By Cassandra James
On the weekend of February 8, a group of Catawba students competed in the eighth annual North Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities (NCICU) Ethics Bowl Competition. After winning all four of the initial rounds, they competed against Barton College in the semi-finals and Wake Forest University in the final round to win first place among the 21 other competing schools.
Ethics Bowl operates in a similar fashion to typical debate competition, but with a few key differences. Campus coordinators are sent cases, or scenarios that pertain to that year’s theme, so that the team can prepare prior to the competition. The actual questions asked by the judges are unknown until the round begins. The teams are required to answer using ethical theory to justify their answer; judges select a winner based on the persuasiveness of the team’s argument and their ability to defend their chosen position.
The event took place in the North Carolina Legislative Complex in Raleigh; volunteers from North Carolina businesses, nonprofits, and legislature volunteered their time as judges and moderators. This year’s theme was “Ethics in the Environment,” and the announced theme for 2020 will be “Ethics in Agriculture.” Some past themes have included “Ethics in Government” and “Ethics in Community.”
Catawba’s team consisted of Politics major Cassie James, Environment & Sustainability majors Eleanor King and Bryanna Eller, and Politics and Economics & Finance double-major Hannah Ryan. Politics professor Dr. Norris Feeney is Catawba’s campus coordinator.
“The commitment of our students as ethical, caring stewards of the environment was evident today in their presentations ranging from nuclear energy to protection of our oceans and rivers,” noted NCICU President Hope Williams in her closing remarks. “Their knowledge and understanding of the issues give me great faith in these future leaders.”
If you are interested in joining the Ethics Bowl team for next year, don’t hesitate to reach out to Dr. Feeney, or ask a current member!