I just read where the ASC passed their code of ethics. Readers of this blog will know that I voiced concerns about the scope and language of the code, which attempts to regulate just about every aspect of your professional career. Readers will also know that I found it odd that the board didn't pass simultaneously any enforcement mechanism. Frank Cullen also voiced these concerns in a letter sent to people on his friends lists. Someone took the liberty of sending Frank's personal correspondence to the ASC board and president to which they replied to those on his friends list. So much for ethics, right?
Anyway, it is now an ethical offence to turn in a review late, to go to class unprepared, and to violate the tenants of social justice. Yes, just about anything can now be considered an ethical violation.
So what happens next?
Well, I hope the ASC buys more liability insurance and puts a lawyer on retainer because they will need it. The first time some bullshit ethical offence is registered and the board takes action they will be sued, individually and collectively. When you mess with someone's career, especially on the vague and flimsy grounds that academics use to justify their importance, you are going to get sued.
Personally, I will no longer belong to the ASC and I recommend that you rethink your membership too. Why anyone would voluntarily give others control over them is beyond me. Our behaviours are regulated by universities and by our employers. They have a legitimate right and obligation to oversee our conduct. The ASC does not.
In case you think I'm blowing this out of proportion, read the code for yourself. Read it critically and then ask yourself what could count as an ethical offence?
John Paul Wright and Matt DeLisi
Professors of Crime and Criminology