HUC-UC Ethics Center Center for the Study of Ethics and Contemporary Moral Problems
Ethics in Social Policy

HUC-UC Ethics Center is committed to examining ethical issues concerning social policy. By doing so, HUC-UC Ethics Center addresses the immediate needs of the Cincinnati community. For instance, graduate students of the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) and the University of Cincinnati (UC) are able to take courses dealing with social issues. HUC-UC Ethics Center has also launched a unique graduate internship program in social policy. Due to its success a national conference, the "Symposium on Religious Perceptions of Poverty and Welfare Policy," was held in May 2005 in Cincinnati. This symposium addressed the critical issue of religious thought and its influence on social and welfare policy over time. HUC-UC Ethics Center also has had long-standing relationships with several area not-for-profit organizations, with which it has collaborated regarding social policy issues. In addition to the HUC-JIR and UC community, HUC-UC Ethics Center has established academic relations with Xavier University, Northern Kentucky University, Union Institute & University, and other area institutions of higher education. HUC-UC Ethics Center has also presented programs that offer social workers, realtors, and other professionals continuing education credit opportunities.

Previous Programs
Previous Programs

Seeking Refuge in the 21st Century: Escaping Darfur
(March 6, 2008)
Elisheva Milikowsky is a young Israeli university student visiting Cincinnati to speak about her efforts to lead and organize a relief network for African refugees fleeing to Israel. She will shed light on the crisis in Darfur and share the stirring accounts of those who sought refuge in Israel. Milikowsky's unique perspective will give meaning to statistics by sharing the faces, names and stories of those affected by the crisis in Darfur. This program is co-sponsored by the Center for Holocaust and Humanity Education.

To read the article, "The Angel of Beersheba", click here.

Symposium on Poverty, Welfare, and Religion: Family, Gender, and Justice
(May 18-20, 2007)
HUC-UC Ethics Center and the Graduate College of Union Institute & University are holding their third annual Symposium on Poverty, Welfare, and Religion at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati from May 18-20, 2007. The interdisciplinary symposium will focus on the implications of poverty and welfare on family structures, gender roles, and social institutions. Learn more (PDF format)

Symposium on Poverty, Welfare, and Religion: Poverty and Displacement
(May 6-7, 2006)
HUC-UC Ethics Center and the Graduate College of Union Institute & University convened their second annual Symposium on Poverty, Welfare, and Religion at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati, Ohio, from May 6-7, 2006. The theme of the interdisciplinary symposium was the historical complexities of displacement and poverty focusing on religious thought and practice and the implications of war, natural disasters, and migration.
Learn more (PDF format)

Symposium on Religious Perceptions of Poverty and Welfare Policy
(May 7 - 9, 2005)
This public symposium offered nationally and internationally distinguished scholars the opportunity to explore and identify the roots of welfare policy and assess the influence of religion on its development and formulation. HUC-UC Ethics Center and Union Institute & University in collaboration with the Journal of Poverty presented a symposium to address the issue historically, starting from the genesis of welfare policy in the context of the Western European nation state, through the Renaissance (with emphasis on the enactment of Elizabethan Poor Laws), to the developments of modern welfare in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and ending with a contemporary assessment of the issue. This multi-disciplinary gathering included historians, political scientists, social workers, sociologists, as well as scholars of religious thought and philosophy. To conclude, a panel of political and religious leaders discussed the findings of the symposium in a public setting. The Symposium afforded CEU credit opportunities for social workers and course credit for HUC-JIR students (as well as University of Cincinnati and Union Institute & University students). This program was made possible, in part, by the Ohio Humanities Council, a state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Reporting the War on Terror
(March 30, 2003)
HUC-UC Ethics Center presented a public symposium, moderated by Irvine H. Anderson, who has lectured extensively on al-Qaeda, Islam, and Iraq. Featured speakers included Robin Wright, the Los Angeles Times Chief Diplomatic Correspondent/National Security Correspondent and Special Analyst on the Middle East for the Gulf War, and Malte Lehming, Washington Bureau Chief of the Berlin-based centrist newspaper Der Tagesspiegel. The participants examined whether less than objective reporting leads to faulty governmental decisions. The symposium was sponsored by the Donald J. and Dr. Norma K. Stone Ethics Lecture Fellowship.

Capitalism & Sin
(June 4, 2003)
Is capitalism a necessary evil? Do we prosper only at the expense of others? These were some of the questions addressed at this public symposium led by New York Times columnist Randy Cohen ("The Ethicist") and Nicholas Muni, director of Cincinnati Opera's 2003 production of The Seven Deadly Sins. This lively and entertaining program addressed Kurt Weil's perceptions of American capitalism in the 1930's, and attracted well over 200 attendees. It was sponsored by the William A. Friedlander Ethics Lecture Fellowship. The evening program was followed by a breakfast meeting of business leaders from the Greater Cincinnati area with Randy Cohen.

Zero Tolerance: Education and Justice for All?
(April 9, 2002)
The Donald J. and Dr. Norma K. Stone Lecture Fellowship sponsored a presentation by Daniel J. Losen of the Harvard University Civil Rights Project on zero tolerance policies and their disproportionate effect on minorities and special education students. Dr. Laurence Thomas, Professor of Philosophy at Syracuse University, also spoke on the role of parents in the social and moral development of children.

Following the Stone Lecture, The Legal Aid Society of Greater Cincinnati and the Ethics Center co-sponsored a panel discussion of zero tolerance discipline policies in public secondary schools. Moderated by Col Owens of the Legal Aid Society, the panel was comprised of Rosa E. Blackwell, Deputy Superintendent of Cincinnati Public Schools; Elaine Fink, Senior Attorney with the Legal Aid Society of Greater Cincinnati; Ann Lugbill, Attorney and Board Member of Cincinnati Parents for Public Schools; Tom Mooney, President of the Ohio Federation of Teachers; and Lynn Wallich, Ombudsperson/Assistant Director of Consumer Affairs with the Ohio Department of Education. Continuing education credit was offered to attorneys, social workers, educators, and education administrators who attended.

Concentrations of Wealth, Concentrations of Poverty: Homelessness and Ethical Decisions in Housing
(September 13 and 14, 2001)
This series of three seminars on the topics of "Predatory Lending, Reverse Mortgages, and Lead Hazards in Housing," "Concentrations of Wealth...Concentrations of Poverty," and "Calling Cincinnati Home: Ethical Decisions in Housing," featured speakers from various organizations such as the Better Housing League of Greater Cincinnati, the National Corporation on Affordable Housing, and the Legal Aid Society of Greater Cincinnati, as well as participation by Cincinnati City Council Members and Hamilton County Commissioners. This well attended program was co-sponsored by the Greater Cincinnati Coalition for the Homeless and the Greater Cincinnati Foundation, and offered continuing education credit for attorneys, social workers, and realtors.

Violence Against Women: Family, Faith Communities, and the Law
(November 29, 2000)
HUC-UC Ethics Center presented this panel discussion on domestic violence, featuring participants: Teresa Kessinger of Catholic Social Services, social worker; Debra Rothstein, senior staff attorney with the Legal Aid Society; Reverend Michael A. Seger of the Athenaeum of Ohio/College of Mount St. Mary; and Rabbi Mark E. Washofsky of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. This interesting discussion attracted over one hundred people and continuing education credit was offered to attorneys and social workers.


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Union Institute & University is a private, accredited university that has, since 1964, redefined higher education by placing learners at the center of their own education.