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IVP Trust Week to Emphasize Integrity

By monét cooper

Trust Week, sponsored by the Morehouse College Institutional Values Project (IVP), is more than six days of activities and programs designed to build trust in the campus community. The week, Monday, April 4, through Saturday, April 9, is the manifestation of what many people in the Morehouse community practice everyday.

Take, for example, custodian Margaret “Shaun” Malone. One day in early February, she had polished the gym floor, tidied the restrooms and was sweeping the hallway when she came across an envelope. About to throw it away, she instead opened it and found an endorsed check for $750.

“It was close to the weekend and I thought whoever lost this check is going crazy looking for it,” she said.

After Malone asked a few students sitting in the hallway if the check was theirs, she left it with Johnny Nimes, associate dean for Student Support Services, and notified Campus Police and Initial Contract Services, the company hired to clean Morehouse buildings.

Later that day, Minnie Jackson, Student Services administrative assistant, returned the check to John Wilson, a freshman computer science major.

When asked about why she returned the check—when Malone could have cashed it—she spoke without hesitation. “I’m an honest person,” Malone said. “You can’t get anything out of life cheating people. If I’m in that situation, I hope someone would do the same thing for me.”

That sentiment is one that Trust Week organizers hope will resonate with everyone on campus. A 29-question survey was given to Morehouse students, staff and faculty in February asking respondents to evaluate the dimensions of trust, such as the perceived level of competence a staff member has in his supervisor or a professor has in her department chair.

Separate student, staff and faculty focus groups will discuss the survey results and examine the levels of trust that exist on campus. (Look for online report in May.) On Saturday, the groups will come together to discuss what happened during the week and create solutions to perceived trust challenges.

Wednesday, April 6, is Community Day and features a scavenger hunt, free food, prizes, such as tickets to Atlanta sports events and gift certificates, and other activities all emphasizing the importance of trust, one of the nine values—which include accountability, civility, community, compassion, honesty, integrity, respect, and spirituality—adopted by the IVP in 2001.

“Trust carries with it vulnerability because you have to count on the integrity and honesty of the people you’re trusting,” said Karen Miller, general counsel and vice president of Administrative Services, who heads the IVP Trust Week committee.

No one knows that better than Wilson, who used the $750 to pay bills.

In his letter to Malone, he didn’t write much—just a few simple words: “Thank you for being honest.”

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