Ethical Aggies go for the gold
Cameron students discussed issues relevant to today’s society at the second annual Ethics Bowl from 1-5 p.m. on Oct. 31 in Cynthia S. Ross Hall.
The Cameron Forensics team of Nicholas Pasternak, Danny McQuarters and Jonathon Good received first place. Wonder Women of Savannah Price, Steven Haber and Amber Smith received second place, and Cameron Forensics of Olivia Polynice, Samai “Rose” Bataa and Michelle Polynice received third place. Place holders received trophies and gift certificates, ranging from $100 to $500, to Follett Books.
Welcoming all students of all majors, the Ethics Bowl featured 24 Lawton community leaders who served as judges of the eight teams. The judges graded the teams on their analyses of the ethics of six different cases provided by the National Ethics Association.
First place winner Danny McQuarters, a junior with a double-major in political science and public relations, said it was fun to voice his opinion about the various cases.
“…in debate,” he said, “it’s usually really argumentative, and I noticed in these rounds it’s very different. We got to actually agree with the other side that we were competing with, so I mean, that was good to actually communicate about a specific issue rather than just debate you’re wrong; I’m right.”
McQuarters said a couple of the cases addressed whether people should “limit others’ liberties in order to protect child safety,” and his favorite was the “Smokin’ Ride” case.“‘Should a parent be allowed to smoke in a car with a child?’” McQuarters said, “…We disagree with that; we said, ‘No they shouldn’t be allowed…”Dr. Sylvia Burgess, Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs, said the Ethics Bowl teaches students to think critically.
“It’s not a debate…,” Burgess said. “They’re goal is to outline the ethical issues and talk about the pros and cons and talk about the ethical background, and they can point out famous philosophers and their perspectives…they can point out the authority that is out there.”
Burgess said the bowl also teaches students to be open-minded.
“One of the most important things,” she said, “I have to say, a student can learn is that there’s always, always at least two sides to every issue…if you argue against yourself on any argument…you can learn how to be very reasonable and rational and logical and persuasive because you can out think the person that’s on another side of something…”
Burgess said the students can take the skills they learn and apply them to their lives. “…ethics is such a compelling issue anymore,” she said. “There are a number of different departments who have courses in ethics, but what this [Ethics Bowl] does is, it takes real life situations that you read about in the newspaper, you’re faced with every day.
“I mean, manufacturing clothes using child labor in Bangladesh, for example…what are the ethics of those things, and what are the ethics of those of us who buy those clothes at stores in America? Some people really don’t think about it.”
Since community leaders are the judges, Burgess said the bowl is a good way to showcase the students’ abilities.
“…it’s just an extraordinary opportunity for community leaders to see our students at their best,” she said, “…they’re talking about ethics, which is something that is very important to people who own businesses; they want people with a work ethic with enthusiasm…
“It’s also a really great opportunity for the students to have something amazing to put on their resumes…we have lots of students end up visiting community leaders about potential internships or job opportunities…”
Although the Ethics Bowl is a competition, Burgess said it also serves to promote ethics to the community.
“The whole goal is to get not just a campus-wide but a community-wide discussion on how should we be thinking about this [ethical dilemma] and how do other people feel about it,” she said, “and we really should be talking about these things…It should frame how we go through our lives and the ethical decisions we have to make every day…”
Tags Vicky Smith
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