Xavier Magazine

Bowling for Ethics

Students always spend their weekends debating difficult choices. Which party should I go to? Should I get up now or sleep a few more hours? Should I do laundry or are these clothes clean enough? A few students, though, spent a weekend in November pondering tougher questions. Five students participated in the 11th annual Central States Regional Ethics Bowl at Marian University in Indianapolis, presenting and defending ethical arguments. Although it was Xavier’s first time participating in the competition, the team had an impressive finish, tying Belmont University for fifth in the competition.

“We brought our collective team strengths of logic, knowledge of the cases and our preparations for arguments,” says fourth-year student Ashley Taylor. “Because it was our first time competing, we were unfamiliar with the competition setup and debate methodology, but now we know for next year.”

Sponsored by the Center for Organizational Ethics at Marian University, Vectren Energy and the Association for Practical and Professional Ethics, students from various schools spent the day presenting their sides of tough and tricky cases—ranging from health care to school policies to business decisions to discrimination issues.

Students were judged by business executives, college professors, lawyers and entrepreneurs on logic, clarity, depth and focus of their team argument, as well as on the team’s ability to refute the opposing school’s argument. “The experiences of presenting a clearly thought-out argument and responding to other thought-out positions shape students into good critical thinkers and train them in respectful dialogue with others,” says Karen Spear, assistant professor of philosophy at Marian and director of the Center for Organizational Ethics.

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