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Regional Ethics Bowl and Ethics Week endure

2020-11-04-EthicsWeek
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the annual ethics bowl will be conducted virtually from Nov. 6-7 via Zoom with UNG acting as the host school. The collegiate competition occurs in tandem with the annual University System of Georgia (USG) Ethics Awareness Week, Nov. 9-15.

The answers to two questions determined whether or not the University of North Georgia (UNG) would host the 2020 Mid-Atlantic Regional Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl Competition.

"We asked ourselves, 'Can we cancel? Yes.' Then we asked, 'Should we cancel? No,'" said Rose Procter, director of the BB&T Center for Ethical Leadership at UNG. "That decision was the turning point. We thought, 'We can do this. We can keep it going.'"

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the annual ethics bowl will be conducted virtually from Nov. 6-7 via Zoom with UNG acting as the host school. The collegiate competition occurs in tandem with the annual University System of Georgia (USG) Ethics Awareness Week, Nov. 9-15.

Highlighted by the USG, the week's purpose, and the theme "Spirit of USG: Celebrating Our Ethical Culture," is to remind employees of the system's commitment to an ethical culture and its shared core values and expectations. USG Chancellor Steve Wrigley has emphasized the importance of an ethical culture in a video.

"Our culture is very important to the success of not only our institutions, but our employees, students, communities and ultimately how Georgia is educated, which makes it very important to me, and hopefully to all of our leaders across the USG," Wrigley said.

The decision to still hold the Ethics Bowl pleased the 13 student members of UNG's two Ethics Bowl teams.

"I was excited obviously that we were able to do it, but I was curious to see how it would happen," said Andres Perez, a member of the Ethics Bowl team and a senior pursuing degrees in marketing and management from Duluth, Georgia. "After hearing how it would occur and what we would have to do, I became much more open and excited about the bowl. While it is different from the norm, I appreciate them doing everything they can in order for us to get this experience."

Procter, who is also an ethics bowl team coach for UNG, explained the Mid-Atlantic Regional Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl will provide students a forum to discuss and debate current ethical issues in a safe environment. For example, this year cases range from mandatory wearing of masks and online education to social justice and racial tensions.

"Through the bowl, we have a platform to safely and progressively discuss these challenges our nation is facing and get to the heart of difficult conversations," Procter said. "There is no better place to create a forum to have that conversation than in higher education."

About 120 college students from 15 different schools will compete. More than 80 judges have volunteered to monitor the contest's six rounds of ethical discussion.

During Ethics Awareness Week, UNG emphasizes the institution's values of excellence, integrity, student-focus, service and engagement. In October and November, UNG hosted a number of virtual training sessions and activities for cabinet members, faculty and staff. On Nov. 9, the BB&T Center for Ethical Leadership will provide a professional development program on ethics for the UNG Women's Network.

Jill Holman, director of internal audit and UNG's institutional representative for USG's Ethics Week, said "To me, being ethical is doing the right thing at all times, even when no one is looking. At UNG, we are committed to promoting an ethical culture. We take this opportunity each year to focus on our core values and encourage ethical decision-making among our staff, faculty and students. We strive to always be good stewards of the resources entrusted to us."

USG will also host an Ethics & Compliance Best Practices Panel from 10-11 a.m. Friday, Nov. 13, via Zoom. Registration is online. 

The USG is committed to the highest ethical and professional standards of conduct in pursuit of its mission to create knowledge. Accomplishing this mission demands integrity, good judgment and dedication to public service from all members of the USG community.

Ethics Awareness Week is part of a comprehensive USG Ethics and Compliance Program. The program includes a system-level Ethics Policy and Code of Conduct, on-board ethics training, periodic ethics refresher training, compliance audits, special reviews and an Ethics and Compliance Reporting Hotline across all 26 USG institutions, including UNG.

 

 

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