(Pix (c) Larry Catá Backer 2015)
The first decades of the 21st century has seen the rise of ethics as an important tool for university governance. These serve both as guiding principles for conduct and as rules, the violation of which may indicate more serious breach.
Indiana University, a respected member of the CIC (Committee on Institutional Cooperation) provides an example of the approach state and state assisted universities have come to embrace respecting the application of ethics to the conduct of university personnel. See Indiana University, Principles of Ethical Conduct (the "Ethics Principles"). Unlike other CIC universities, Indiana University sought and obtained the approval of the relevant university faculty governance institution before final approval by the Indiana University Board of Trustees. And that, perhaps, marks the ethical practices of Indiana University beyond the words of the Ethics Principles themselves, in the sense that they appear to practice what they preach.
This post considers briefly the contours of Indiana's Ethics Principles as an exemplar, and then attempts to apply it to sketch out the boundaries of ethical conduct that may constrain administrators when they seek to develop and defend decisions related to university benefits for employees. To that end a hypothetical is considered. The discussion may be useful to other CIC institutions considering ethics principles--Penn State University, Ohio State University, Rutgers, etc.