LAST CALL: NU staff could use a lesson in ethics

Northwestern University's PR staff recently had to handle two

incidents that made headlines, even though under different circumstances

they might not have garnered a second thought.

The first involved possible student cheating. It's not usually a big

deal, but in this case the students were in a philosophy class that

discussed, among other weighty topics, ethics. The irony was too good

for Chicago's media to pass up.

The second incident involved a student upset with a faculty member. It's

hardly a rare occurrence, except this case involved a student refusing

to shake the hand of journalism school dean Ken Bode at graduation. It

seems the student felt Bode, former host of PBS' Washington Week in

Review, has been favoring broadcast over print students and faculty at

NU's Medill School of Journalism.

The student snub might have gone unnoticed if not for Bode's response -

the dean publicly chastised the student in his commencement speech. That

led to an AP story and local coverage as well. Perhaps philosophical

silence would have been best.

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