Inside USD

USD Ethics Team Wins California Regional Title

Monday, December 15, 2008

Should undocumented students be allowed to attend public universities? Is it right for deployed soldiers to maintain custody of their children? What are the ethical concerns surrounding the production of bio-fuels? Most students may balk when asked these questions, but not University of San Diego’s Ethics team.

On December 6, USD placed first in the California Regional Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl. The team of students of A. J. Clarke, Megan Clift, Kyla Glover and Carolyn Straub competed against ten other schools from California at the National Hispanic University in San Jose. After beating California State University, Chico, in the final round, the USD team earned a spot to compete in the national competition in March.

Senior Kyla Glover attributes team work as a key component in achieving victory. “We were all very well prepared, and Carolyn is amazing when it comes time for the judges to grill us” said Glover “She comes up with these elaborate answers out of nowhere.”

“Our intense study of ethical theory and practical ethics and our hard training for this event paid off,” said USD Associate Professor of Philosophy Mark Woods. “I can’t begin to tell you how proud I am of the students. They earned this. It is a victory for USD and something the students will always carry with them.”

“He gave us tons of information to use. And I literally mean tons” Glover said regarding their advisor. “He found gigantic 800 page books and countless articles that he thought would help use to be better prepared.”

The USD team competed in five matches, each lasting 80 minutes . Matches pitted each team’s debating skills against their opponents. Knowledge of ethics in response to preselected questions ranged from personal ethical questions to professional and social issues. Each team prepared for a variety of questions beforehand. Once the question had been posed each team had one minute to come up with a response. Responses were judged based on intelligibility, focus on ethically relevant considerations, avoidance of ethical irrelevance, and deliberative thoughtfulness

“We believe strongly that the IEB fills a unique niche in practical and professional ethics education” Robert F. Ladenson from the Illinois Institute of Technology Center for Study of Ethics in the Professions.

The Intercollegiate Ethics competition started in 1998 as an intramural event at the Illinois Institute of Technology organized by its Center for the Study of Ethics in the Professions. It has now grown to be a national competition that now includes 10 regional bowls around the country prior to the national competition.

Business professionals have hailed the competition as a great way to prepare students entering the job market. “As an accountant, I will be taking my CPA exam starting in the summer.” said Glover. “The last section is an ethics test. I think I’ll nail it.”

For more information on the Ethics Bowl, go to

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