Ethics Bowl continues winning streak, wins regional competition for fourth consecutive year

For the fourth consecutive year, Youngstown State University’s Ethics Bowl team is headed to the national finals after again placing first in the regional competition in Indianapolis.

The five-student Penguin team won the 20th Annual Central States Regional Ethics Bowl at Marian University in Indianapolis on Nov. 3 and will now compete in the 2019 National Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl in March in Baltimore.

Members of the winning YSU team are Samantha Fritz, Jacob Tomory, Brian Duricy, Eva Lamberson and Moataz Abdelrasoul.

Another YSU team finished fifth in the regional competition and also would have qualified for the national contest except that two teams from the same school are not allowed to move. Members of the second team are Kitwanna Bailey, Anna Maria Jadue, Erik Glasgow, Dorcas Gitimu and Nickiforos Mastorides.

“This is our first time doing this well with both teams,” said Alan Tomhave, associate professor and chair of the YSU Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies. “It was truly remarkable!”

Tomhave and Mark Vopat, professor of Philosophy and Religious Studies, are the teams’ coaches.

“This string of wins in regionals is remarkable, and to have both teams finish in the top 5 is really amazing,” said Bruce Waller, professor and former chair of Philosophy and Religious Studies. “There are no students anywhere who combine the intelligence and fortitude of YSU students, and it is a pleasure and an honor to be associated with them.”

The competition focuses on a set of 15 cases. Teams have slightly less than two months to study and research the cases. At the competition, teams do not know which of the 15 cases they will have to address, nor do they know the question that they will have to answer. Further, they are not allowed any notes on the research that they have done on any of the cases. Once a case is revealed and the question is asked, the team has either one or two minutes (depending on whether it is a regional or national Ethics Bowl) to prepare a presentation. The presentation must offer a moral argument to answer the question and consider potential objections to the team’s position. A second team then provides a commentary on the first team’s argument, with the original team then getting a chance to respond. Finally, there are three judges who get to ask questions. At this point, a new case is presented and the two teams reverse roles. This process would constitute one match, with an entire Ethics Bowl competition being composed of numerous matches.