2 Wins for Ethics Team

The Ethics Debate Team practices for the last time on Nov. 11 before the competition at Clemson University on Nov. 14. Credit: Shellie Smitley.
The Ethics Debate Team practices for the last time on Nov. 11 before the competition at Clemson University on Nov. 14. (Photo: Shellie Smitley)

By Inesha Howard | Staff Writer

The names of team members are listed on the plaque above for GRU’s Ethics Debate Team. They won two- out-of-three debates on Nov. 14. Credit: Samantha Carr.
The names of team members are listed on the plaque above for GRU’s Ethics Debate Team. They won two- out-of-three debates on Nov. 14. (Photo: Samantha Carr)

Samantha Carr, an English major, is one of five students who represented Georgia Regents University on Nov. 14 in the Mid-Atlantic Regional Ethics Bowl at Clemson University.

“We won two out of three (debates)… because we worked really hard,” Carr said.

The panel of judges consisted of some of Clemson University’s professors.

According to newsstand.clemson.edu, winners of the Regional Ethics Bowl will compete in the National Ethics Bowl.

Carr said the teams had to argue six cases in the preliminary rounds, three of which each team determined their own stance, and then they argued against three cases in which other teams formed their own stances.

The two-out-of-three wins were not enough to qualify the team to compete in the semi-final round.

“It was good, we actually did really well,” Leila Zugasen, a political science major said. “It was like really close, it was tied and then one (judge) decided that we lost by like nine points.”

Steven Weiss, associate professor of philosophy, said strengths the Augusta team possessed were that the members worked really well as a group and played off of each other.

“When you look at other teams, there was about one or two people speaking and those are the people who prepped that case,” Weiss said. “Our students have discussed these cases so much that we did have the lead person but everyone was able to chime in.”

Daniel Williams, an English major, said preparing for the competition involved rigorous and tedious research of 15 cases that involved “log-jam” situations. The team met every Sunday for a month in order to prepare and turned in drafts of work once a week.

“We didn’t go in it to necessarily win,” Carr said.  “It helped us with our research skills, confidence, team work and collaboration. It promotes better writing and thinking skills. It teaches acceptance of diversity (and) all kinds of stuff. It is so important.”

Members of the team are enrolled in the class Contemporary Ethical Behavior (PHIL 3003). The Ethics Bowl takes place once a year and the class is open to all majors.
Weiss said the class is offered every fall and that he would love to see freshmen and sophomores take it in 2016.  He said questions regarding the class can be addressed to him at sweiss@gru.edu.

“You have to be an enrolled student, absolutely, but you don’t necessarily have to be enrolled in the class,” Weiss said. “We can accommodate a student who didn’t want to necessarily enroll in the class. It would make it more difficult because the students usually meet during class times.”

Williams said that Weiss did not sway the decisions the team made but he was a mentor and coach. Weiss showed them how to argue and helped them take a round look at things. Weiss said he was unsure if Augusta will host the event in the future.

“It requires a lot of time planning, resources and finances,” Weiss said. “At Clemson, they have what’s called the Rutland Center for Ethics, so they have a whole staff of people.”

Although he said SGA is supportive, Weiss said he paid all of his expenses out of pocket.

“I don’t know from year to year how we’re going to finance our team, we have to figure that out every year but SGA has been very supportive in giving us funds.”

Weiss said that he is always worried about how the team will be funded.  He said that he would like to have committed funding to cover basic travel expenses for the students.

“One student told me that he was dreading this weekend, but after it was over he said that it was the best weekend he had in a long time,” Weiss said.

Contact Inesha Howard at: icarruth@gru.edu. Shellie Smitley contributed to this story.

Published on January 28, 2016 in Volume 58, Issue 5 of The Bell Ringer newspaper. 

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One thought on “2 Wins for Ethics Team

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