Background: Grayertown, USA has a population of 10,000 residents.

The population is not very racially diverse with only less 15% of the population consisting of minorities. Although race relations have historically been positive, there have been a few recent incidents in which some residents have been accused of racism and/or discrimination.

One such incident involved the Grayertown Women’s Club. The mission of the Grayertown Women’s Club is to promote professionalism among all women in a nondiscriminatory manner. The club is very prominent in town, and it is known to be a great place for women to network and learn leadership skills. Under the current bylaws, only three new members are accepted each year. Currently, there are no minority members involved in the club, and it has been a few years since a woman of color was offered membership to the club.

During the most recent membership intake process, Carola Johnson, a local black attorney and PTA president, applied for membership in the club. For reasons unbeknownst to her, her application was denied. Carola believes that she was denied on the basis of race, and she has initiated a considerable media campaign against the club. Because Carola is well known and respected in the town, she has garnered a lot of support from the community in town.

Situation: Imagine that you are the principal of a local public high school that is struggling financially, and a member of the Grayertown Women’s Club. As the principal, you have known Carola for years in her capacity as PTA president, and you personally voted for her to become a member of the club. You also know that there were a number of qualified candidates this year, and the membership intake process was the toughest one that you have ever seen. You do not believe that Carola’s application was denied on the basis of race, as the club employs a blind review process in which members vote on the bases of qualifications, references, and resumes without knowing the names or identities of applicants. You also know that out of twenty five applicants, Carola received the fourth highest amount of votes. You would like to share that information with her, but the current bylaws prohibit you from discussing the membership intake process.

Further complicating the situation, on your desk sits an application submitted by the Grayertown Women’s Club to hold an event at the auditorium of the high school. Local city ordinances permit private organizations to rent public buildings for events, but as principal, you have discretion to deny any application.

Because of Carola’s current media campaign against the Grayertown Women’s Club, you are concerned about how parents of the students might react if you do not deny the application. In fact, a number of African-American parents have already contacted you asking you to resign as a member of the club. Although you are well liked as a principal, you are concerned that this current “scandal” may interfere with your reputation and standing among the parents and students.
On the other hand, you are concerned about the financial implications of denying the application. You know that the $1,000 rental fee would be very beneficial to the school.

a). Identify all of the ethical dilemmas that you recognize in this case study. What values and responsibilities are at stake and are competing with each other? (2 pts)

b). Pretend now that as the principal, you are not a member of the Grayertown Women’s Club, and you do not know any details about the club’s membership intake process. Rather, the only thing that you know is that the PTA president is accusing the club of racism, and the club’s rental application has created outrage among minority parents and students. Using Cooper’s Prescribed Ethical Decision-Making Model (or the modified version that we discussed in class), consider your decision to accept or deny the club’s application. Please identify and explain each step of the decision-making process and remember to be “ethically imaginative.” What would you decide and why? (2 pts)

c). Which ethical historical tradition supports your decision? Why? (1 pt)


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