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Walters State team shines at Ethics Bowl
November 22, 2016

Walters State’s first Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl team competed during the Mid-Atlantic Regional competition at Clemson University in Clemson, S.C., on Nov. 19, coming close to advancing to the national competition.

“I couldn’t be more proud of Walters State’s first team,” said team coach and philosophy instructor Dr. Michael Funke. “The semester was very productive and it showed in competition. The highlight was a split vote against perennial favorite UNC Chapel Hill.”

The competition at Clemson was one of 11 regional bowls involving more than 100 teams across the nation. The top 32 teams from the regionals are invited to participate in the national competition.  

“Unfortunately, it takes two of three votes to win and we won’t advance to nationals,” Funke said. “Still, split votes are rare and the fact that we managed to perform at this level is a testament to the hard work of these students.”

Representing Walters State’s first Ethics Bowl team were Akash Kader, 20, a business major from Morristown; Bryson Marshall, 19, a history major from Jefferson City; and Cloe Perfetti, 20, an English and communications major from Dandridge.

The first Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl was held in 1997 in Washington, D.C. Teams, judges and moderators prepare for tournaments with a packet of case studies involving ethical issues. The teams develop structured, logical answers to questions asked about the cases.

The regional competition at Clemson included case studies on such topics as guns on college campuses, legalizing marijuana, privacy concerns raised by federal government requests for access to private cell phone data, and fines imposed against municipal residents for not recycling. 

The Walters State team began preparing for the competition in early September by meeting three days per week to discuss moral issues associated with 15 case studies drawn from recent news. The team was further challenged when one of its members had to drop out shortly before the competition.

“Bryson Marshall stepped in at the last minute and really learned some complex arguments in a very short time,” Funke said. “His work during the competition was strong and we couldn’t have done it without him. The team’s leaders (Kader and Perfetti) did terrific work and presented strong cases throughout the day.”

In the photo: Akash Kader, Bryson Marshall, Cloe Perfetti, and Dr. Michael Funke.