Dartmouth Wins Northeast Regional Ethics Competition

What is the ethical basis of the death penalty? Should puppy mills be banned? How should society dispose of the dead? These were just a few of the difficult ethical questions that were posed as case studies at the Northeast Regional Ethics Bowl competition held at Union College in Schenectady, N.Y. After wrestling with topics including Quran burning and attractiveness discrimination in hiring, Dartmouth’s team took the top title against 14 other teams assembled for the November event.

Dartmouth students (from left) Annie Lape '13, Erich Hartfelder '12, Matt Jorgensen '12, Shengzhi Li '12, and Amanda Young ’15 took first place at the Northeast Regional Ethics Bowl competition. (photo courtesy Dartmouth Ethics Team)

Aine Donovan, research associate professor and director of Dartmouth’s Ethics Institute, has coached the team for 10 years. “The ethics bowl competition helps students analyze, interpret, and put forward solutions to some of the thorniest issues in society today,” she says.

Matt Jorgensen ’12, president of Dartmouth’s Ethics Society who joined the team as a first-year student, says, “The Ethics Society always attracts a diverse and thoughtful group of students who might not have come together in another context. We discuss cases as a team and have fascinating discussions together with Professor Donovan.”

Jorgensen notes that the most challenging aspect of the competition was reconciling opinions as a team to present a single argument to the judges.

In addition to Jorgensen, students participating in the competition were: Erich Hartfelder ’12, Annie Lape ’13, Shengzhi Li ’12, and Amanda Young ’15. Other members of the Ethics Team include John Howard ’15, Svati Narula ’14, Mimi Rich ’12, Connie Shange ’13, Michelle Shu ’13, and Muhammed Zain-Ul-Abideen ’12.

In their next matchup, the team will move on to face 32 other ethics squads at the 16th Intercollegiate National Ethics Bowl Competition to be held in Cincinnati, Ohio, on March 1, 2012, in hopes of securing the national title.