The Student Scoop: The 7th Annual Ethics Bowl Goes Virtual!

The Student Scoop: The 7th Annual Ethics Bowl Goes Virtual!

Contributed by KIE Student Assistant, Josiah Youngblood. For more information on the Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl, see here.

This year’s 7th Annual Ethics Bowl hosted by the Kegley Institute of Ethics was one for the record books. Not only was The 7th Annual Ethics Bowl hosted virtually via Zoom, but it was also chock full of energy, perplexing questions, and of course amazing teams to step up to these ethical dilemmas and put their minds to the test.

To start off, this year’s teams truly put “the Ethics” in the Ethics Bowl! First, the ASI Team: Aaron Wan, Gurnaaz Deol, Roxanne Esparza, Candice Livingston, and Myles Howard, were up against the formidable Philosophy Team, Quinn Thurley and Eric Pytlak.

Michael Burroughs, Rhonda Dugan, and Mike Kwon served as judges to ultimately decide who would take home the prize. Both groups were strong competitors, but only one team could claim the $50 Amazon gift cards for each of the winning team members!

The first round began with the Philosophy team winning the coin toss by Nate Olson and electing to present their argument first. The first case study to be argued was:

“Is it ethical to take academic enhancement drugs if not prescribed?”

The Philosophy team had 2 minutes and 30 seconds to swiftly devise a response. After returning from a Zoom breakout room, the Philosophy team was ready to apply their ethics to the problem. The teams gave a compelling stance on the permissibility of these kinds of drugs in some cases and explained their reasoning. Afterwards, it was the second phase of round one: The Commentary from the ASI team.

The ASI separated into a breakout room and returned ready to analyze the Philosophy team’s ideas. The ASI team provoked many intriguing ideas about access and privilege, causing the Philosophy team to reflect deeply on their argument’s framework. This was followed by the next to last phase: The response of the Philosophy team.

Having a moment to compose their thoughts, the Philosophy team clarified their original points in the argument and helped alleviate some of the pressure on their side of the topic. Then it came time for the final part of the first round:  the judges’ Q and A. The judges asked specific questions about who was supplying these types of medications and drugs and what is the socio-economic standpoint on who can access these drugs. Is it fair that certain groups of people may be able to take such mentally stimulating medications whereas other groups may not have that opportunity? The Philosophy team gave it all they had, but before anyone knew it the round had ended.

The second round started strong with everyone ready for the next question. In this round, the ASI team was the one being asked to explain their position on the question:

“Should students be able to opt out of mandatory student fees?”

As soon as the ASI team had discussed their viewpoint, they brought many aspects of the question to light, from topics like inclusivity on campus, all the way to sides like the financial reasoning behind why a student may want to “opt out of mandatory student fees”. Then in a flash, it was already phase two: The Philosophy team’s commentary. The Philosophy team homed in on the questions of freedom of speech and challenged the ASI team’s answers. Starting phase three, the ASI team articulated their precise conclusion to build an argument framework that clearly stated their opinion and dove into human rights and the freedom of speech and expression. Already at the final phase: The judges asked thought provoking questions on how opting out of student fees can hurt the college community as a whole, so why allow it? Additionally, they asked for clarification on who qualifies as a student who can opt out of certain student payments due to financial pressures? The ASI team did a great job of answering to the best of their abilities and working together to achieve a strong conclusion on the argument.

Then, the moment everyone had been waiting for was the judges’ final decision on who would take home the prize. The judges had created their own break-out room to discuss who would be the winning team of the 7th Annual Ethics Bowl. After a short period of time, the judges returned with the results: earning one judge’s vote was the ASI team followed by the Philosophy team earning two of the judges’ votes! The winner had been selected; this year’s 7th Annual Ethics Bowl winners are Quinn Thurley and Eric Pytlak!

This year had quite the twist being completely virtual over Zoom, but all in all turned into a very exciting and memorable experience. From insightful commentary to the structural breakdowns of the arguments, this year was one that won’t be forgotten. Congratulations to this year’s winners and we hope to see you, whether it be in person or in the virtual world, on the next Annual Ethics Bowl!