“Let me give you a definition of ethics: It is good to maintain and further life, it is bad to damage and destroy life.” Albert Schweitzer
Last week, I asked you to help you with ChoralNetter Adam* and his dilemma. This week it’s Brick’s* turn.
Brick just graduated with a Master’s Degree in choral conducting from a large university. Unfortunately, the associate director of choral activities is the most unprofessional, unprepared, uncaring, and uncouth person he has ever had the displeasure of working with. She is verbally abusive to students, makes catty comments about her colleagues, and is extremely open about both her recreational drug use and sex life. Fortunately, because all of the above is clearly unacceptable, she is on her way out the door.
His problem is this; even though he’s happy to be rid of her, he worries about other people having to deal with her. Specifically, he worries about her getting future offers to guest conduct high schoolers. Last fall she directed a women’s honor choir in another state. When she got back, she told Brick and his fellow students she spent most of the week having very “open” conversations with the young ladies about sending nude pictures to boys and “female sexual empowerment.” As an educator it made Brick sick to his stomach. Brick wants to know if there a way he can make it less likely that she’s ever again put in a position to do something like that.
Ho-boy, this is a doozy! Believe it or not, this story isn’t as unusual as you would think. What makes it different is it is a college professor and not a high school director, and she more than likely has a new teaching gig at the college or university level. If this was a person leaving a high school or middle school job, people in power could easily be warned in her new district. And it would really be on those hiring her to fully vet her behavior and follow up on her last place of employment. With college and university positions, issues of morality, her quirkiness and her gossiping (the ONE THING I HATE MOST) are not seen as that much of a problem. My guess is she went too far with the gossiping and backstabbing. She was asked to leave Brick’s university; that fact alone should take care of his worries. But don’t count on it.
Brick can’t write to all the states in his area who might be interested in her as an Honor Choir director. He can’t even write to states who advertise her directing their honor choirs. But if he is ever in a position to hire an honor’s choir director or someone asks his opinion about her, he should give his honest opinion with as little emotion and as matter-of-fact as possible. My guess is one of those girls last fall blabbed to their parents about her behavior and who ever sponsored the honor choir (the state’s ACDA?) got complaints. That may take care of it. She clearly doesn’t see her behavior as a problem, but what she is NOT doing is female empowerment of any kind (I’m female, I would know) but behaving totally inappropriate and unprofessional.
Brick should remember his buzzwords about her should be “inappropriate and unprofessional behavior” and when pressed, he can talk about gossip and when REALLY pressed, talk about some of her more disgusting behavior. He doesn’t want to drag himself down because he is trying to protect others. She’s the type to drag as many as she can down with her, I know the type.
What other advice would you give Brick? Is there anything he can really do now? Who would you talk to about this?