Group’s Presentation on Fishing Boat Slavery Wins National Competition

McKendree Students Present at Business Education Conference

Lebanon, Ill. — Four McKendree University business students knew very little about illegal trafficking on fishing boats when they chose the topic for a class project.

Their findings, however, captured the first annual Student Ethics Competition hosted by the International Assembly of Collegiate Business Education (IACBE), held Apr. 18 to 20 in Kansas City. IACBE is the accrediting agency for college and university business schools.

“The issue is a lot bigger than we originally thought,” said Austin Vuichard, an accounting, economics and finance major from Coulterville. “Over nine million people are being trafficked. For every registered vessel in the water there are nine or 10 unregistered that can go uninspected and their catches can go unreported.”

Vuichard and three classmates presented at IACBE: Erika Schutzenhofer, an economics and finance major from Nashville; Jessica Muckensturm, a business administration major from Swansea; and Danni Warren, a management major from Stockport, England.

For the presentation, students were assigned to come up with an ethical issue and explain it from a legal, financial, marketing, management and economic point of view. They conducted their research online and via e-mail and created a brochure. Vuichard did a phone interview with a United Nations authority on forced labor in the fishing industry.

As they delved deeper into the subject, the students wanted to share what they learned with others.

“They have a great Facebook page on their topic that has reached over 30,000 people,” said Dr. Jean M. Scheller-Sampson, associate professor of management and marketing, who teaches business ethics at McKendree.

The page, Take a Stand Against Slave Fishing ( asks, “Did you realize that the fish on your dinner plate could be the product of slave labor?” It has been “liked” by nearly 200 Facebook viewers in 20 countries since it was posted in March.

The group says it wants to continue “to spread the word and make a difference” about the issue of slavery on fishing boats.



Photo of Fishing Boat Slavery Winners

McKendree University students Erika Schutzenhofer, Austin Vuichard,

Jessica Muckensturm and Danni Warren.