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Prompt for the 23rd Annual Ethics Essay Contest

Sponsored by The Williams Institute for Ethics and Management (TWI)

in Partnership with the ASU Lincoln Center for Applied Ethics

The Williams Institute believes ethics is ultimately about people and relationships. This fall, we will be electing a new President and both presidential candidates will stand behind issues that they feel is most important for the future of America. With TWI’s view on ethics in mind, this year’s essay topic asks you to choose an ethical issue facing America and show how it affects people around us and what changes need to take place in order for these ethical issues to be resolved.

Your essay will be your suggestion to the President about an issue you feel our county needs to adddres ans why.

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

“Mr. President, may I suggest…”

Several times a year, the Gallup organization conducts a poll asking citizens what they believe is the most important issue facing this country today in an open-ended format. The table in this contest announcement provides some of the more recent responses. These general responses raise questions about the ethical considerations associated with these issues and how we can best address these issues. Your essay will be based on your own answer to the most important issue facing this country and the ethical considerations associated with your response, your explanation of the issue to our newly inaugurated President (including supporting ethical arguments), and your suggestion for addressing your chosen issue.

Each student must create an essay that answers ALL of the following questions:

  • Choose one issue you believe to be the most important facing our country today.
  • Describe the related ethical consideration you associate with your chosen issue (not necessarily from the table included in this contest announcement) and explain in sufficient detail why you find this ethical consideration critical and needs to be resolved.
  • Provide evidence of the importance of this issue to the future of our country.
  • Develop a coherent suggestion in a format appropriate for presentation to our newly-inaugurated President to resolve the issue you have chosen.
  • Support your suggested resolution from a moral/ethical perspective.
  • Discuss what action you, personally, can do now and in the future to contribute to resolving your chosen issue?

You may answer these questions in any order that allows your essay to flow smoothly, but, to be considered for the award, you MUST include answers to ALL of the underlined points above.

 

EXAMPLE (will be different on student prompt in fall)

April 2016 Gallup Poll Results for Some of the Most Important Issue Facing the Country

Citizen Rankings

Examples of Possible Related Ethical Considerations

Economy in general

17%

Access to a living wage

Role of government in economic growth

Dissatisfaction w/government

5%

Ethical responsibility of leaders

Level of government intervention

Unemployment/jobs

9%

Access to adequate employment

Poverty/hunger/homelessness

Immigration

8%

Support for citizens’ rights

Human rights issues

Race Relations/Racism

7%

Equal treatment under the law

Discrimination

Healthcare

5%

Healthcare as a right or a privilege?

Millions of citizens w/o health insurance

Ethical/moral decline

5%

Ethical decline perceived or real?

Exclusion of citizen groups not considered “mainstream”

Poverty/Hunger/Homeless-ness

4%

Society’s responsibility for its citizens

Impact on children

Elections/election reform

4%

Influence of money

Loss of trust in elected officials

Education

4%

Education as a right for all Americans

Disparity in the quality of schools in different neighborhoods

Gap between rich and poor

3%

Effects on older Americans

Widening gap between rich and poor


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