Ethics Bowl tests students’ ethical acuity

Highlighter & Laureate,
Summer 2003





Below is a first-hand account of the University’s 2003 Ethics Bowl by Martin Leever, assistant professor of Philosophy. Leever leads the Ethics Bowl, which was held this year on January 24 at the Student Center. Students from each of the UDM schools and colleges participate in this event that tests students’ responses to ethical dilemmas. The situations posed to students are based on timely world or national events and issues of particular relevance to students. The Ethics Bowl at UDM is part of a network of national contests. The winning team from the UDM contest participated in a national Ethics Bowl in Charlotte, North Carolina last February.

Another UDM Ethics Bowl season has come and gone. Assessing and constructing arguments on moral issues from racial profiling Arab passengers at airports to reparations for African– Americans, 14 team teams of undergraduates from across UDM competed. E-crit made another strong showing as The E-Crit Media Crew (Mike Kuntz, Emily Freeman, Andrea Karpala and Fredrik Barash) took third place. Second place went to Team LASA—The Eyes of Themis (Jim Harley, Racine Miller, Mary Ware and Winfred Price). This year’s first place honors went to Raoul’s Raider’s (Frank Mucci, Chris Nowak, Kevin Peshl, Tony Smykla and Aaron Vranish).

Donning suits and ties, Chris Nowack, Kevin Peshl, Tony Smykla and Aaron Vranish represented UDM at the National Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl. Though they lost a close match to Seton Hall University, the students won the rest of their matches. While the Naval Academy took first place (beating Indiana University in championship match), UDM made a very strong showing. Indeed, of the universities from the state of Michigan, UDM had the best record, out-scoring both Western Michigan University and Oakland University. Among other things, this says quite a lot about the kind of education that UDM offers.

The value of the Ethics Bowl experience cannot be reduced to the discussion that goes on in the context of the official matches. Friendships were formed among teams from different universities. Moreover, long after the official competition had concluded, teams were gathered in the lobby of the hotel still debating the ethics cases.