No Time for Silence

I am not teaching Ethics this term. Nor did I teach it this past spring. The last student posts were in November 2016.

But this is no time for silence.

So I ask. How can our presidents not condemn, or uphold to his condemnation, of hate groups who have stepped into the hole of hatred that he, our president, has help to tear open in America?

George Washington once said, “I cannot conceive any more honorable, than that which flows from the uncorrupted choice of a brave and free people.” Those people, who Washington could have been speaking of today, where the people who peacefully stepped forward to stand against hatred and bigotry in Charlottesville Virginia on August 12, 2017.

Yet, our president is unable to speak the truth of what happened in Charlottesville, he is unable to uphold the dignity of the presidency. More than 150 years ago, Abraham Lincoln, a president who stood firmly and bravely against injustice, said, “Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” Our current president has no moral character.

I grieve for my black and brown friends, my Jewish friends, my gay friends, my Muslim friends. I grieve for my country.



Dear President-Elect Trump

My students want to speak to you. And so I offered them a chance. Some are Media Ethics students. Others are studying Brand Planning. All have analyzed how the election unfolded. All come to you with the will to trust. Some arrive in great pain.

So here are 16 letters. Please be their president too.

President-Elect Trump,

Thank you.

Thank you for teaching me to be strong, for helping me realize it is important to stand in solidarity with a cause and for the people you made feel marginalized and silenced, for inspiring me to love rather than to hate, and for giving me more fuel to burn my path as a proud woman.


Now through the response we are seeing nationwide post your winning this presidential race, I hope going forward that you can learn from us.
Make America great again, show me that you respect and want to protect our people; all of them, and our freedoms that are provided via the Constitution.

You can only show me through what you do, because you have taught me not to believe what you say. I am of the opposition— earn my respect.

Amber Russell


Dear President-Elect,

I can’t name one reason why I should accept you as the 45th president of the U.S. You have offended myself, loved ones and any/every minority living in and outside the United States of America. However, I have to hope that you succeed in your position of power because if you fail we all go down together.

As president, I hope you change your attitude towards Hispanics living in America. They are not all illegal. They are not all smuggling drugs across our boarders. They are people. Please give them the same respect you give white males. As president, I hope you change your attitude towards women. We are not only good for sex. We are not less intelligent than men. We are people. Please give us the same respect you give white males. As president, I hope you change your attitude towards African Americans. They are not all criminals. They are not all uneducated. They are people. Please give them the same respect you give white males. As president, I hope you change your attitude towards the LGBTQ community. They are not just confused and cannot be changed. The love they may have for their partner is no less than a heterosexual person has for their partner. They are people.  Please give them the same respect you give white males.

I ask that you stop focusing on deportation and a wall, and start focusing on real issues we have in our country such as education, the environment, the gap in our social class and equality. If you can do this, then I believe our country can come together. If our country can come together we achieve greatness as one nation.

Peace & Love,

A Worried Citizen


Dear President-Elect Trump,

As the next President of the United States I expect you to…

  • Right the wrongs you made during the election season.
  • Address the American citizens to ease their worried minds. You are now the face of our country and that is a face of several different individuals such as Muslims, women and several others, respect that.
  • Drop your VP and choose another individual that actually has a soul.
  • Learn, care, practice empathy.
  • Stop inappropriately talking about and touching your daughter and all other women.
  • Do the opposite of what you did during the election season.
  • Not to reverse the strides that President Obama and VP Biden have done for our country, such as Obamacare and sexual assault prevention on college campuses.
    • Actually, talk to VP Biden and ask him to inform you on sexual assault, you could learn a few things.
  • Be a decent human being.
  • Don’t take our country back 50 years, take us forward.
  • Pay your taxes.
  • We know you have no idea what you are doing so take advice from political leaders who do, from all sides and parties.
  • Don’t take our country into war.
  • Do not completely shut out refugees. We need to help them because they are not as lucky as we are. Educate yourself about their struggles. Empathize and help them.
    • Never compare them to Skittles again.
  • Delete your Twitter account.
  • Don’t you dare think to run for re-election. You’re lucky you even get 4 years.

You have committed too many wrong doings. I, as well as several other Americans will never support you or forgive you for bringing out the worst in this country. We will count down the days your term is over and we will work to change the uneasiness you have put upon so many Americans. Do better. Be better.


JC Diaz


Dear President-Elect Donald Trump,

We need a leader who can represent the best of our country. One who recognizes our country’s weaknesses and strives to make it whole. One who’s focus is centered on making good for people in our country, and especially around the world. Speak with your heart and with truth.

I expect you to be a true example of what it means to be American. Our nation’s kids are watching and being influenced by you now. Speak consciously and with wisdom.

Do good for our country and the world that we are in communion with. Millions of people are now reliant on you to represent them. Prove to us that you can lead.

From a concerned citizen,

Ben Dombrowski


Dear President- Elect Donald Trump,

Congratulations on your recent victory in the 2016 election. Unfortunately, majority of Americans are not viewing this as a victory, more as a fear of life. I have already seen changes in your messaging since you have been elected on your twitter account and different articles on the web. It made me very happy to see that you are for gay rights and were holding a LGBT Flag. I also saw your tweet that said, “Love the fact that the small groups of protestors last night have passion for our great country. We will all come together and be proud!” I hope that you truly stick to your word on coming together as one and uniting.  It is more important than ever now to gain the trust of those who fear you and prove to them you can truly make America great again in a positive way.

Best of luck to you and I looked forward to seeing what you accomplish in office.


Justine Moran


Dear President-Elect Trump,

As you prepare to take on the presidency and become the face of our nation, I ask you begin with an open mind and a heart of acceptance. Our country is in a great divide right now, and with many living in fear, I ask you do your part to promote respectful dialogue among people. As a woman, I ask you treat women with the utmost respect and speak of them as human beings, not objects. I ask you are inclusive to ALL religions. I ask you recognize and give a voice to the marginalized. I ask you speak with rhetoric of hope, optimism, acceptance, and inclusiveness, so that as a country we can come together. Most of all, I ask you be a president for ALL Americans—no matter class, religion, social status, physical ability, appearance, gender, culture, and background.

Kyra Strutzel


Dear President-Elect Donald Trump,

I expect a lot from you.  You are the next President of the United States of America, and I hope that truly means as much to you as it does to so many American citizens.  I expect you to NOT be a racist and sexist bigot, as you have been at times in the recent past.  I also expect you to put together a plan to fix the corrupt government we have at this moment.  Lastly, I expect you to prove me and so many other American citizens wrong.  Be a good President, and help fix this country many of us so dearly love.  God bless.


The American people


Dear President-Elect Trump,

As you know, you are now the captain of this flight. As a passenger aboard, it is silly for me to doubt my captain and not have faith that he will land this plane safely. But before you land this plane, we must all take off in unity in order to get to the same destination.

As you embark on this journey, I hope that you remember actions speak louder than words. We have heard you speak, now please, take action and mend this broken nation. As you represent the American people, it is imperative that you demonstrate how two individuals can have completely different views, but still be kind to one another. It is the freedom to have these individual views that allows for this country to be so desirable.

Lead by showing respect to the American citizens. Lead by showing respect to ALL American citizens, and please, land this plane safely.

An American Citizen,

Jenna M. Doherty


Dear President Elect Trump,

I think it is safe to say that you are someone who is blunt and speaks his or her mind. I think this is respectable to an extent. I do think at times that your messages sometimes go overboard. I understand and like your mission of change, however, change doesn’t have to come at the expense of unification. Now that you have won, I think you are in position to change how many people feel about our country. People are afraid of this change that you preach and I think that you can agree that you would never want your people to be in fear of anything. Going forward I would like to expect that you comfort those you are fearful, that you reassure them that you are THEIR president. I think that your final ads spoke of great unification with minorities and working class people and I would love to see this be reflected in your presidency.

Robbie Pisano


Dear President-Elect Trump,

Congratulations. Not quite sure how this happened, but you managed to win the election. On Tuesday, I thought to myself, “Hillary won the popular, there is no way Trump will win.” I know my vote is only one, but there are thousands of people who thought the same thing then and are kicking themselves because of the shocking outcome Tuesday night.

My dad told me the last thing we want is to tell people “I told you so.” Wanting Trump to fail is like wanting the pilot to crash the plan you are on.

You have a lot of damage control to do with the things you have said and done. It will not be easy by any means, but all I can offer you is an open mind because that is the only option I have left.

Good luck,

Amanda Hermsen


Dear President-Elect Trump,

A poem for my president who is for women…

He endorses respect, thoughtfulness, and chivalry.

He showers compliments because she’s beautiful… even as she’s weeping.

She may scream, she may cry, she may withhold you from your sleep.

At times her emotion seems toxic.

But she’s the keys, that maintain our strength.

These women pick our future by bearing children by the bunch.

Don’t bring up “big.”  Don’t name call “pig.”

You’ve blasted, and talked enough.

My president speaks kindness.

He breaks down stigmas.

He thinks before acting on his gut.

And at the end of the day, and all in all, women with dreams?

Greater. Than. Their bust.

My president is for women, current-elect Donald Trump.

Drew Albrecht


Dear President-elect Donald J. Trump,

You have a chance to truly make America great again. A divided nation stands before you looking for answers. A leader is needed to help all American citizens feel safe in a country full of hate and greed. I do believe you want the same and I remain optimistic for this country.

Like it or not, social issues have become more important than the economy or foreign relations. More specifically, the country is afraid. The uncertainty of your policy choices on immigration, race, sexual preference or orientation and gender are what divides this nation. Your presidency will require you to make decisions on these issue. It will not go away.

The word “American” does not have race, religion, ethnicity or whatever attached to it. An American is all who proudly lives in the land of the free and the home of the brave. I hope you can see the America the people truly want. I pray for you and this country. God Bless and make America United again.

Matt Angel


Dear President-Elect Trump,

I have one request: I hope that you listen to your opponents’ supporters. You represent them, too, and I don’t want you to forget that. There are lots of us and we will not be silenced. We will fight to uphold the progress we have made and possibly lost through this election.

To be honest, I do not like you. I don’t believe you respect people, particularly the marginalized. I don’t believe your policies will benefit our country. And I don’t believe you were the right choice for president. But I sincerely hope that you prove me wrong and do right by every citizen of this country.

Best of luck,

Claire Meyers


Dear President-Elect Trump,

As the President for these next four years, some of the most significant years of my life, I fully expect you to make America even better.

As the next President, I hope you run this country and its people with more respect than you did during your campaign. As a young American woman, I hope that you can prove me wrong. I hope that you can prove that you are better than the things that you were quoted saying and the actions that you were accused of, particularly in regards to women.

As the next President, I expect you to fight for and be a champion for all Americans. This includes, but is not limited to, respecting and fighting for the LGBTQ+ community, minorities, and women.

Thank you.

Molly Gaughan


Dear President-Elect Trump,

Congratulations on winning the presidential election. I wanted to let you know there were some things that you talking about in the process of campaigning that I wouldn’t agree on, but now that you are president I think you should try and listen to the people that voted for, as well as the people who didn’t, to make America a better place.

I think you should apologize to people that are not American, as well as those of us who are Americans, for the racist comments you made because some of the things you said were very offensive to us. As the president, I think it is important that you remember you represent everyone in the country. I am disappointed that the things you have said have made racism normal in our country. This is not acceptable.

Jajuan Johnson


Dear President-Elect Trump,

I’m not quite old enough to remember, but something tells me this isn’t the traditional reaction to an election. Shouldn’t we be celebrating as a nation as we elect new leadership, hopeful for change? Instead, grief rings louder than any celebration I’ve seen.

I hope the responsibility of this changes you. I hope that the thousands of children who are scared to go to school because of your rhetoric write you letters that break your heart as you read them. I also hope you step forward sooner rather than later and denounce the hate speech and crimes that you’ve incited from coast to coast. You’ve lit fires of hatred across the nation – the first test of your leadership.

Good luck.

Olivia Bohringer

When Is Enough, Enough?

Guest Post: Paige McDonald, Aspiring Strategic Communications Professional

Like a large majority of other women, I could go on forever about how much it disgusts me that Donald Trump not only SPOKE of sexually assaulting another human being, but BRAGGED about it. Truly, the sound of his voice on that tape haunts me to a degree that makes my skin crawl and my stomach flip. Unfortunately, there are a number of women in my life whom I hold very close to my heart, who have been victims of the kinds of sexual assault that a potential future leader of our country boasted about. These women are strong, intelligent, courageous, and beautiful, and they were left to feel weak, ashamed, and powerless. As I sat and watched the tape that the Washington Post released of Donald Trump on October 7th, I thought of these women. I thought of how undeserved their pain and their strife on their road to recovery was. A road that they never wanted to or planned on taking. A road that seemed to have an endless number of “no outlet” signs. Then, I thought of the countless number of other women who have been forced to go through the same exact thing, often times simply because they are a woman. This is when I truly reached my breaking point. Time and time again throughout my mere 21 years of life, I have watched women of all kinds be made to feel as if their sole sense of worth can and should be found in the way that they look and the body that they possess.

I have a mother who divorced my unemployed, alcoholic father and raised my sister and I in a two-bedroom apartment on a retail salary. She gave us a roof over our heads when we very well could have been left without one. She endured undeserved anger from both of her daughters who did not understand why their family had been torn apart. She taught me the value of hard work and what it means to be part of a family.

How could anyone look at her and say that her value as a person is in the curve of her waist?

I have an aunt who radiates unconditional love and has never put herself first. I watched her as she took care of her father when he became too tired and frail to do it himself. I watched her sneak groceries into my family’s kitchen when money was extra tight, but never search for any recognition. I watched her show love and support to any and every person who is lucky enough to know her without ever demanding anything in return.

How could anyone look at her and say that her value as a person is in her dress size?

I have a sister who is braver, stronger, and more vigilant than anyone else that I know. She taught me the importance of standing up for myself, but also how much more important it is to stand up for the people that we love. She made feel courageous in the face of conflict when nobody else could, and there are few feelings as important as feeling worth standing up for.

How could anyone look at her and say that her value as a person is in her long legs?

To me, Donald Trump is the face of these problems. He is the face that I associate with women all over the world not feeling good enough because they aren’t what the media tells them is worthwhile. He is the face that I associate with women being afraid to “drink too much at a party” for fear of being taken advantage of. He is the face that I associate with not feeling safe to walk alone at night on the streets of any city simply because I am a woman.

While the relentless media coverage of candidates throughout the election process becomes draining, to me, this is what it is here for. If this is not its saving grace in the process than what is? If as citizens we are forced to look at a face every day, are we not entitled to know exactly what it is the face of?

Ashley Madison VS Donald Trump: Want VS Need to Know

Guest Post: Allison Dikanovic, journalism student

I sipped coffee on Sunday morning, scrolling through headlines instead of working on my media ethics presentation. Suddenly, I felt the coffee churning violently in my stomach as I watched a video of a major presidential candidate flaunt his ability to sexually assault women without repercussion.

Though not surprised, I felt a breed of contempt for Donald Trump that I had yet to experience in such a personal way.


Source: The Washington Post 10.10.16

Despite my anger and hurt, I couldn’t help but think that I am happy the whole country is watching this. I am happy that we can hear and watch those words come from his mouth and deal with how horrible that feels. If all of Trump’s hateful comments over this past year have failed to put up red flags in voters’ heads, then this finally might. This is something people need to hear.

That was when the concept of “need to know” vs. “want to know” made sense to me. I thought of the journalists’ decision to publish that video.

This information was necessary for public knowledge beyond personal curiosity or desire to gossip. The journalists were obligated to publish it because it is reflective of Trump’s character. Knowledge of character is necessary when the person may quite possibly be elected to the most highly esteemed office in our country.

In November, we will not only be electing an individual. We will elect the systems and structures that each stands for and hopes to perpetuate or change. Voters need to know if one of the primary candidates explicitly and boldly supports an oppressive, patriarchal rape culture that devalues half of the country’s population.

The response I had to the video also provided insight into how I viewed our case study, the Ashley Madison data breach. Utilizing Rawls’s veil of ignorance, I can see reasons why I would have hesitated to release the names of registered Ashley Madison members if I was a journalist assigned to cover the hack. I understood that in most cases, it was a “want to know” matter.

However, for Trump, it is incredibly difficult and could even be considered unethical to employ the veil of ignorance. The behavior of Ashley Madison members affected select individuals, whereas Trump’s behavior could affect every single person I saw when I looked around that coffee shop on Sunday morning and every person I’ve seen since.


Facebook: Tech Giant or World’s Largest Aggregator?

Guest Post: Ellery Fry, Media Critic

Aligning loyalties should reflect someone’s ethical values.  However, there is a heightened standard for the media and news outlets. This heightened need of loyalties comes to a conflict when looking at Facebook. Facebook considers themselves a tech company but to most users and other critics, they can be argued as the world’s largest media aggregator.  Given this responsibility, Facebook runs into conflicting loyalties on what they should do about censorship. Facebook recently censored the Terror of War Napalm Girl photo from a users post. A Norwegian author who wanted to share the Pulitizer-prize winning photo, by Nick Ut, on the media site was the user who uploaded the image.


Photo Credit:”The Terror of War by Nick Ut

Facebook however, did not see the photo as artistic, historical or meaningful. Based on Facebook’s initial censorship process and loyalty to provide users with an appropriate feed, the tech company removed the post. Facebook initially saw their loyalty to providing an appropriate feed as more important than conveying the historical and artistic nature of these photos.

After a few days of controversy after the post was taken down, Facebook reinstated the photo and released a statement that stated, “We recognize the history and global importance of this image in documenting a particular moment in time.” Another statement read, “Because of its status as an iconic image of historical importance, the value of permitting sharing outweighs the value of protecting the community by removal.”

Facebook needs to work on finding a golden mean in their censorship policy. Where can the line be drawn with censorship? What can be argued as artistic? What is obscenity? All of these questions make it hard for Facebook to keep their loyalties uncrossed.

Going forward, Facebook said they will “adjust [their] review mechanisms” to allow this photo to be shared in the future.

Is this enough?

While Facebook considers themselves a tech company, they are increasingly changing the way to world gets its news and media. Espen Egil Hansen – editor-in-chief and chief executive of Aftenposten – called on Zuckerberg to “recognize his role as the ‘the world’s most powerful editor’ of a site that has become a key player in the distribution of news and information globally.” However, by taking on this new role as a faction of the media, Facebook will have to realign its loyalties. Will the “tech” giant change its ways and realign its loyalties to match its role as a member of the media?

Time will tell.

Happy Labor Day

I always remember my father with fondness on this day because of his tenacious embrace of the labor movement.

As the American economy becomes more and more service based we may forget labor’s historical gravity. The first Labor Day celebration was on Tuesday, September 5, 1882, in New York City, promoted by the Central Labor Union. The Union held its second Labor Day celebration the next year on September 5, 1883. Labor Day has been celebrated on the first Monday of September ever since. Its launch came at a time when America was moving into the industrial revolution and the conditions of workers were often difficult.

My dad, a WWII vet, frequently teased me about Rosie the Riveter and powerful women. I was young and didn’t understand how much her iconic image meant to him. I’m guessing that in some small (and not so small) ways I must have reminded him of the power she signified. Doing a little research on her image this morning, I learned a few things I didn’t know before.

There were two iconic Rosies.

Rosie Riveter norman rockwellThe first Rosie – the one most of us remember – was painted by J. Howard Miller. He was commissioned by Westinghouse to make a series of posters promoting the war effort. Miller inspired the Saturday Evening Post, whose covers tended toward civic inspiration. With WWII raging the Post hired Norman Rockwell. Rockwell’s Rosie appeared on the cover of the Saturday Evening Post (May 29, 1943). It was the Memorial Day issue. She’s muscular and dressed for a hard day’s work, just like the Rosie most of us might recall. We also know she’s Rosie because of the name inscribed on her lunch pail. However, what might surprise many of you, as it did me, this Rosie is stepping on a copy of Adolph Hitler’s book Mein Kampf. Now this is serious symbolic propaganda.

We_Can_Do_It! J. Howard MillerOn the heels of Post’s highly successful cover, stories about real life Rosies began appearing in newspapers across America. The U.S. government took advantage of Rosie’s popularity and embarked on a recruiting campaign named after her. The campaign, done by J. Walter Thompson under the auspices of the Advertising Council, used J. Howard Miller’s Rosie. The campaign brought millions of women into the workforce. To this day, Rosie the Riveter is considered one of the most successful government advertising campaign in history. On May 25, 2012 the Ad Council threw a 70th Birthday Bash for Rosie, noting that Rosie the Riveter remains an enduring emblem of empowerment for women everywhere.

Dad, thanks for teaching me the value of a hard day’s work. I miss you.

Happy Labor Day everyone!


“Happy” Equal Pay Day

According to the National Partnership for Women & Families, women in the United States are paid 79 cents for every dollar paid to men. The pay gap – an average of $10,762 annually. This hurts to write.

For women of color it’s even worse. African American women are paid 60 cents for every dollar paid to White men. Latinas are paid just 55 cents for every dollar paid to White men. For Asian American women, it’s a little less painful. They are paid 84 cents for every dollar paid to White men. This is shameful to write.

Equal PaySupport pay equity.

Support the Paycheck Fairness Act.

Support your mother, your sister, your friends and your family.

Support women.