Tigers win VFIC Ethics Bowl


Ethics Bowl winners

Ethics Bowl team members Osric Forrest ’12, Ryan Rivas ’15, Coaches Marc Hight and James Janowski, Baker Allen ’14, and Christopher Deen ’13.

For the third consecutive year, Hampden-­Sydney made it to the championship round of the Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges Ethics Bowl and this year it brought home the crown. Osric Forrest ’12, Ryan Rivas ’15, Baker Allen ’14, and Christopher Deen ’13 defeated Sweet Briar College in the final round to take the title for the first time in the competition’s 13-year history. During the last five years, the Tigers have posted an impressive 18-5 record.

The topic of this year’s competition, which was held at Shenandoah University, was “Ethics and Integrity in Campus Relationships.” ­Hampden-Sydney went undefeated in the preliminary rounds against Emory & Henry, Randolph-Macon, Mary Baldwin, and Lynchburg. Among the judges for the final round was retired journalist Roger Mudd, who has been on the VFIC Board of Trustees for 15 years.

“The VFIC Ethics bowl competition has been one of my most stimulating academic experiences,” says four-year team member Osric Forrest. “As a science major, I have found it even more beneficial to be able to discuss matters of ethics and morality that are often restricted to philosophy classes. I have enjoyed spending time with the team and the competition has improved my presentation and critical thinking skills.”

Philosophy professors Dr. Marc Hight and Dr. James Janowksi coach the Hampden-Sydney Ethics Bowl team. They practiced extensively with the students, and preparations for the tournament included mock debates with members of the Union-Philanthropic Literary Society. Dr. Hight says, “The members of the HSC Ethics Bowl team commit a considerable amount of time and energy to the event each year. We hold three practices a week for about two hours per session. Students research and write cases over the winter break. This year the team members also met independently to help one another with speaking and organizational issues. It has been a rewarding experience and I will miss the thrill of competing in the bowl every year.”

Dr. Hight adds, “The VFIC Ethics Bowl develops core critical thinking skills that complement the mission of H-SC. As a start, the program emphasizes reasoning about normative issues. Since the team needs to present a unified position in the debate rounds, team members must be open-minded and flexible when others disagree with them. The event is also an extemporaneous team speaking competition. Our students have to give speeches on complex topics with only a few minutes to formulate cogent positions. In short, the Ethics Bowl program highlights many of the virtues of the liberally educated young man.”

The annual VFIC Ethics Bowl began in 2000 as a way for students from the Foundation’s 15 member colleges to engage in lively debate and consideration of applied ethics, real-world dilemmas that affect peoples lives in complex ways. The tournament moves to a different host-school each year; the Tigers will defend their title in February 2013 on the campus of Randolph ­College in Lynchburg.