Ethics Bowl debates in Dallas

By: Ellen Siefke ~Head Copy Editor~

Photo courtesy of Adam Konopka | The Xavier Ethics Bowl team deliberates at the Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl Competition this past weekend. The team debated with three other universities over a number of issues, including trigger warnings on university campuses.

The Xavier Ethics Bowl team competed at the 21st Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl Competition Sunday in Dallas along with 36 other schools. Though the team failed to advance to the second round, members counted the weekend as a success after becoming the first Xavier squad in seven years to qualify for the competition.

The five-member team faced Tuffs University, West Point College and University of Nevada Las Vegas for a total of three rounds. During each round, two different cases are discussed, with one team presenting the issue and another team raising objections and a panel of judges moderating and scoring. Despite losing the first two rounds and tying the final round, sophomore captain Macey Gerster thinks all members gained valuable experience and grew as a team.

“Without having the opportunity to talk about these issues with other students from around the United States, we would not have been able to expand our ideas,” Gerster said.

She said their overall favorite round was against West Point, in which the cases discussed dealt with no-kill shelters and trigger warnings at universities.

“The debate was so cordial, and we were actually able to talk about the issue,” Gerster said. “Each team was interested in hearing what the other team had to say, and it really encompassed what Ethics Bowl meant. West Point was the one who won the overall competition, so the fact that we were able to keep up with them shows that we were a nationally competitive team.”

In particular, Gerster says that discussing the trigger warnings with the West Point team was rewarding because both teams had similar overall ideas but different qualifications for what constituted a good and fair use of trigger warnings at a university. She explained that West Point’s standards were slightly stricter than Xavier’s but still fairly permissive.

“[It was interesting] hearing that come from West Point, where their guidelines are obviously stricter than here,” Gerster said. “Seeing how the atmosphere at each college factored into their ideas was cool.”

The team spent the entire weekend, Friday through Sunday, in Dallas, though the members did not do much in the way of touristic activities. Gerster mentions that they spent almost all of Saturday, at least 10 hours, preparing the cases for the next day.

The competition ended the team’s 2016-2017 season. With Gerster as the only returning member for next year. Those interested should contact her or BESL chair and adviser Dr. Adam Konopka for more information.