30. Melissa, a fundraising associate for Harrelson University, is an attractive, blond, 30-something, who has a vivacious personality. She has been having lunch occasionally with a Harrelson alumnus, Emerson, scion of a wealthy oil magnate, with the intent of convincing Emerson to make a major gift to the University. Melissa has noticed that Emerson has drifted off occasionally during their lunch meetings, calling her by the name of his late wife, and demonstrating lapses of memory. She thinks he may be starting to have symptoms of Alzheimer’s or perhaps some other dementia, and is motivated to begin closing the deal before his family takes legal action and obtains power of attorney over Emerson’s financial affairs. She does not think the university would fare well if Emerson’s family gets complete control over his wealth, and she thinks all of the work she has done would be wasted. She convinces Emerson to meet with her for lunch the next day, and brings with her papers that provide for Emerson pledging half of his wealth, $40 million. She winces as Emerson appears unable to sign his name on the papers, and she leans over to help him. She rationalizes that she does not stand to benefit by this gift, that thousands of students of Harrelson will benefit, and that when Emerson was perfectly lucid and sharp, he always expressed a desire to leave a lasting legacy and assist his alma mater in its mission to become a better institution.
a. Is Melissa’s behavior ethical?
b. Is Melissa’s behavior legal?
c. What would you do if you were in Melissa’s position?