Montana State University

MSU Ethicats win second place in national championship

March 4, 2011 -- MSU News Service

Coach Kristen Intemann and Ethicats Shelby Rogala, Griffin Stevens, Madeleine Pike, Joseph Thiel, and Matthew Smith (from left) at the 2011 National Ethics Bowl. (Photo courtesy of Ethicats).   High-Res Available

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MSU News Service
Tel: (406) 994-4571
BOZEMAN - A Montana State University team that debates ethical questions has won second place in the nation.

The MSU Ethicats defeated 30 teams during a grueling 14-hour day that ended at 11 p.m. Thursday, March 3, and made up the National Ethics Bowl Championship, said team adviser Kristen Intemann, assistant professor in MSU's Department of History, Philosophy and Religious Studies. The championship was held in Cincinnati, Ohio, in conjunction with the annual meeting of the Association for Practical and Professional Ethics.

Thirty-two teams from eight regions across the country competed in the national contest, with Central Florida University winning first place, Intemann said. Other teams came from Dartmouth College, the U.S. Naval Academy and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Facing MSU in the semi-finals was Whitworth College, a former national championship team that MSU defeated in November during the Northwest Regional Ethics Bowl.

"I should stress that it is incredibly impressive that the Northwest Region had both of its top teams in the semifinals, which tells you just how competitive our region is," Intemann commented by e-mail.

Members of the MSU Ethicats who competed in the national contest were Matt Smith of Helena, a senior in philosophy and business; Griffin Stevens of Bozeman, a senior in mechanical engineering; Joe Thiel of Idaho Falls, Idaho, a junior in chemical engineering; Madeleine Pike of Washington, D.C., a senior in philosophy and English; and Shelby Rogala of Darby, a junior in history/SETS. The alternate was Sam Foulkes of Bozeman, a philosophy major.

MSU's team began the National Ethics Bowl by debating the ethics of tying K-12 teacher tenure and pay to student achievement, Intemann said. The team went on to debate the ethics of surgically altering dog's vocal chords to keep them from barking; employers screening employees for tobacco use; a British policy on stem cell research; the production and sale of a drink that combines alcohol, caffeine and sugar; and economic development in Haiti.

MSU ended the competition by debating the ethics of an Arizona immigration law that requires officers to ask for proof of citizenship if they have "reasonable suspicion" that someone is in the country illegally.

"Several commented that it was the best final match they had ever seen in the history of the Ethics Bowl," Intemann said. "Of course, I couldn't agree more in my humble and unbiased opinion."

Evelyn Boswell, (406) 994-5135 or