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Can’t Conflict with Love, Presidentially Speaking

Academics can be a mundane world, until a juicy scandal excites it.

The president of the University of Chicago has recently come under fire for romantic involvement with a member of the faculty. An entire ethical debate has subsequently risen over whether this presented potential for a conflict of interest.

The board has stated it sees absolutely no problems with the romantic involvement between the president and the professor. According to the Chicago Tribune

The university has taken steps to ensure that Zimmer will not be involved in decisions about her salary or promotions, spokesman Steve Kloehn said. If there are questions that typically would go to the president, they will instead go to Alper [the chairman of the university’s board of trustees].

Spanier’s wife, Sandra Spanier, is a Penn State employee. The question arises: Does President Spanier come into direct contact with questions related to his wife? Does it give her an unfair advantage compared to the rest of the faculty? Should the board let someone as qualified a professor as Sandra Spanier go, just so we it can avoid a potential conflict of interest? In all cases, the answer is: probably not.

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