On Sunday, September 2nd, the Honors Program had our first cultural event of the semester, a trip to see an off-Broadway production of Informed Consent, a play written by Deborah Zoe Laufer based on a true story, which deals with the ethical issues and dilemmas faced by researchers while pursuing their work and ambition, and the interaction between science and religion. The Havasupai Native American tribe, living in a remote part of the Grand Canyon, sued Arizona State University because a researcher who had obtained blood samples from the tribe in order to do a diabetes study and find a genetic link to it, proceeded with some unauthorized studies on inbreeding, migration patterns and other studies that the tribe considered to be detrimental to their beliefs about their origin. Many interesting issues were raised by this play, beyond the confrontation between some scientific findings and the tribe’s beliefs: the passion for knowledge and its limits, the right to know and not to know, the rules to engage in scientific research with human subjects, etc. The play sparked a lively discussion among our students, both immediately after the show and then later on our Facebook page.

 

Then, on Wednesday, September 9th, the Honors Program co-sponsored our annual Constitution Day event with the Pre-Law Society, the Office of Pre-Law Advisement, and the Honors Entrepreneurial Leadership Program. The event, titled “How Reporters Protect Informants and Information,” featured a conversation with reporter Ed Hammond of The Financial Times and Bloomberg LP. He narrated histories of several cases on which he had to report and walk narrow lines between informing fairly and avoiding lawsuits against himself and his employers. A very interesting, lively and spirited question and answer period followed.

 

 

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