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Ethics Bowl team competes in regional

Is gay conversion therapy discriminatory or valid? Should it be available to individuals distressed about their orientation who would like to change that?

Does student loan forgiveness unjustly privilege college students over other members of society?

Does the artistic merit of some graffiti justify lifting the legal penalties against it?

These were among the questions the IU Ethics Bowl Team had to answer at the Central States Regional Ethics Bowl Competition on Nov. 3. IU debated with teams from Taylor, DePauw and Illinois Wesleyan universities and placed fifth overall in the competition. This competition was one of 10 regionals; the top teams from each advance to a National Ethics Bowl competition held in conjunction with the annual meeting of the Association for Practical and Professional Ethics.

Members of IU's 2012 Ethics Bowl team

Members of IU's 2012 Ethics Bowl team

The Ethics Bowl is a method of involving undergraduate students in deliberating about and seeking to resolve difficult ethical cases and controversies. IU has fielded a team for over 10 years and established a reputation for presenting nuanced and complex moral arguments. Although the IU team will not advance this year, Ethics Bowl team coach Cheryl Cottine says, "Our team members truly represented IU well at regionals, displaying the sorts of reasoning skills that the Ethics Bowl competition strives to cultivate in its participants. One of the judges from the first round of completion was impressed with the IU rebuttal, calling it 'truly masterful,' and awarding it a perfect score."

Sponsor Richard Miller, director of the Poynter Center, added, "I am extremely proud of the team's demonstrable skills in moral reasoning and intellectual seriousness. I'm pleased with what the team accomplished and anticipate them coming back strong in next season's competition."

The fall 2012 Ethics Bowl Team members were:

  • David Gordon-Johnson, a sophomore from Cincinnati, Ohio. He is a voice and theater major, studying with Timothy Noble at the Jacobs School of Music.
  • Rachel Green, a sophomore from Memphis, Tenn. She is double-majoring in English and psychology.
  • Grant Manon, a sophomore from Kendallville, Ind. He is majoring in finance and interdepartmental political science and economics. Manon was a member of the 2011-12 Ethics Bowl team.
  • Paul Gilson, a sophomore from Indianapolis. He is majoring in finance with minors in Spanish and psychology.
  • Justin Mills, a sophomore from Floyds Knobs, Ind. He is majoring in philosophy and is in the Liberal Arts and Management Program.

Cottine is a doctoral candidate in religious studies. Faculty advisor Sandy Shapshay is an assistant professor in philosophy, and Miller is Provost Professor of Religious Studies.