Thursday, March 12, 2009

Dave Bing & Why Honesty Matters

Some disappointing news has come out of Detroit as it has been discovered that former Piston great, respected businessman and current mayoral candidate, Dave Bing, has not been truthful about his college education.

For years Bing has communicated that he received his bachelor's degree from Syracuse University in 1966 and that he received a master's in business administration from Kettering University. However, Bing was informed in 1995 that he was three credits shy of the Syracuse degree and needed to re-submit a paper that would enable him to complete the requirements to graduate. He did so and received the actual diploma from Syracuse that year.

In explaining the Syracuse mix-up, Bing commented that he was under the impression that he had, in fact, completed the requirements for graduation and that he had officially been a graduate of Syracuse. He has yet to explain why he never received the actual paper diploma. Even if this misunderstanding could be reasonably explained, there still is the matter of the MBA from Kettering (formerly the General Motors Institute.) reports on the matter:
"Mayoral candidate and former NBA great Dave Bing said Wednesday it was "not correct" when he earlier claimed to have earned a master's degree in business administration. But the claim on a videotape touting education and staying in school on the National Basketball Retired Players Association Web site was meant to be interpreted in a different manner, Bing told The Associated Press.
The founder and chairman of the Bing Group, a steel manufacturing operation and auto supplier, was responding to a Detroit Free Press story revealing he didn't earn an MBA from General Motors Institute, now called Kettering University in Flint, as he said on the tape.
"I felt I had an MBA for the work I had done in the industry I was in," Bing said. "When I made references to an MBA it wasn't that I went there and got it, but through what I had done. "I made reference to how important education was for players, active and retired, and young people, that they should stay in school as long as they can and get their degrees."
It is hard to understand why someone would think that because they worked hard in a given field that they automatically had received an MBA for their work. While it is common practice for institutions of higher learning to award honorary degrees for excellence in a certain area, that is not the same as just bestowing the degree on oneself.

This may seem like a small matter, but I think that Bing needs to come forward in complete honesty and transparency. In a city still reeling from a scandal resulting from the dishonesty of a mayor, this matter needs to get cleared up. Unfortunately, it is not at all uncommon for people to exaggerate on resumes or to embellish accomplishments. But that doesn't make it okay. Although he has to attempted to address this, I think he needs to share his college transcripts with the public so there is no doubt that what he has said in recent days is truthful. Our public officials need to set an example of truthfulness and integrity and Bing has the opportunity to regain the public trust in him if he clears up this matter fully.

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