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St. Anselm launches business ethics program

By MELISSA PROULX
Union Leader Correspondent

October 02. 2017 12:37AM
Max Latona is the executive director of the new Center for Ethics in Business and Governance at St. Anselm College. (MELISSA PROULX/UNION LEADER CORRESPONDENT)



GOFFSTOWN — A new program at St. Anselm College will work to be a resource for students and community businesses when it comes to addressing ethical issues.

The Center for Ethics in Business and Governance is open after it kicked off its first program on Tuesday with more than 100 students in attendance to listen to Kenneth E. Goodpaster, business professor at the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota, speak on “Corporate Responsibility in America.”

“It was very well attended by students,” said Executive Director Max Latona.

Latona, a philosophy professor and Richard L. Bready chair in Ethics, Economics and the Common Good at the college, said he was attracted to the position because of the opportunity for civil discourse between students, faculty and business leaders in for-profit and nonprofit organizations.

Latona said the focus of the center, besides educating and providing opportunities for students, will be to create a neutral space to talk about ethical issues in the business world and teach students how to have these conversations in a nonconfrontational way.

“There are lot of pressing, controversial issues in the business world today that are not being addressed in a civil, productive manner,” he said.

Students will have the opportunity to meet and discuss these issues with many different business leaders in the community through courses, seminars, internships, workshops and roundtables held through the center.

“This gives (business leaders) the opportunity to share expertise and insight with the next generation,” Latona said.

The next one is in early 2018: the Politics, Business and Justice Roundtable. Latona said it’s been nicknamed the PB&J Roundtable and has been given the slogan, “Plain Talk, Just Like the Sandwich.”

Having this relationship with the business community will be vital for the center, Latona said. It’s also a resource that businesses will now have to discuss any issues they might be facing, leading to what he hopes will be positive change in corporate culture, Latona said.

“It’s not something we can do alone,” he said. “It’s a partnership.”

Local high school students will also be brought in to take part in some of the discussions, Latona said. For example, in February, a group will be coming in to discuss whether or not health care is a basic human right, he said.

The center has been in the works for roughly two years, Latona said. The idea came from discussions between faculty members about how important a resource like this could be for students.

But its roots go back even further than that and grew out of a ethical business scandal in the New Hampshire.

In 2005, the chief executive officer and chief financial officer of Tyco International LTD, which operated out of Exeter, were convicted of looting millions of dollars from the company.

“As a part of the settlement, Tyco agreed to provide the state with funds for ethics education,” Latona said.

About $2.5 million was given to the Goffstown college and used to launch their Ethics in Governance initiative back in 2013. The center was “developed as a way of building and sustaining that initiative,” Latona said.

With these new offerings, Latona said the students at St. Anselm will be given skills that will put them at an advantage when it comes to handling and understanding ethical dilemmas in their future careers.

“I think we’re in a good position to address some of these ethical issues in a meaningful way,” he said.

More opportunities could result from the center as well in the future.

“The faculty at the college are currently discussing the possibility of a business ethics minor,” Latona said.


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