UCCS students competing at National Ethics Bowl

Rocky Mountain Regional Ethics Bowl competition, UCCS Team, Nov. 2022

Should a high school basketball team rein in its scoring against a weaker opponent? Should artists’ copyrighted creations be fair game for tattoos? Is separating students by abilities a modern form of segregation?

The UCCS A Ethics Bowl team competes at the Association for Practical and Professional Ethics (APPE) Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl (IEB) next month, debating complex issues like whether or not forced retirement is discriminatory, who should have access to real-life invisibility cloaks and more.

Held in Portland, Oregon, the competition takes place from March 4-5 with 36 teams competing. Unlike debate, Ethics Bowl does not give each team a “pro” or “con” side to an argument but instead asks them to determine and analyze possible ethical ramifications from a scenario and explore them through civil discourse with their competitors. Students are judged by “their ability to identify and analyze the ethical dimensions of each case in a clear, focused, and thoughtful manner and with an appreciation for varied perspectives.”

The UCCS team placed second during the Rocky Mountain Regional Ethics Bowl last November, which qualified them for the IEB. Students Anthony Kennedy, Bailey Eisel, Carter Rinaldi and Lauren Rock make up the team, coming from various UCCS programs including Philosophy, Pre-Law, History, Political Science, University Studies and Dance. It’ll be the first Ethics Bowl for each student.

“Like in life, the Ethics Bowl cases are complex, emotional and difficult to resolve,” said Jennifer Kling, assistant professor in the philosophy department and the team coach. “Our goal with the Ethics Bowl is to help students see the value of continuing to engage with others despite difference, to understand more about views that differ from their own, and to help students think of collaborative solutions to solve societal problems.”

She continued, “Our team’s success demonstrates UCCS’s commitment to ethics and civics education—in a time of deep polarization, our students are proving their ability to engage in difficult, productive dialogues about the real-world issues that matter most. They are not only interrogating their own and others’ assumptions and discussing them, but also then putting forward constructive, ethical solutions that attempt to account for others’ concerns and that could be pragmatically implemented.”

Read the full list of cases to be debated here.

About the Association for Practical and Professional Ethics

The Association for Practical and Professional Ethics (APPE) is an international nonprofit membership organization that supports research, training, and education in practical and professional ethics. It was founded in 1991 to encourage interdisciplinary scholarship and teaching among educators and practitioners. APPE hosts an annual conference and the APPE Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl® each February. Since 2017 APPE has been housed at the Prindle Institute for Ethics at DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana. Learn more at www.appe-ethics.org.