Ethical dilemma: what would you do?

In an effort to engage young professionals, your club has arranged an exchange with an international club aimed at helping young adults experience a new culture, take part in service initiatives in another region and make new Rotary friends around the world. Since you work closely with your club’s sponsored Rotaract club on service projects, you have been charged with selecting Rotaractors to go on this exchange. Interested Rotaractors apply by submitting an essay explaining why they would benefit from going on the trip and what they hope to achieve.

Through these essays, you select well-qualified candidates for the trip. When you share your selections with the rest of your club, the club president suggests other candidates, many of whom are members of their family. These candidates are not a part of Rotary and have never been involved with any Rotary projects or initiatives, but the club president insists on their participation. You take this up with the rest of the exchange planning committee, and they agree on the president’s selection saying it would be a great way to introduce them to Rotary. You had put a lot of time and effort in selecting the most deserving Rotaractors to go on the trip and you believe it would be unfair if they missed out on this opportunity.

What would you do? Leave a comment below! 

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If you would like to submit an ethical dilemma for discussion, email us at rotary.service@rotary.org.

10 Replies to “Ethical dilemma: what would you do?”

  1. As this a club project, which must have been approved by the board, all would be aware of the requirements. Stay firm and make sure to point out again and again that the 4-way test applies to everything Rotary.

  2. I would suggest that as person charged with interviewing and selecting that my chosen rotaract people still go. But the president can ask his family member to commit to becoming a rotaractor. Then write the essay and be interviewed. Should they refuse it would be obvious they arent suitable. If they do the required work I would add them and suggest they help with the bbq ect for raising the extra funds needed to send them.

  3. I would stay firm and explain why I would not like the club violates ethical standards. Of course, I can recommend the President to ensure his nominations to become Rotaractor first so that they qualify for next round of Exchange, not this one! I would recommend that Four-Way Test applies to all circumstances and to all.

  4. I like the responses from Peter and Mohammed. There is almost no other option. I would have serious issues with a president who would suggest replacing the selected Rotaractors with family members.

  5. it would be rare to come across a president with this thinking, but as the chair of the committee I would present a well thought out and diplomatic dialog to the club board who would have the final decision and I would strongly recommend that the family members, join Rotaract, have a year’s worth of experiences and then be more fully prepared to participate the following year. Prior to the meeting I would certainly speak privately to the president about whether he really wants to pursue pushing family members into a situation that would lend itself to failure and embarrassment to them and the club. Sometimes one’s zeal to help family overtakes immediate common sense.

  6. If there are no restrictions on how many Rotaractors can go, then I would allow the family connected youth to go provided they PAY for their own expenses. Replacing the selected Rotaractors is NOT an option. Allowing family connected youth to go may help to interest them in joining the Rotaract club.

  7. If I was ever in such a dilemma, I would apply the Four Way Test. Since it was decided to give deserving Rotaractors an opportunity, I would insist with the President that such deserving Rotaractors as those who have been selected should be allowed to go on this exchange and the young family member should be requested to join Rotaract and try for this opportunity the next time around.

  8. It would be rather unfortunate that the rest of the committee would toe the line of the President considering all the effort we had put in. I would insist that since the criteria had been set and agreed to by the committee, that the Rotaractors earlier selected be the ones to go more o, as they would be the face of the Club and Country as a whole.
    Those suggested by the President can go along if their sponsorship could be arranged.
    If the President insist in replacing the Rotaractors for family members, who could not be convinced to become Rotaractors in the first place but want to enjoy the perks, then I would resign the position for another to lead.

  9. I would apply the 4 way test and ask the President and his/her followers to tick the block and if sending the family members get thumbs up with the 4 way test..then they qualify to go.

    No One has the authority to be above the test, not even the President and should these young people be keen to go, they have time to prove themselves and go on the next trip or be included now (if possible) at the expense of the President and their own family members.
    I assume that Presidents of our clubs abide by high ethical standards and integrity therefore this situation will never occur.

  10. I don’t believe that taking family members instead of the Rotaract members who have earned the right to go would be ethical or meet the 4 way test.
    If the president wanted his family members to be involved he should have had them join Rotaract even before this opportunity came up and have them earn the trip the same as anyone else.
    If the trip allows for more people then let them pay there own way.

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