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7th Annual Ethics Bowl Attracts Eight Contenders

May 5, 2010

      Montgomery College and Anne Arundel Community College (AACC) placed first and second, respectively, in the 7th Annual Ethics Bowl recently hosted by the AACC Honors Program, Legal Studies Institute and Philosophy Department.

      Eight teams from area colleges vied for the championship title. Howard Community College placed third in the event sponsored by the Hoffberger Center for Professional Ethics at the University of Baltimore.

      Also competing were teams from Baltimore City Community College and each of the three campuses of Baltimore County Community College (Catonsville, Dundalk and Essex). The University of Baltimore sent a noncompetitive team to balance the roster for the event.

      The Ethics Bowl challenges community college students to explore the same cases used in national competition by teams representing four-year colleges and universities. The cases often reflect current events and require students to identify moral and ethical dilemmas and justify opposing positions in their resolution.

      The topics were: punishing teenager “sexting” as child pornography; testing virtue by deception; using cognitive enhancement drugs to get a higher LSAT score; refusing to certify a student teacher based on information found on a social networking site; publicly disclosing identities of those who contribute to support or oppose controversial ballot measures; reporting by the national press of “facts” from fraudulent news sources; using partnerships between charitable organizations and convicted professional athletes to improve and restore their reputations; charging women more for health insurance based on their greater use of and need for medical care; producing meat synthetically; and encouraging physicians to participate in military interrogations that arguably involve torture.

      Teams received the cases in advance but did not know until the competition which cases they would address. No notes were allowed into the competition. Each team had three opportunities to initiate the discussion with a 10-minute presentation followed by a five-minute response from the opposing team and a five-minute concluding analysis by the presenting team. Panels of judges from educational institutions and the business community scored teams’ performances.

      Representing AACC were Tex Ellis of Annapolis, a first-year nursing major; Mercedes McCladdie of Baltimore City, a second-year English major; Oliver Minall of Bowie, a second-year engineering major; David Mueller of Glen Burnie, a second-year music major; and Marina Williams of Annapolis, a second-year philosophy and sculpture major.

      Assisting AACC students with their preparation were head coach Kevin Murphy, assistant professor of philosophy, and Monna Clark, J.D., professor of legal studies. They also coached last year’s team, which won the competition. Judges for AACC practice sessions were Rebecca Kajs, Ph.D., professor of English; Susan Wilson, adjunct professor of legal studies; and Katherine Voss, Honors assistant.

      For information on the competition, contact Murphy at 410-777-7244 or Clark at 410-777-7270.