Ethics at UC

I just received the Nth aggravating reminder to report to duty for ethics briefing, meaning to log on to some web page:

This briefing is designed to raise continued awareness of the University of California Statement of Ethical Values and Standards of Ethical Conduct, and to convey University employment obligations with respect to ethical and compliant behavior. The purpose is not to teach University policy or ethics but to familiarize UC employees with important ethics and compliance information, issues and resources.

How high (how many pixels high) must “continued awareness” go to qualify as having risen? Or how low has it fallen that risk abatement must take these stupid forms? How much does UC pay Navex Global for this service, whatever that company is? Who are its shareholders? Do they pay all their taxes? Are real UC labor issues, such as abysmally low salaries for staff and impossible work tempos, featured in the “course?” I guess I will never know.

2 thoughts on “Ethics at UC”

  1. “Ethics is part of what prohibits any idea, any coherent project of thought, settling instead for overlaying unthought and anonymous situations with mere humanitarian prattle (which does not itself contain any positive idea of humanity).” — Alain Badiou “An Essay on the Understanding of Evil”

  2. Thank you for the thoughtful quote. In this case, I think ethics is not only “mere humanitarian prattle” but part of a coverup. Presumably this is what Badiou means in saying that ethics is part of what prohibits … any coherent project of thought. I think the present “ethics” hides a “project of thought”. I mean by this that a value calculation was made by the UC Regents concerning social and legal risks when they decided after some scandals erupted among their higher ups that one needed risk abatement to be provided automatically. Part of the machinery. This project of thought actively displaces another system of valuation that left the door open to *my* doing some of the valuation, that is, allowed me to exercise some freedom and exercise what I take to be a paradigmatically human faculty. I would like to remain human and not become a machine, no matter the discomfort. So, this other, past valuation system or chrematistics would mean that some trust had been exercised in hiring me years ago, trust that I would discharge a number of obligations, assumption of self-respect, and other much more unnamable things (love and hope for instance), all products of a past ethos or valuation based also on material considerations—can’t be naïve about that— but not wholly quantified. Now, our educational institutions are moving to systematic definition and quantification of values by collapsing value and price (which in my view, as said above, is part of a “coherent project of thought”). They’ll issue certificates of completion of courses in ethics. Suis-je plus belle parce que mon maître me lave?

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