WSU ethics team takes first place

The Weber State University Ethics Bowl team came out on top at the 11th annual Wasatch Regional Ethics Bowl Competition on Nov. 12 and is now preparing for the national competition in March.
“Every team that I have had the pleasure of coaching has been very different, and a lot of it has to do with the moral perspective and theories of the individuals on the team,” said Richard Greene, a philosophy professor who is also the faculty sponsor and head coach of the team. “This team works well together.”
This has been WSU’s third regional win, and it has been the fifth time in six years that it has gone to the national competition.
The five-person team consists of Anthony Tran, a senior majoring in philosophy and English; Brandi Christensen, a junior  majoring in philosophy; Pieter Sawatzki, a junior pursuing a degree in philosophy; Kevin Willardsen, a philosophy and quantitative economic major, and John Piccolo, a senior double-majoring in philosophy and integrated studies.
“I have been on the Ethics Bowl team for four years,” Piccolo said. “I really enjoy the opportunity that it has given me to look beyond the standard academic debate and evaluation of important issues facing our society. In ethics, we look at issues not from statistical evaluation, by appeal to laws or regulations, but from a moral standard. This type of reasoning has helped me take on a more consistent and clear worldview.”
Willardsen and Piccolo said they agree their performance on Nov. 12 was a job well done, but in the future, especially at the upcoming national competition, they are aware there is still work to be done.
“I think we did awesome at the tournament,” Willardsen said. “The one thing I think we could improve on would be creating more rounded cases. We could  also do a better job empathizing with alternative views.”
In the 10 times WSU has attended the national competition, it has placed in the top eight in the nation four times.
“It’s always hard to predict what might happen at nationals, but there is no reason that we couldn’t take the entire thing,” Greene said.
An Ethics Bowl competition consists of five rounds, with different case studies presented each round.
A few weeks before the March 1 Cincinnati national competition is held, all the teams competing will receive case studies and will have to come up with an analysis of them in order to prepare for the competition. At nationals, each team will compete against one another, answering questions about one of the case studies presented to them. Each team will have 10 minutes to collaborate and create its response, and, after, will face a series of rebuttals. Each response is then evaluated and scored by a panel of judges. The teams then switch roles with a new case study.
“The national tournament is far more diverse in both scope and application of moral theory,” Piccolo said. “We will be debating people from all backgrounds, so that requires that we present cases with greater persuasion and precision. We must rebuttal in a way that captures the flaws in their positions, so that means that our teamwork must be more integrated and coordinated.”