January 15, 2016

New RSO Will Compete to Answer Ethical Questions

At the start of January, Kayla Boling, a first-year in the College, registered the Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl (IEB) as an RSO for the 2016–17 school year.

The IEB is a team competition that provides students with the opportunity to discuss and debate relevant societal issues regarding practical and professional ethics in a safe, constructive environment. The competition is organized by the Association for Practical and Professional Ethics (APPE).

In an Ethics Bowl competition, teams of three to five students field ethical problems in areas from politics to dating and personal relationships. The 2012 Ethics Bowl Championship asked students to consider the ethical implications of aggressive cigarette warnings and of infidelity carried out entirely through characters in online video games.

Judges evaluate the students’ responses, weighing their “intelligibility, focus on ethically relevant considerations, avoidance of ethical irrelevance, and deliberative thoughtfulness,” according to APPE’s website.

Boling participated in the National High School Ethics Bowl during her senior year of high school and is excited to continue on to IEB. She hopes the club will advance ethical and social awareness on the UChicago campus.

“UChicago is an intellectually rich environment,” Boling said. “I thought that a lot of people here would be interested in taking all the ethics and philosophy we so often talk about and applying those concepts to addressing today’s pressing issues in society.”

According to Boling, seven members and a faculty adviser were needed to register, but over 20 students have already expressed interest in the RSO. Since teams usually range in size from five to six people, Boling is confident that the RSO will have more than enough students to send a team to a regional IEB competition next November. In the Upper Midwest Regional Ethics Bowl, the team would compete against Loyola University Chicago and University of Wisconsin–Madison, among other schools.

“I think that the Ethics Bowl brings a totally unique combination of thoughtful discussion of ethics and social issues with competition. It is my hope that the Ethics Bowl will flourish here and continue on for years to come,” Boling said.

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