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The Greyhound

The Student News Site of Loyola University Maryland

The Greyhound

Ethics Week aims to make an ‘impact’ with events, speakers

This week, the departments of philosophy and law and social responsibility have teamed up to open an on-campus dialogue about ethics—where ethics are rooted, what ethics are and what makes something ethical.

This is the third year Michael Runnels, associate professor and interim chair of the law and social responsibility department, has been involved in the planning of Ethics Week, now in its fifth year. Runnels stressed the importance of looking at the events in the context of our lives, as well as within the theme of the week: ethics with impact.

Runnels said that looking at things from an ethical perspective is important because something may seem ethical in theory, but in action, the ethics of the idea aren’t necessarily fulfilled. “It’s one thing to be ethical and have good ideas, and it’s another thing to translate that ethical perspective in a way that has substantive impact for people and their everyday lives,” he said.

Taking a ground-up perspective, the events of ethics week look at the foundational basis of society and build upon it in the various facets of our nation, whether that be education, gentrification, capitalism or environmentalism.

Starting with an event tonight addressing educating in an urban setting, Runnels explained how it’s important to look at the “foundation of…civil society is how we treat and how we teach our children.”

Annie Bolan, Alpha Sigma Nu president and co-chair of UNITE (Urban Needs in Teacher Education), expressed how important it is for students to look at all things, not just specifically education, and “be aware of their ethical understandings and beliefs and challenge them if need be.” She said, “I think that it is important for discussions around ethics to happen because our ethical positions have a huge effect on who we are as people; they set the tone for the decisions we make, the relationships we have and our approach to life in general.”

Tuesday’s event is a discussion on how Loyola can be a more engaged citizen of Baltimore City—“in terms of the York Road corridor,” Runnels said.

After a viewing of There Will Be Blood on Wednesday, philosophy professor Dr. Graham McAleer will lead a discussion based on the conflict between capitalism and human rights. Runnels explained that it’s important to “realize where you come from and where your luxury comes from,” and he hopes this event will generate a conversation based on this notion.

The week’s events will culminate on Thursday with the keynote speaker, Sandra Steingraber, a noted environmental writer. Steingraber will address the controversy of fracking and the impacts it has on American communities.

Runnels said, “It is in everyone’s best interest to come to these events with an open mind, and to participate. If nothing else, it will at least be intellectually stimulating, which is one of the benefits of being a member of the academic academy.”

Detailed information about each of the events can be found at the Ethics Week website,

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Ethics Week aims to make an ‘impact’ with events, speakers