February 09, 2010
The Rev. William J. Byron, S.J., talks with a student and Dr.
Jerome Wyant, Associate Dean for Curriculum at Mount Saint Mary
NEWBURGH, NY – The Rev. William J. Byron, S.J., spoke of ethical
principles in the workplace, politics and life in two lectures to
some 500 students, faculty and community members on Tuesday (Feb.
9) at Mount Saint Mary College.
The lectures were the first programs of the Mount’s new Catholic
and Dominican Institute.
Byron called the principle of human dignity “the bedrock
principle of both personal and social ethics.”
“In the new corporate culture, human dignity is taking a
beating,” he said. “Workers at all levels are being treated as if
they were disposable parts.”
He said that layoffs “must be done with dignity and a modicum of
security – severance pay, extended healthcare insurance, retraining
or relocation assistance.”
He talked about the principle of participation saying “Every
human person in any workplace has a right to have some say in the
decisions that affect his or her livelihood.”
“This means preparation for separation, should that have to
happen; it also means enhancing the “value added” potential and the
productivity of employees who will remain.”
Byron also discussed the principle of keeping commitments.
“Commitments are the cement of social relationships. If commitments
are kept in the workplace, morale and a sense of security will be
He said that the “Pursuit of the common good is a basic
principle of ethical behavior….”
“In this new corporate culture of diminished loyalty and
heightened insecurity, it is important to note that economic
interests and the common good are both served by widespread job
security. No one was ever made more productive by being made less
Byron is the University Professor of Business and Society at St.
Joseph’s University in Philadelphia and a former president of the
Catholic University of America and the University of Scranton. The
Pittsburgh native has written 13 books on business, education and
Rooted in the Catholic intellectual tradition, the Catholic and
Dominican Institute promotes MSMC's Dominican heritage and charism
of learning and service; provides a forum for discussion of
contemporary ethical issues; and enhances Catholic and Jewish
To learn more about the Institute, call Judith Manza, secretary
of the CDI at 845-569-3467.