News

Symposium explores “Crisis of Trust” in business, government

April 16, 2012

PORTLAND, Maine – The trust has been broken in America. Trust in business leaders, elected officials and government agencies, nonprofits, even entire financial systems.

As a society, how did we get here? What factors play the biggest roles in the continuing crisis of trust in modern American life? And perhaps most importantly, what are some solutions that could lead the way to higher standards of ethics, better systems of oversight, and a shift away from greed?

These questions are at the heart of the University of Maine School of Law’s 2012 Governance & Ethics Symposium: “The Crisis of Trust in Public and Private Sector Institutions.” The event, scheduled for 3 p.m. on Weds., April 25, at the Law School, has drawn interest from attorneys, lawmakers, chief executive officers and others. Registration is closed due to the high volume of responses.

The annual Governance & Ethics Symposium series was established in 2009 by the University of Maine School of Law. Co-chairs are Dean Peter Pitegoff of the Law School; Dan Boxer, adjunct professor of Governance & Business Ethics; and Tom Dunne, retired partner with Accenture.

Panelists at the symposium will be Robert A.G. Monks, a governance expert and author; John Branson, a Portland attorney who has represented Occupy Maine; Rep. Emily Cain, D-Orono; David Flanagan, president and CEO of Preservation Management, former CEO of Central Maine Power; and Peter Mills, executive director of the Maine Turnpike Authority, and a former longtime state senator.

“The theme of ‘trust’ was a natural for this fourth Symposium. Trust in elected officials, industry, finance, local government and even the nonprofit sector have all seen huge declines in polls for the last few years,” said Boxer, who will moderate the panel discussion along with Dunne.

“The aftermath of the financial crisis has disillusioned millions and created both income gaps and downward mobility to the extent not seen since the great depression. ‘Occupy’ movements have sprung up and retain traction. Money has captured our political systems. The short and long term stability of our society and many of our social institutions are facing serious threats. To me, the lack of trust in institutions is an outgrowth of the fact that those institutions have not governed themselves very well or exhibited acceptable standards of ethics, morality or socially responsible behavior. All of these are the key areas we have explored over the years, but the stakes are much higher now.”

For more information, including in-depth reading materials for attendees, visit www.mainelaw.maine.edu/news/conferences/ethics.

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Media contact: Trevor Maxwell, communications director at Maine Law

Office: 207-228-8037/ Cell: 207-286-4431/ email: tmaxwell@usm.maine.edu