Safety Critical Systems and Whistle Blowing - Class Notes

This topic utilizes two class periods and centers around the 1986 Challenger Disaster, the government inquiry into the tradegy, and the failed attempts at whistle-blowing by Roger Boisjoly.


whistle-blowing: exposure of fraud and abuse by an employee. Legislation (1978) barred reprisals against those who exposed government corruption. Harassment and dismissal of whistle-blowers and the revelation of widespread waste and fraud in defense contracting led Congress to strengthen the position of whistle-blowers in 1989. Under the Federal False Claims Act whistle-blowers can receive a percentage of the money recovered or damages won by the government in fraud cases they expose.

FIRST CLASS PERIOD - Safety Critical Systems:

The Video: In advance of the showing of the video read the following on-line articles about the disaster:

"Major Malfunction: The Story Behind the Space Shuttle Challenger Disaster", J. Marcus Maier, writer and producer, Organizational Leadership Program, Chapman University, 333 N. Glassel St., Orange CA 92866 (original produced at SUNY Binghamton). To see a review of this video set click here. A set of notes identifying the major "scenes" in the video is available for note-taking. A set of notes from Texas A&M are also very useful. After the viewing of the video, fill in the worksheet. Bring this to the next class.

Roger Boisjoly: Roger Boisjoly has had over a quarter century of experience in the aerospace industry. Boisjoly has spent his entire career making well-informed decisions based on his understanding and belief in a professional engineer's rights and responsibilities. Roger Boisjoly was awarded the Prize for Scientific Freedom and Responsibility from the American Association for the Advancement of Science for his actions associated with his strong beliefs.





SECOND CLASS PERIOD - Whistle Blowing:

Last updated 2002/05/20
© J.A.N. Lee, 1999-2002.