This letter is written to answer with a strong “yes” those who ask if college students have ethics/values—especially to Carol, author of the letter “Wake up to ethics, students” (April 16). My defensive spirit awoke within me when I read your letter, Carol. I was hurt and angered, to say the least. So, I ask you this “ethical” question: Why punish the many for the actions of a the few?
The part where I was confused the most was when you said we need future leaders who believe in ethics and moral values, but then proceeded to say how you would not be making any donations this year to Cal Poly or Cuesta. This seems like a contradiction, no? That doesn’t sound like good ethics or good moral values. Furthermore, unless you’re not paying taxes, you are making donations to both of these partially state-funded schools. Also, I think you actually mean that you want leaders who have (not just believe in) moral values. Ethics is a subject, like math, and moral values are conclusions based on “facts,” so it’d be pretty hard not to believe in either of them. In fact, you probably want only those leaders who have your own moral beliefs, and think that we should “clean house” of those who disagree. Sounds like censorship ... hmmm. Finally, let me pose an example to you, Carol:
What if there were a hit-and-run in your town of Templeton (this is just a hypothetical; I mean no offense), and then one of your family members asked you if you did it? Then it was advertised on national news that Templeton is a city of reckless drivers, and then someone wrote into this newspaper asking if anyone in Templeton follows any laws, saying that they would not be doing any business with Templeton, and encouraging others to do likewise. They don’t even seem to believe that you possess basic ethical principles.
Enrollment at Cal Poly is approximately 20,000. If you look at the recent roof collapse incident, about 500 students were in attendance. That’s about 2.5 percent of the enrollment at Cal Poly, but that count includes many out-of-town students who were there. I can’t say for certain where the other 96 percent were, but I can assure you that I and about 200 other students weren’t there. That’s because Cal Poly’s Marching Band was on its way to San Francisco to perform for more than 1 million viewers live and internationally in the Chinese New Year’s Parade. It saddens me that the only way my university can be recognized nationally must be through bad publicity; my grandma in Pennsylvania called me the next day asking if I was “on the roof” (but said nothing about the parade).
If not already obvious, I am a student at Cal Poly. In fact, I am enrolled in an ethics class, having thoroughly enjoyed my first philosophy class taught by Dr. Stephen Ball. I believe in ethics and moral values, and more than that, I actually have them. Please, readers and Carol, do not punish me and my fellow classmates by not making donations to Cal Poly or Cuesta for the action of a few. According to a candidate for ASI president, Cal Poly is only 40 percent funded by the state, and the rest is through your generous donations. Please, do not give up on us. We are your future leaders, and we are your children.
-- JARED OLSON - BAKERSFIELD