Teaching Ethics


published on March 26, 2022

Michael Burroughs

On Ethics Institute Activism

Social injustice and calls to activism take many forms, whether in environmental, medical, legal, political, or educational realms. In this article, I consider the role of activism in ethics institute initiatives. First, as a case study, I discuss an activist initiative for police reform led, in part, by the Kegley Institute of Ethics at California State University, Bakersfield. Specifically, I outline the formation of the Bakersfield Police Department—Community Collaborative (BPD-CC), created to review regional and national police policy and training recommendations and to solicit and formalize community-sourced recommendations for policing reform and building trust and greater partnership between the BPD and community. Second, I discuss outcomes and implications of this project and consider its significance for understanding activist roles available to the community engaged ethics institute more generally. In this discussion, I explore practical dimensions and ethical implications of activist approaches in the work of an ethics institute.