CLEMSON — Clemson’s Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl team shared the winner’s circle with past national champion University of Miami at the third annual Mid-Atlantic Regional Ethics Bowl following an unprecedented tie in the final round of the competition. The event took place Saturday, Nov. 21, in Richmond, Va. On the way to the top, Clemson defeated the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, winner of the past two regional bowls. 

“I’m particularly impressed with the team because the roster is entirely new this fall and this was their first experience of a competition,” said Charles Starkey, associate professor in Clemson’s department of philosophy and religion and fellow of the Rutland Institute for Ethics. “Their presentations and teamwork were first-rate, which reflects the significant time and effort that the team put into preparing for the competition.”

For the regional competition, each team receives 15 case studies prior to the competition. Each case study involves an ethical dilemma on which the team must develop a position. In preparing the case, the members apply relevant ethical theories and do research that allows them to incorporate a host of relevant information such as legal principles, scientific facts and sociological observations that pertain to the case.

Two teams face off at a time, responding, in turn, to a case-specific question. After being critiqued by a competing team and responding to this critique, the team must respond to 10 minutes of questioning by a three-judge panel. The judges evaluate each team’s performance for clarity, its focus on ethically relevant factors, the strength and cogency of the arguments and deliberative thoughtfulness.

In winning the event, Clemson’s team qualified for the national competition in March in Cincinnati, Ohio. Clemson won the national title in 2008 and placed second in 2009.

Winning team members include:

  • Calla Jean, a junior political science major from Yorktown, Va.;
  • Anna Little, a sophomore mechanical engineering major from Anderson;
  • Margaret Nicholson, a senior English major from Myrtle Beach;
  • Kevin Payne, a senior economics major from Florence; and
  • Taylor Reeves, a sophomore English major from Liberty.

These Clemson students assisted the team: Yancey Appling, Nikesh Patel, Domonica Powell, Brad Saad and Kyle Turner.

The Ethics Bowl program is supported by the Rutland Institute for Ethics at Clemson University, the department of philosophy and religion and a grant from the Humanities Advancement Board of Clemson University.


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