Arguing the ethics of complex legal issues is challenging for the most seasoned legal minds, but for the college students participating in NCICU’s annual Ethics Bowl, it was an exercise founded in research and executed with poise and confidence. Twenty-two of North Carolina’s independent colleges and universities sent teams to the event which was held February 17 and 18, 2017 at the State Legislative Complex in Raleigh.
“The topics this year, developed by Dr. Jesse McCartney, retired Provost of Catawba College, were timely and complex,” said NCICU President Hope Williams. “We knew the students would be interested in issues that have been front and center in the news over the past year and we did not disappoint them.”
Each team participated in four rounds after which the four teams with the most “wins” – Meredith College, Chowan University, Salem College and Montreat College – met in two semifinal rounds. The semifinal round topic focused on how the law deals with bullies, asking the question, ‘Should there be a law to regulate cyber-bullying?’.
Advancing to the final round were Meredith and Salem colleges. This was the first time that two women’s colleges had faced each other in the finals. The topic for the final round was about corporate ethics and international conflicts. The teams were asked “Do U.S. companies have an ethical obligation to withdraw their operations from countries that repress their citizens’ human rights?” In the end, Salem College won the competition.
At a banquet honoring the participants, Associate Justice Sam J. (Jimmy) Ervin, IV, of the Supreme Court of North Carolina, discussed the legal system and stated that “…good lawyers and judges spend considerable amounts of time reflecting upon their ethical obligations.” In commenting upon ethics as a discipline and a way of life, Ervin reminded the 250 persons in attendance that ethics “involves the resolution of competing values and principles and a detailed analysis of the relevant factual and legal background.”
The Ethics Bowl is made possible because of the support of 34 sponsors, led by Duke Energy and Wells Fargo, and the participation of more than 70 volunteer judges and moderators who are leaders in business, government and non-profit organizations.