SMC Student Team Wins Business Ethics Case Competition
Saint Michael's College senior business students Denise Belanger of Rumford, Maine, and Benjamin Hodges of Salisbury, N.H., won the Business Ethics Case Competition held March 2, on the Saint Michael’s campus. The winning case study was titled "Bunny Butcher: PETA Protests Donna Karan New York." The winning team split the grand prize of $1,000, as well as $150 for being first-round winners.
Denise Belanger, a senior business administration and accounting major, is the daughter of Guy and Michelle Belanger of Rumford. She graduated from Mountain Valley High School before coming to Saint Michael’s. Benjamin Hodges, s senior business administration major, is the son of David and Joanna Hodges of Salisbury, N.H. he graduated from Merrimack Valley High School before coming to Saint Michael’s.
Participating competitors who presented case studies included undergraduate student teams from Champlain College, New England College (N.H.), Nichols College (Massachusetts), Saint Michael's College, State University of New York at Plattsburgh, SUNY Potsdam, and the University of Vermont.
Finalists who presented their cases on March 2 included Champlain, New England, Saint Michael’s and SUNY Plattsburgh.
Judges for the final round of competition were Doug Hoffer, formerly policy analyst for the city of Burlington, now independent researcher who has done numerous studies for state agencies and various private companies on such topics as livable wages, economic development, renewable energy and more; Jan Marinelli, currently the head of two businesses, Versante, Vermont’s premier all-natural bath and body products line, and JN Marinelli, LLC, consulting business working for higher education, business and nonprofits; and Rick Peyser, director of social advocacy and coffee community outreach for Green Mountain Coffee Roasters.
The winning case
The Hodges-Belanger winning case study explained that, "Donna Karan New York has come under fire again from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) regarding the Chinese fur used in its clothing lines, after previously asserting that fur would be eliminated in forthcoming collections."
After advising better management of Karan’s Facebook site, the student team said, "Karan should declare via public statement, a new, positive strategy that supports the use of fur in fashion products, condemns the unethical practices of Chinese fur farms, and outlines a strategy to discover humane ways of acquiring furs and [a plan to] audit future suppliers to ensure continued animal respect."
The student winners gave a detailed, powerful presentation of the PETA protests; DKNY's Facebook page; the various stakeholders; alternatives, and a recommendation. They also offered a plan to respond to PETA, by making a public statement supporting the use of fur, but condemning the Chinese Fur Farms, and recommending a search for a humane supplier.