'Integrity is doing right?' by Maya Ristic When Coleen Rowley, chief council of the FBI's Minneapolis field office, discovered inside evidence regarding the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center, she knew there were changes to be made concerning the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Rowley, who was honored as one of Time magazine's "People of the Year" for accusing the FBI of disregarding valuable evidence before the terrorist attack, spoke at USD March 22.
In a speech titled "Integrity/Doing Right," she promoted ethical decision making not only for the FBI, but for students and faculty as well.
In addition, Rowley said, the country is in an ethical decline due to corporate frauds and scandals. She said this decline affects students and their academics, partly due to the high
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percentage of cheating among high school students.
Rowley said parents also contribute to this because of a lack of parenting skills.
"They have a temptation to give kids more so it will be easier for them," Rowley said. "Parents get too meddling and kids aren't responsible."
She said it is important for children to make mistakes because they can learn from them.
"Integrity is doing right when there is no one else to do it," Rowley said. She said there are four reasons for the FBI to maintain integrity for the public and to honor the United States Constitution. All are related to the happenings of Sept. 11.
Rowley said the FBI owes integrity to victims of the attacks and the general public and must be able to identify mistakes in order to effectively improve.
"Without getting wider feedback, you are pretty much cut back on what goes wrong," she said.
Rowley said the FBI also recruits the best of the best for its organization. "We capture, regain, and retain the trust of the public," she said.
Much of Rowley's presentation regarded steps to appropriate ethical-decision making.
"First, it's discerning right from wrong," she said. "You have to do a little evil to obtain a little good."
She used an example involving the FBI saying in order to engage in under-cover investigation, one must lie because that is a primary way to find the truth.
"Second is following through what is right or wrong," Rowley said. She said this is a difficult step because there is a lot of pressure to distinguish between the two, and it depends on the situation one is going through.
Rowley used an example involving capitalism.
"Capitalism is good because it motivates people to work," Rowley said. "When money and profits come into everything, ethics then play a large role." She said in these situations, winners are being recognized while honest competitors are hidden. Rowley said loyalty is essential when competing.
She said loyalty to oneself, friends and family, workplace and the community, country, and to the world and humankind, including God, are the kinds of loyalty that should be brought out among people.
Rowley said ethical decision-making also involves openly discussing a situation or conflict so other people can learn from the act. She used a famous quote by Albert Einstein saying it is imperative to perform and not just talk.
"The world is a dangerous place, not those that do evil, but those that do nothing,'" Rowley said. "Talking is fine but you must act to actually do something."