Schreiner University Ethics Team Moves on to Nationals

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Fourth place finish in Regionals earns invitation to Nationals

Ethics Bowl - TrophyKerrville, TX – On Saturday, Nov 15, Schreiner University traveled to St. Mary’s University in San Antonio to compete against 26 other teams from across Texas and Oklahoma in the 22nd Annual Texas Regional Ethics Bowl, held every year since 1997. Schreiner University finished in fourth place earning them an invitation to the National competition in Feb 2020.

In a competition over 5 hours, consisting of three matches with two ethical dilemma cases per match, the Schreiner University team – Matthew Walton, Jessie Leal and Victoria Tribino – went undefeated, placing fourth in the competition, with a one-point tiebreaker differential between them and the third-place finisher. University Honor students Matthew Walton and Victoria Tribino are from Fredericksburg; Jessie Leal is from San Antonio. Leal is also student body president.

Hundreds of students and teams across the United States and Canada compete in 12 competitions during the fall and with the wins and tournament placement in the Texas Regional Ethics Bowl, Schreiner University earned an invitation to the APPE Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl National Competition in Atlanta, Georgia on Saturday and Sunday, Feb 22-23, 2020 in conjunction with the Annual Association for Practical and Professional Ethics (APPE) International Conference, in further competition against 36 other regional winning teams.

The intercollegiate Texas Regional Ethics Bowl (TREB) is comprised of teams from various colleges and universities who square off against each other before a panel of judges and debate the issues of ethics cases. These cases come from various fields such as medicine, law, engineering, the environment, research, animal rights, socio-economic policy, warfare, business, private life, and more. Students receive cases about six weeks in advance and spend the time leading up to the event analyzing them in terms of the relevant principles and values.

Although similar to a debate, an Ethics Bowl has one major plus over traditional debate: Ethics Bowl teams decide for themselves how to evaluate the case. There are no “affirmative” and “negative” sides determined by a flip of a coin. Students have already worked through the issues on their own, not knowing for certain what questions they will answer.

They come prepared by being fully aware of what is at stake in each case. For each round, one team will present and the other will respond. Only at the beginning of the round does the presenting team learn which case they will discuss and hear the question they must answer. Each team has two minutes to prepare an answer, and up to 10 minutes to deliver their best arguments for it. The responding team then tries to poke holes in the arguments offered by the presenters. The presenting team gets to reply which is followed by questions from judges.

When the judges have secretly marked their score cards, the round continues with teams’ roles reversed and a new case. At the end of each such match-up between two teams, the winner of that round is announced. These rounds all take place concurrently in different rooms, so teams from one room will not know the results from other matchups. When one round is over, teams move to new rooms to compete against different teams.

At the Texas Regional Ethics Bowl, there are three such rounds in which everyone participates. At the national Ethics Bowl, there are six rounds, the final three being eliminations. Traditionally, there are between 18 to 24 teams at the regional event, and 42 at the national event.

For more information on Schreiner University’s Ethics Bowl team, please contact Jay McCormack, Visiting Assistant Professor of Business, at 830-792-7340 or jtmccormack@schreiner.edu.

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