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Transactional ethics

Questionable expenses by wealthy UCSD professors

UCSD dean Jeff Elman sought to raise cash for Nathan Fletcher post.
UCSD dean Jeff Elman sought to raise cash for Nathan Fletcher post.

In recent years, University of California auditors have unearthed a range of shortcomings, including questionable expenses by wealthy UCSD professors. “Travel and entertainment reimbursements were not always submitted in a timely manner, and some travel was not preauthorized,” recounted a March 23 report. “Management has decided to cancel the Department Chair’s Express Card, and will limit provision of Express Cards to approved selected personnel.”

In another case, social science dean Jeff Elman stepped down in 2014 after emails revealed he had talked about raising money from Qualcomm billionaire Irwin Jacobs to pay for the part-time professorship of Nathan Fletcher, a Jacobs-favored politico now running for county supervisor. “My guess is that there are people like Irwin Jacobs and others who have contributed to Fletcher [redacted] and they might be willing to provide these monies — or even more.”

Now the school has come up with a new Institute for Practical Ethics to light its way as the university’s tax-funded scientific breakthroughs increasingly allow manipulation of the human genome for handsome professorial profits. “UC San Diego is one of the world’s greatest producers of technology, medical innovations, and scientific knowledge,” says an October 2 announcement by the school.

“These developments can offer great benefits to humanity, but they often raise urgent ethical questions. The aim of the Institute for Practical Ethics is to help close the gap between the pace of innovation and our ability to deal with these questions responsibly.” According to the release, the freshly minted organization will have “a holistic vision, one that is focused on the theoretical and pragmatic aspects of ethical problems, founded on a partnership among social scientists, natural scientists and humanists, and attentive to both social and individual-level problems.”

Charged with keeping the new body from turning into the Institute of Transactional Ethics are philosophy professor Craig Callender and sociology professor John Evans, who “has particularly focused on ethical debates about human genetics, the relationship between religion and science, and the social structure of the field of bioethics.”

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UCSD dean Jeff Elman sought to raise cash for Nathan Fletcher post.
UCSD dean Jeff Elman sought to raise cash for Nathan Fletcher post.

In recent years, University of California auditors have unearthed a range of shortcomings, including questionable expenses by wealthy UCSD professors. “Travel and entertainment reimbursements were not always submitted in a timely manner, and some travel was not preauthorized,” recounted a March 23 report. “Management has decided to cancel the Department Chair’s Express Card, and will limit provision of Express Cards to approved selected personnel.”

In another case, social science dean Jeff Elman stepped down in 2014 after emails revealed he had talked about raising money from Qualcomm billionaire Irwin Jacobs to pay for the part-time professorship of Nathan Fletcher, a Jacobs-favored politico now running for county supervisor. “My guess is that there are people like Irwin Jacobs and others who have contributed to Fletcher [redacted] and they might be willing to provide these monies — or even more.”

Now the school has come up with a new Institute for Practical Ethics to light its way as the university’s tax-funded scientific breakthroughs increasingly allow manipulation of the human genome for handsome professorial profits. “UC San Diego is one of the world’s greatest producers of technology, medical innovations, and scientific knowledge,” says an October 2 announcement by the school.

“These developments can offer great benefits to humanity, but they often raise urgent ethical questions. The aim of the Institute for Practical Ethics is to help close the gap between the pace of innovation and our ability to deal with these questions responsibly.” According to the release, the freshly minted organization will have “a holistic vision, one that is focused on the theoretical and pragmatic aspects of ethical problems, founded on a partnership among social scientists, natural scientists and humanists, and attentive to both social and individual-level problems.”

Charged with keeping the new body from turning into the Institute of Transactional Ethics are philosophy professor Craig Callender and sociology professor John Evans, who “has particularly focused on ethical debates about human genetics, the relationship between religion and science, and the social structure of the field of bioethics.”

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Comments
1

Every word in this Reader story about UCSD's new "Institute for Practical Ethics" is loaded and tells us about the state of affairs at San Diego's top-tier academic research center, as well as many others just like it across the country. It will be a tall order to "close the gap between the pace of innovation" and the greed of scientists who have been profiting personally from their "university's tax-funded scientific breakthroughs." And no word whether the Institute's philosopher and sociologist chairmen will wield actual veto power over anything or if there will be an additional stipend for their deliberations.

Oct. 12, 2017

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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