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Virginia Students to Debate Ethics and Journalism

Top Business and Community Leaders to Judge Student Team Arguments

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Students from 15 of Virginia's leading independent colleges and universities will debate issues of ethics and journalism at the 10th annual statewide collegiate Wachovia Ethics Bowl on Feb. 8-9 at Washington and Lee University.

The competition is sponsored by the Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges (VFIC) and Wachovia. Roger Mudd, a Washington and Lee alumnus, author and former journalist for CBS and The History Channel, and Ken Garren, Lynchburg College president, are co-chairs.

Teams of three to five students from the 15 VFIC colleges will be paired in head-to-head competition that will be judged by panels of distinguished leaders from across Virginia. Notables from the business sector, law, finance, journalism and other fields will listen to team presentations and offer reactions as the students consider case studies highlighting journalism dilemmas.

"Wachovia continues to be a proud supporter of the VFIC Ethics Bowl," said Bill Crawford, Wachovia executive vice president and VFIC board member. "This unique event allows prominent business and community leaders to interact with dynamic students who will be the leaders of tomorrow. The topic of journalism is quite appropriate given the recent election news coverage, and we expect this year's program to be an energetic and engaging sharing of ethical perspectives and values."

Ned Moore, president of the VFIC, called the Ethics Bowl "a one-of-a-kind forum that allows some of Virginia's most promising students to work with many of the state's most recognized business and community leaders. The topic of the 2009 program is timely, as we are bombarded by the media on a daily basis--it will be interesting to look at reporting trends in the nation through case studies of jobs done under trying and complicated circumstances."

The Ethics Bowl program will commence with an opening session on Sunday, Feb. 8, at 3 p.m. in the Stackhouse Theater of Washington and Lee's John W. Elrod University Commons. The first round of debates is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. A special reception and dinner will follow honoring Mudd, a long-time VFIC trustee. The public is invited to attend the debate sessions free of charge. There is a cost for the reception and dinner Sunday evening.

On Monday, Feb. 9, rounds three and four will begin at 8:30 a.m. The final round of competition will take place at 11:30 a.m. in the Stackhouse Theater. The winning team will be announced at 12:45 p.m. on Monday.

The team from Mary Baldwin College took home the trophy at the 2008 Wachovia Ethics Bowl.

"The Ethics Bowl event continues to provide opportunities for students to apply the ethical decision-making skills they've been developing through their coursework and test their belief systems," notes Garren. "Each of us is affected and influenced by different forms of journalism every day. We have no doubt that this year's special anniversary event will stimulate healthy debates about ethical behavior in journalism as well as magnify the importance of the free flow of information that is vital to a well-informed citizenry."

Founded in 1952, the Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges is a nonprofit fund-raising partnership supporting the programs and students of 15 leading private colleges in the Commonwealth: Bridgewater College, Emory & Henry College, Hampden-Sydney College, Hollins University, Lynchburg College, Mary Baldwin College, Marymount University, Randolph College, Randolph-Macon College, Roanoke College, Shenandoah University, Sweet Briar College, University of Richmond, Virginia Wesleyan College and Washington and Lee University. For additional information on the VFIC, visit