I worry about leadership and the honesty of leaders. At the end of the day, we need to trust our leaders. We rely on them to do right by us and their institutions (or nation) they oversee. I believe, too, that leaders serve the institutions that select them — they owe a duty to watch out for the institutions and those within them. They are there not only to move the institution forward, to keep it fiscally bouyant but also to role model and demonstrate integrity day in and day out. Moral lapses are hard to recover from when one lives in a fishbowl — which is what institutions are.

And, that is why the election and candidates concern me. And, that is why the behavior of Ken Starr at Baylor University leaves me both sad and mad. He knows better. He failed himself, his students and his institution. He has not, in my judgment, as reflected in the linked article, been trustworthy in terms of his knowledge of sexual misconduct on his campus. That troubles me — because of who he is and what he did in his part. A lawyer, a judge, a solicitor general, an independent prosecutor….all roles that rely on truth-telling and truth-seeking….And, don’t get me started on one’s religious obligations at a Baptist institution.

Share with me how we create and sustain better leaders.

One thing is for sure: we do not give them opportunities to retain prestigious titles like Chancellor and Professor of Law. We do not pay them $600,000 a year.

One approach: we need to speak up and out when leaders betray us and fail to protect us when they could and should have done better. Loudly. And we hope folks will listen. And, we need to self-reflect on our own behavior as leaders and as followers. It is not a one way street.

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Author, Educator & Commentator; Former President, Southern Vermont College; Former Senior Policy Advisor, US Dept. of Education; Former Law Professor

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