“Fairness to all” is an agreed-on concept in the abstract but much more fraught with ambiguity to apply in concrete instances. This section reaches some consensus on using the fairness doctrine to resist students who plead for special treatment, even in the uncomfortable decision to require that they document their medical misfortune, and certainly in the seemingly callous refusal to allow making up for past underperformance due to lack of effort. Ad hoc bargains with individual students simply are unfair to the rest of the class. In the same way, secondhand information as evidence in ethical decision making requires documentation and confirmation, again in fairness to all. Just as some people are manipulators, others are saboteurs. The collective needs to be protected from those who try to game the system, and verification is key here. What seems right in the abstract, however, is complicated in practice. In regard to grading, this section raises dilemmas of how to credit extraordinary improvement or effort. What about humane adjustments to a borderline grade, considering exceptional life circumstances? If an instructor does bend the rules, what does that teach the students, not only about academic ethical standards but also about ethics in their own later careers?
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