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Release: Sept. 21, 1999

Panel to discuss business ethics and whistleblowing in the workplace

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The University of Iowa Henry B. Tippie College of Business will host a panel discussion focusing on business ethics and whistleblowing in the workplace at 5 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 29 in Macbride Auditorium.

The panel, which consists of five professionals and two UI students, will consider the ethics involved in a hypothetical case study of whistleblowing at a pharmaceutical sales company. The discussion is part of an ethics module for UI business students enrolled in Introduction to Law classes and is open to the public.

Panelists include: UI President Mary Sue Coleman; Tippie College of Business Dean Gary Fethke; former CEO of HON Industries Stan Howe; Cedar Rapids Mayor Lee Clancey; Professor Lon Moeller, UI professor of business law; and two UI students, Nick Ryan and Leslie Hirsch.

Panelists will offer brief responses to the case, then respond to each other's comments, and respond to questions and comments from students in the audience. More than 500 business majors will participate in the discussion in person and by posting messages for the panel on a bulletin board on the class webpage.

"The students will receive immediate feedback concerning some ethical dilemmas which they may encounter in the real world," said UI Professor Nancy Hauserman, associate dean of Undergraduate Programs and professor of management and organizations in the Tippie College of Business.

Following the panel, students are encouraged to continue the discussion on the bulletin board and ask questions that were not addressed during the live session. The questions posted eventually will be collected and distributed to the panel for response. The panel will reconvene to consider these comments and offer their opinions at 5 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 30 in Macbride Auditorium.

To help students in future classes, the panel discussions will be videotaped and catalogued for further ethics discussions.

Moeller, a former corporate attorney who is teaching the undergraduate Introduction to Law class, said the ethics module will help students tackle the ethical decision-making involved in recognizing and reporting wrong doing in business. "The case study and panel discussions will give students the chance to identify ethical conflicts and to review the consequences of making both ethical and unethical decisions at work," he added.

Hauserman was awarded a $10,000 grant from the Kemper Foundation to set up the expert panel discussions and create the website used in conjunction with the discussions.

For more information about the ethics module and to view the whistle blowing case study, see The site is open to public viewing, but only members of the class and the panelists are able to post responses.