In Uncategorized on November 3, 2010 at 12:00 pm

If Fletcher students wish to help the world, we will need personal integrity at least as much as intelligence. We need not just perspective on the failings of past leaders, but the strength to avoid repeating those failings.

And yet Fletcher students are not directly trained in integrity, nor does our time here offer many of the kinds of temptations that corrupt people in the real world: scarcity, deprivation, abuse by others, great personal power. I believe that Fletcher students are honest, thoughtful, and caring; but lamentably, when those temptations do emerge—even on the tiniest scale—we begin to wobble. We cut in line at Social Night to get in before the dumplings run out. We rail, in terms that seem to contain the seeds of bigotry, against undergraduates who are not welcome in “our” space because they are “not like us,” too underdeveloped to have any chance of understanding our notions of politeness.

Here’s a half-serious idea: How about a Fletcher Fortitude Club? The club would teach itself firsthand about maintaining integrity in difficult situations. One week, members would be prohibited to take calculators to their math exams, and would have to live with the results without complaint. Another week, they’d be tasked with saying something honest, helpful, and impolite to a professor or important potential career contact. It’d be like Fight Club for aspiring international leaders. Any takers?


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