concerning allowable student involvement in her campaign. (Source)
I don't ask to stir the pot, I'm just curious what the boundaries are on this one. Could it be compared to a business owner running for office and accepting donations from his employees?

1 comment:

Kate said...

I think any time that a professor would accept money from either a student or one of their close relative you have the appearance of impropriety and the assumption that sometime there will be a “quid pro quo”. In my opinion, it is beyond the pale but exactly what I would expect from most politicians these days.