Interdependence, Legal Bank Robbery, DNA Intrigue and Globalization Discussed in a Day at the University
The more than 100 people who attended the Schemel Forum's University for a Day program learned that "The Best Way to Rob a Bank is to Run it." The lecture, by University of Scranton Sociology/Criminal Justice Professor David Friedrichs was one of four lectures given by distinguished professors on September 12 in the DeNaples Center.
In his talk, Friedrichs focused on the white-collar crimes of the powerful, which he says are highly detrimental to the economy, particularly in this time of economic crisis. According to Friedrichs, the amount of money stereotypical bank robbers steal each year is not nearly as damaging to the economy as much as white-collar crime.
"These bank robbers - rather than being unemployed people or poor people, (or) drug addicts - are often very wealthy people. They have Ivy League educations. They are very privileged members of society," said Friedrichs.
He also noted that because of the good reputations and prominent positions many of these "trusted criminals" have in their communities and their companies, they are not held accountable. He discussed the white-collar crimes of people such as Bernie Madoff and Richard Fuld and the corruption that occurs in banks and large corporations.
Friedrichs discussed the financial troubles facing America today and placed the blame squarely on the shoulders of the CEO's, top executives and stockbrokers, saying that the unethical practices of these white-collar criminals and the failure of the government to hold them accountable contributed significantly to the recession.
As part of the University for a Day event, Stephen Whittaker, professor of English at The University, presented a lecture entitled "Toni Morrison's A Mercy: A Paradigm and a Cautionary Tale of Interdependence in a New World." Janice Voltzow, professor of biology at The University, presented "Rosalind Frankin: Another Twist in the DNA Double Helix." The final lecture of the day was "Globalization: for Better or Worse?" by Goodwin Cooke, professor at Syracuse University.
The University for a Day presentation was made possible by a grant from The Neighborhood Development Trust Fund and The Scranton Area Foundation.
The Schemel Forum is a program of participatory learning experiences aimed at cultivating the intellect and the imagination through study and discussion of classical texts and current policies, from the arts, history and philosophy to technology and theology. Founded in the summer of 2006 through generous gifts to the Rev. George Schemel, S.J., Fund, the forum has grown quickly from a handful of informal lectures to a comprehensive enrichment program of study, dialogue, performances and special lectures. Session fees vary by program.