Published: November 28, 2011
By Jeannie Davis
CLEMSON — Clemson University’s Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl team took first place in the fifth annual Mid-Atlantic Regional Ethics Bowl championship. Clemson is one of four teams from the Mid-Atlantic Region advancing to the national championship in Cincinnati next March.
Other top finishers at the Nov. 19 competition at the University of Baltimore are Georgetown University, West Virginia University and the University of Maryland. The victory marks the third year in a row Clemson has taken home the regional trophy. The team won the national title in 2008 and followed that up with a second-place finish in 2009.
The team is coached by Kelly Smith, associate professor of philosophy and C. Calhoun Lemon Fellow of the Rutland Institute for Ethics.
“Clemson is a perennial powerhouse in the Ethics Bowl competitions, which is more impressive than you might think, since over 100 schools nationwide compete,” Smith said. “I am not joking when I say that other teams fear our orange shirts.”
Clemson’s team includes Nikki Powell, a senior microbiology major from Aiken; Courtney Dixon, a senior political science and philosophy major from Columbia; Yancey Appling, a junior microbiology major from Six Mile; Kyle Sporrer, a senior philosophy major from Manning, Iowa; and Eric Reeves, a senior political science major from Columbia.
The ethics bowl competition is a modified form of debate centering around 15 case studies designed to raise questions of practical and applied ethics. This year’s cases dealt with a wide variety of highly charged topics, including student voting rights, disposal of the dead, the rights of indigenous peoples, home schooling, gender identity, death by lethal injection and more. The students worked for about 10 weeks with their coach, a team of student assistants and faculty from the Rutland Institute for Ethics to explore every conceivable angle on each case, a process they will repeat next semester in preparation for the national championship.
The Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl competition is sponsored by the Association for Practical and Professional Ethics. Clemson’s Ethics Bowl team is sponsored by the philosophy and religion department and the Rutland Institute for Ethics. It receives support from the Humanities Advancement Board of the College of Architecture, Arts and Humanities.