Mount presents lectures on ethical principles

February 09, 2010
Fr. William Byron, talks with a student and Dr. Jerome Wyant, Associate Dean for Curriculum at Mount Saint Mary College
The Rev. William J. Byron, S.J., talks with a student and Dr. Jerome Wyant, Associate Dean for Curriculum at Mount Saint Mary College

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 high.”

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 secure.”

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 spiritual issues.

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 dialogue.

To learn more about the Institute, call Judith Manza, secretary of the CDI at 845-569-3467.