Thursday, June 28, 2007

Ethical Dilema

Situation: A male Indian international student became a familiar face at our international counter, appearing with new students as a sort of mentor/friend/guide for any issues or queries they may be having. This was initially a positive thing as his English was clear and he already had some understanding of the university policies and guidelines. One day he brought with him a female Indian student who he said was his cousin, and asked us to have a look at her award certificate for the bachelor she undertook in her home country. The female student had not achieved the equivalent grade for entry into her masters program in our Institution, and had already been aware of this prior, as it was stated as a condition in her offer letter. Needless to say the Indian male student, thought there would be a way we could just 'let' his female friend in with the grades she had. I explained to both students that this was the requirement for entry into her program, and its university regulations we have to abide by. I suggested options were to choose another program or apply for credit and undertake a similar bachelor degree. As this was not the answer either students hoped for, things became quite 'heated' and they asked to speak to my manager. Our Admissions manager then called the 2 students into her office and reiterated what I had already explained. The outcome was as I had already explained, and the male student realised that he can't solve 'all' issues for his friends.

Four ethical principles that relate to the above situation (as outlined in the Code of Ethics from Charles Darwin University):

Integrity: The male student had already earned our staff's trust as had previously been very helpful for newly arrived students, this turned into a negative when he became disappointed with the answer I had provided.

Respect: Our staff always respect the ideas and values of our international students, and the male Indian student was aware of this, however he became disrespectful when he did not receive the answer he wanted.

Accountability: I took professional responsibility for my actions when the male student was unhappy with my response by approaching my manager. In turn my manager achieved the result needed by reinstating what had already been addressed.

Service Focus: I demonstrated relevant service skills by first listening to what the students had to say, then providing answers and options to their query. When this failed to please the students, seeking guidance from a higher level of authority solved the problem.

What would you do in this situation?

Author: Kylie Wilson - PIER Online Diploma student

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