Society for Case Research MBAA 2023

Experience level: 
Intended Audience: 
Natasha Johnson, Tennessee State University Chéri Phillips, The State University of New York at Cortland Julio A. Rivas, Lipscomb University

Ethics In Action or Ethics Inaction? The Case of The Moving Goal Post

A prestigious chair position at one public university had never before been occupied by a person of color, but that was about to change. In an unprecedented move, the dean of this university’s journalism school decided to invite an alumnae, an African-American Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, to lead the school in this prestigious leadership role which had historically granted tenure to previous incumbents of the position. Honored to be recruited and convinced of the school’s expressed values and commitment to real change, the journalist agreed to accept the offer. During the negotiations, significant and material changes were made to the initial offer. The changes, influenced by the opposition of a financially-prominent donor with ties to the university’s Board of Trustees, caused the journalism school and the university unfavorable press resulting in public outrage, protests, and pressure that ultimately led to the university’s decision reversal.