By: Johnson C. Smith University

A team of six Johnson C. Smith University students will travel to Raleigh Feb. 10 and 11 for the annual North Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities’ (NCICU) Ethics Bowl.

“The team has been preparing since September,” said Dr. Laurie Porter, professor and chair of the Department of Communications at JCSU’s Ethics Bowl team co-coordinator. “The cases prepare the students to engage with topics that are being determined on the national and international level across a wide range of topics and areas of influence. Students on our team are becoming well-researched on issues in contemporary society and learning to defend their beliefs in a legal/professional setting in Raleigh.”

This year’s Ethics Bowl theme is “Ethics in Contemporary Society,” which focuses on issues such as artificial intelligence, mental health and non-fungible tokens (NFTs). This will be the first in-person competition since 2020.

“The Ethics Bowl is both academically challenging and an individually rewarding experience for our students,” said NCICU President Hope Williams. “Determining ethical responses to complex situations leads to personal awareness and valuable discussion among team members and participating business and community leaders.”

Each of the 16 Ethics Bowl teams has four-to-six student members. The competition will consist of four rounds over the two days, plus semi-final and final rounds. In each round, a specially developed case study outlining a complex ethical situation related to the theme will be presented to the teams for debate. Each match is awarded to the team that makes the most sound, persuasive presentation. Three judges and one moderator participate in each match. Approximately 60 business and non-profit and government professionals have volunteered to fill those roles.

JCSU’s team includes Brandi Barron ’23 (Communication Arts), Madison Booker-Smith ’23 (Computer Engineering), Sydlie Fleurimond ’23 (Poli-Sci/Pre-Law), Jaelyn Gartrell ’23 (English & Cultural Studies), Jackson Kakwenya ’23 (Computer Engineering) and Alonia Latimore ’24 (Political Science). Dr. Kendal P. Mobley, associate professor of Religion and coordinator of JCSU’s Spiritual Life Center, serves as a co-coordinator for the team alongside Porter.

The NCICU Ethics Bowl is made possible by sponsorships that allow students to participate at no cost to themselves or their institutions. JCSU’s team is sponsored by Duke Energy.

“Students consistently cite the NCICU Ethics Bowl as a highlight of their college experience,” Williams said. “We deeply appreciate the corporate and civic leaders who make this event possible through financial contributions and by volunteering their time as judges and moderators.”

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