The Richard Richard Institute for Ethics is located in the Social Science Building in room 280. (Abby Van Ess / The Signpost)
The Richard Richard Institute for Ethics is located in the Social Science Building in room 280. (Abby Van Ess / The Signpost)

Recently, the community, the state and the country seem to be ill at ease about the current state of the presidential candidates for the 2016 election. The further into the campaign we get, the less secure we feel in those hopefuls for the office.

Why is that? For one, we are constantly at odds with each other over who is the most qualified person to lead our country. Those of us who pay attention make sure that our voices are heard every time we march in to place our vote. And you know what? Every vote matters.

Another reason we are so ill at ease might come from the state of ethics we see around us in the world. But what is ethics and why does it matter in a presidential candidate or even in life?

Ethics is a belief or value that one may have in politics, business, school, socialization or life in general. In my day-to-day interactions, I see two types of ethics: ethical behavior and ethical leadership.

Ethical behavior is demonstrated by respect for others besides oneself. It can be characterized by fairness and honesty in both professional and personal relationships. Ethical behavior respects diversity and the rights of individuals.

Think about your life on campus. Think about your professors, peers in class and friends. When you go about your daily life, are you demonstrating ethical behavior? Do you witness others demonstrating it as well?

Ethical behavior is something that we all have or can have. We demonstrate our ability to behave ethically every day. Ethical leadership is a little bit different though, and this is where I think we struggle with the presidential campaign going on right now.

Ethical leadership is a leadership that is guided by respect for beliefs, rights, values and dignity of others. When I think of ethical leadership, I think of honesty and trust.

When you look at our presidential hopefuls, do you sense ethical leadership or do you think it’s lacking?

We as Weber State students are lucky to have an institution on campus that is dedicated to teaching ethical leadership on political, academic and personal levels.

Originally the Institute for Politics, Decency and Ethical Conduct, The Richard Richards Institute of Ethics was named after Richard Richards in 2014 to honor his outstanding political accomplishments and dedication to educating students about ethical leadership.

Richard Richards began his career in politics at Weber College as the Young Republican chairman. This appointment led him to become the State Republican chairman and ultimately the National Republican chairman. After a long and successful career, Richard and Annette Richards helped establish the Institute for Politics, Decency and Ethical Conduct in 2007.

Richard Richards worked alongside political giants like Harry Dent, Richard Nixon, Bob Dole and Ronald Reagan. After retiring from a life of politics, he made his way back to Weber State where he established a way to guide political dreamers to a life dedicated to ethics.

Richard had a passion for ethics and believed that there was a great need for students to learn ethical conduct in politics, but more importantly—in life. He lived his life as a very positive example of hard work, honesty and decency.

His example is one that I wish more people noticed and followed. In a world of political unrest, maybe the answer to our presidential candidacy problems is to look to the ethics of all those involved and see in whom we can put our trust.

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