Westminster Student Ethics Team Surprises National Competitors With Unexpected 2nd Place Finish at National Ethics Bowl
March 26, 2007
Westminster Defeats Texas A&M, the U.S. Naval Academy, and Clemson University
Westminster College’s ethics bowl team took 2nd in the country at the Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl championship in Cincinnati, Ohio. It was Westminster’s first experience at a national ethics bowl.
Westminster’s ethics team competed against Texas A&M, the U.S. Naval Academy, and Clemson University, among others—all in one day. The competition was tough; in most cases Westminster’s four team members went up against a five-member team, and many of those teams had been to the national playoffs before.
Westminster matched wits with other teams who (like Westminster) had advanced through local and regional competitions to earn a slot in the national championship. Rather than screen passes and fast breaks, they used critical and analytical thinking skills to struggle over moral challenges and dilemmas associated with issues such as cage fighting, policing prostitution, affirmative action in post-apartheid South Africa, military recruitment strategies, and parents’ rights to track children’s actions via cell phones equipped with GPS devices.
The team’s first match ended in victory over Texas A&M, the second, a victory over Navy. By the end of the morning, Westminster was 3-0. An elimination round came next to determine which eight teams, of the original 32 would compete in the finals to become the National Champion. “Westminster College” was on the list!
As players from all teams gathered around the list, one pointed to “Westminster College” and said, “I hear that Westminster is really strong.” One Westminster player recalled overhearing another team discussing Westminster’s prowess. The competitor remarked, “Where did they come from?” I hear it’s their first time to even get to the championships, and they’re undefeated. Maybe it’s a Mormon thing. You know they’re from Utah.” The Westminster player replied, “No, it’s not a Mormon thing. Westminster is a small private nondenominational liberal arts college in Salt Lake City.”
Westminster moved easily from the elite eight to the final four. A 34-point victory over Clemson sealed the deal. Westminster played in the championship match against the University of Miami, the only other undefeated team in the tournament. The Westminster team won five straight matches, losing only in its final match to the University of Miami and earning the #2 rank in the nation.
Westminster College’s ethics bowl team was comprised of senior Asia Ferrin (philosophy); junior Ali Jahromi (psychology, biology, and art); junior Blakely Neilsen (philosophy and economics), and junior Nissa Roper (philosophy with minors in anthropology and gender studies).
Westminster College, founded in 1875, is a private, comprehensive liberal arts college dedicated to students and their learning. The college prepares its students for success through a strong foundation of liberal education combined with cutting-edge professional programs at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Located where the Rocky Mountains meet the city of Salt Lake, Westminster blends classroom learning with experiences presented by its unique location to help students develop skills and attributes critical for success in a rapidly changing world. U.S.News & World Report consistently ranks Westminster in the top tier of colleges and universities in the West, and Kaplan/Newsweek’s America’s Hottest Colleges named Westminster as one of the “367 Most Interesting Schools” in the country. For more information, visit www.westminstercollege.edu .