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Dartmouth College Office of Public Affairs • Press Release
Some scholars can spend a lifetime wrangling with moral dilemmas and discussing points of ethical ambiguity. But for an ethics competition, speed and eloquence help a team win, as did the Dartmouth team last weekend at the Northeast Regional Ethics Bowl at Villanova University.
"This kind of competition is very different from debate in that it pushes people to find viable positions of compromise as well as tease out the underlying values and ethical principles that underlie both the law and our gut reactions," says team co-captain Tatyana Liskovich, a member of the Class of 2008.
Liskovich and her teammates, all members of the Dartmouth Ethics Society, practiced for weeks in preparation for the regional competition. They debated, sometimes bickered, and eventually learned to work together to develop well-thought-out analyses for each situation they examined. The case studies usually concern real-life examples of how ethical decisions are played out in society.
"I think the discussions we had at the competition involved some of the most controversial and important debates that our country is currently engaged in. From matters of asylum to creationism being taught in schools, it was very important to think about the policy implications of ethics," says Liskovich. "I love the Ethics Bowl for the opportunity to take ethics out of the classroom abstract and apply it to real-world scenarios."
Aine Donovan, the executive director of Dartmouth's Ethics Institute, coaches the team.
"I'm proud of our team," Donovan says. "The students worked hard, and they were well prepared. They were quick on their feet, and it showed when they presented their cases. The dedication and hard work these kids exhibit is truly inspiring. They spend an extraordinary amount of time working together as a team to develop positions on some of the thorniest issues of the day."
The top performers in the ten regional competitions will meet in February 2008 at the national championships in San Antonio, Texas. This event is held in conjunction with the Seventeenth Annual Meeting of the Association for Practical and Professional Ethics (APPE). Judges at both the regional and national competitions include nationally recognized scholars. Teams are evaluated for their ability to quickly work through difficult issues and craft responses that represent a consensus of opinion.
The team is looking forward to the national event in Texas. Conversations around ethics never seem to get old.
"My teammates are some of the most dynamic and lively people I have ever met at Dartmouth. Their commitment was apparent to me as we continued to discuss the case studies on the way back to campus after the regionals at Villanova," says Liskovich.
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