This semester, Lisa Sternlieb, Associate Professor of English at Penn State’s University Park Campus, is offering a 1-credit course entitled Ethical Dilemmas on Film. The films will be screened Monday nights at 7:00pm at the State Theatre, with discussion to follow immediately afterwards. We at the Rock have teamed up with Prof. Sternlieb to continue the discussion of these films, and of the ethical questions they encourage us to pose and think through, online, here on our Speak Up blog
Each week, we will be posting questions specifically about the films in preparation for their screening, and then we will post summaries of the discussion that follows. Whether you can make it to that week’s screening and live discussion or not, we hope you will keep up with and contribute to our online discussion of pressing ethical questions here. Your short comments can be posted directly to the blog, where they will be mediated in order to facilitate a thoughtful and civil discussion. If you would like to have us consider publishing, citing, or cross-posting something longer that you write (film, or otherwise produce) that is relevant to our discussion, please forward it to, with the subject line ‘State Theatre Films’. 
I provide the following course description from Prof. Sterrnlied as a way of orienting readers to the general framework of questions that will be addressed. A subsequent post will provide a set of questions particular to this evening’s film, The Girl in the Caf�.

In the wake of the Sandusky scandal and the Freeh report our university has many ethical questions to ask: 

      • Is loyalty ever more important than honesty? 
      • Is it impossible for an enormous institution to remain ethical? 
      • When is it more ethical to speak out? When is it more ethical to remain silent? 
      • Is it better to betray one’s friend or one’s principles? 

As the November election approaches we are also asking: 

      • Is it impossible for a politician to behave ethically? 
      • When can we deem a politician an ideologue? When can we consider him a fanatic? 
      • When is compromise unethical? 
      • In politics do the ends justify the means? 

And we should always ask: 

      • What does it mean to live an ethical life? 
      • How should I behave as a parent, employee, spouse, partner, citizen? 
In English 197A, Ethical Dilemmas on Film, we will discuss all of these questions as we view a number of classic and independent films including The Crying GameCitizen KaneThe Best ManThe Third ManThe Lives of Others13 Conversations About One ThingTwo for the RoadThe Nun’s StoryThe Girl in the Caf�Europa EuropaThe Manchurian Candidate, & Sunset Blvd. We will screen the films Monday nights at 7:00 at the State Theatre. This is a 1-credit course. Honors students are strongly urged to honors option it.

I look forward to hearing from the Penn State community in response to these questions throughout the semester.

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