Fraternities and the Organizational Ethics of Higher Education

Don’t be distracted by the lurid, even bizarre, events narrated at the start of the article.  What it’s really about is the organizational distortion of priorities in higher education and the legal question of “Who Assumes the Risks of College Life?” It’s a fascinating tale of finance, insurance, and the use of “good” lawyering to protect organizations and blame individuals. A story of how the very organizations to which kids pledge loyalty turn on them at the first sign of trouble. Long story short: fraternity organizations self insure; members are “covered” only if they don’t break any of the rules; fraternity behavior consists of breaking the rules; that behavior frequently leads to tragedies and disasters. But then, what organization would want to put its fate in the hands of large groups of 20 year old men?

Author: Dan Ryan

I'm currently an Academic Program Director at I've been a professor at University of Toronto, University of Southern California, and Mills College teaching things like human centered design, computational thinking, modeling for policy sciences, and social theory. I'm driven by the desire to figure out how to teach twice as many twice as well twice as easily.

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