Background: I'm both administrative staff for a university, and I'm the owner of a small business. I've been working with a particular student at the university on some university grant work, and I'm impressed with this student's work. This student has recently graduated and is currently seeking employment. I am now interested in hiring this student to work for my small business.
What legal and ethical issues surround hiring a former student?
I am curious to hear why do you think this would be unethical?
Based on what you described unless you have an agreement with the University that you will not hire their former students there is no ethical challenge from what I can see. The student is seeking employment. You have a position to fill, so shake hands get the monetary and benefits agreements out of the way and go happily forth.
If you are claiming to be an EOE then there are certain legal requirements that you would have to meet to continue claiming that but there is no reason that you cannot hire a former student.