[Added later: I've been informed by a University of Minnesota Public Relations Manager that the figure used in the original post, $250,000 was only $50,ooo. This reminds me of an old joke.]
Those ethically challenged folks at the University of Minnesota are at it again… A couple of years ago we had a dean who served on the Pepsi board even though it seemed a little incongruous for a med school dean to be involved with a company that made products that rotted children’s teeth. But of course we were assured by the Vice President of the Academic Health Center that this conflict had been declared manageable. Then we had the spectacle of a different dean pointing out that after all what was happening with respect to conflict of interest policies was not illegal: “We’re not violating a legal statute.”
And then there have been a number of bimbo eruptions at the Carlson school. An older one involved a faculty member who said of a potential speaker “It’s one thing if you’re bringing in a criminal to speak. But if someone’s under investigation, that’s fair game.” To what should be no one’s surprise given such an environment a student group has recently demonstrated what seems to be, at least, unethical behavior. A Missouri start-up is accusing students in a University of Minnesota class of copying its idea for a business.
So now what? The University of Minnesota has just announced a sizable donation from an outfit called Adam and Eve, purveyors of among other things, porn and hard-core DVDs. The press release announcing this happy marriage contains a link to the Adam and Eve site where wares may be inspected (probably NSFW and must be 18 to log on).
When asked about hardcore porn – something that’s believed to distort a person’s view of sexuality, Eli Coleman, director of the university program on human sexuality replied:
“If this was a company that was into child pornography or something like that, that was illegal, I don’t think we could morally accept something from people who are involved in illegal activities. But this is a company that’s responsible and is law-abiding…”
It is a sad day at a university when the ethical standard is: “If it is not illegal, we can do it.”