Moravian Finishes Strong in Regional Ethics Competition

The Moravian Debate Team recently placed fifth of twenty teams at the Northeast Regional Ethics Bowl. From left: Abby Kaintz '12, Ruby Johnson '11, Jaclyn Held '12, Theodore Zaharchuk '11, and Bernie Cantens, team advisor and associate professor of philosophy. Photo by Michael Wilson

The Moravian Debate Team won two cases against formidable opponents on its way to the quarter finals and a fifth place finish at the Northeast Regional Ethics Bowl competition, held at Dartmouth College November 20.

The fifth place finish out of twenty teams is the best Moravian has ever placed in debate competition since Moravian began debating in 2008. In the first round, Moravian beat St. John's University in a case that dealt with a complicated insurance issue: whether investors ought to be prohibited from buying variable annuity contracts on behalf of terminally ill patients as a way to profit from insurance companies. In the second round case, whether bullfighting in Spain ought to be prohibited, Moravian won against Buffalo State University. Jaclyn Held '12 was the presenter in the first two rounds. Theodore Zaharchuk '11, Ruby Johnson '11 and Abby Kaintz '12 all participated in the rebuttals.

Debate team advisor Bernie Cantens, associate professor of philosophy, recalled the exciting third round case that pitted Moravian's Jackie Held against a student from Marist College. "Jackie did an outstanding job presenting the environmental issues related to a controversial dam project in Brazil. Marist presented their case in only five minutes. I was certain we had won it and surprised to find that the decision went against us. As a result, we went against Dartmouth, the home team, in the quarter finals and lost."

Energized by its strong finish, the Moravian team is eager to return next year. "I'm so proud of the students," said Cantens. "They were extremely well prepared. We went home with a new sense of confidence and I believe we will do even better next year."

The Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl is a team competition that combines the excitement of a tournament with an innovative approach to education in ethics for undergraduate students. In September, each team receives a set of 15 cases and must prepare an analysis of each case. The cases range in topics, including law, medicine, business, public policy, and personal life. At the competition, a moderator poses questions based on one of the cases. Judges rate the teams on intelligibility of their arguments, focus on ethically relevant considerations, avoidance of ethical irrelevance, and deliberative thoughtfulness.