The local news tonight covered a story about some Carleton University students who had figured out a way to obtain laundromat services for free. A lot of them took advantage, which isn’t all that surprising really since I don’t know any university student who wouldn’t try to get something for nothing if they could. Not only are budgets tight, but let’s face, there’s a thrill associated with doing something you know is wrong and getting away with it, or “putting it to the man” in 60’s vernacular.
But what was surprising to me were the number of students prepared to go on television and say publicly, yeah, I defrauded the University (or the laundromat franchisee) and I have no intention of paying up. They are basically admitting that, yes I stole some money, and no, I’m not going to pay it back. (The amounts aren’t trivial, in the hundreds of dollars for some students. The University is however going after the money, for which there is now mucho howling and whining from the perpetrators about how unfair that is.)
I don’t know, but when I see our prime minister stand up and defend illegal funding actions as “accounting disagreements”, or justify tampering with signed government documents as “administrative issues”, it becomes significantly more difficult for society to take a moral stance and challenge the ethics of those who see nothing wrong with such behaviour.
We have a lot of broken windows to fix.