Drake is the Finance Commissioner on his university’s Associated Students organization. He supervises the funding process, which allocates thousands of dollars to student clubs and societies each term. In order to receive funding, clubs and societies must fill out funding proposals, which detail past spending, proposed budgets, and possible revenue streams.
One of Drake’s close friends, Alex, is crafting a funding proposal for his club, and asks Drake to meet and review the proposal before he submits it. Drake directs Alex to the online resources and tip guides Associated Students provides to help guide student organizations through the funding process, but Alex values Drake’s expertise in the area and wants personal guidance for his club’s proposal.
Drake loves the club’s idea. It is a proposal the school has been talking about for years, and someone has finally decided to attempt to implement it. Drake knows students would love the event and would really benefit from the opportunity to attend the program, but wonders if it is fair to provide assistance. If Drake meets with Alex, he will be able to provide specific advice that will ensure Alex’s proposal is approved, and that seems unfair to other student groups. Drake wishes he could offer personalized guidance to every student organization, but far too many proposals are submitted each quarter to meet with each group individually. If Drake chooses not to review the funding request, he knows Alex will be upset. After all, Alex has already put in the work to craft the full proposal. He is only asking for some friendly advice on improving it. Drake is conflicted. He worries that in providing friendly advice, he will compromise his professional ethic.
What would you do in Drake’s situation? If he reviews the proposal, is Drake helping a friend or providing an unfair advantage to a specific student organization? How do you use your position and expertise to benefit the people close to you? Where do you draw the line between the personal and professional?