Euthanasia, race among topics at ethics week

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Nyree-Dawn Nichols leads her portion of a panel discussion on eugenics and euthanasia.

Nyree-Dawn Nichols leads her portion of a panel discussion on eugenics and euthanasia.

Lauren Barney | Staff Writer
Photo credit: Collin Cooper | Photo Senior Staff | @coop.97


Eugenics and euthanasia, peer review, racial profiling and air pollution are just a few of the diverse topics brought forward at the recent Ethics Awareness Week. Although held annually at UVU for the past 29 years, the 2015 event offered a different view than in the past.

Designed to shed light on various ethical issues and promote understanding, Ethics Awareness Week used several different means of communicating the elements involved in making ethical decisions including panel discussions, keynote speakers, film screenings and workshops.

Held over 17 sessions and comprised of more than a handful of topics and speakers, the annual event held on Sept. 21-24 opened its doors to students, faculty and community members.

“Ethical questions are everywhere,” said Brian Birch, director of the Center for the Study of Ethics at UVU. “It doesn’t matter if students are discussing business, computer science, history or psychology, there are important ethical issues involved in every discipline and in every area of our lives.”

Participants in this year’s event also had the opportunity to hear from keynote speaker John Hooker, a professor of business ethics at Carnegie Mellon University, on the topic of intercultural business ethics. Additionally, Cherise Udell, founder and president of the Utah Moms for Clean Air addressed audiences about the moral implications of air pollution and was presented the Excellence in Ethics Award.

“This year we are working more closely with faculty to include Ethics Awareness Week events as part of their coursework,” said Birch. “We are also focusing this year on intercultural ethics. Our keynote address this year focused on business ethics across cultures. It was an exceptional discussion on how different cultures understand proper business practices and how this affects a global marketplace.”

With the growing amount of interest in the event and the discussions of current ethical topics, Birch estimated that the Ethical Awareness Week of 2015 was on track to be the best attended in the history of the event to date. There was a topic for everyone to choose from and the event facilitated an environment that sparked conversation and community action.

“Our goal is to help people think more carefully about their ethical beliefs and how they relate to other perspectives,” Birch said. “We will continue to host Ethics Awareness Week and include issues each year that are timely and relevant to the issues students are facing in the classroom and as citizens in our community.”