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OSU's Ethics Club advances to national competition after first regional win

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Edmon Low Library at Oklahoma State University on November 11, 2020 in Stillwater, Oklahoma.

The Oklahoma State Ethics Bowl club earned first and fifth place at a virtual debate-style competition hosted by St. Mary’s University with 16 other regional teams Saturday. 

The tournament is usually held in San Antonio, Texas, but because of COVID-19, competitors were forced to adapt to an online format.

Daniel Trippett, the current OSU Ethics Bowl team coach, said adjusting to a Zoom competition presented a whole new dynamic.

“Even though the students couldn’t be face-to-face, we were still able to have the classic Ethics Bowl experience with deep and interesting topics being discussed,” Trippett said. “The virtual format even allowed us to bring in judges from universities that wouldn’t otherwise be able to attend.“ 

Teams compete by arguing a moral position on ethical cases given in advance. 

Trippett voiced excitement for his team’s performance. He said the students learned to think and communicate critically and represented OSU well.

“Our team members are so passionate and intelligent, I couldn’t be prouder of how they all performed,” Trippett said. “With all of the hard work they put into their arguments and research, taking first place was something we always wanted to achieve. To go up against so many other bright and talented students from multiple universities and win in undefeated fashion, I mean, I couldn’t be happier for our students and how they represented OSU.”

The team earning first is made up of the club’s president Jennifer Maupin, Taylor Gladney and Parker Plank. Gladney, a junior majoring in psychology, shared her personal experience with the competition. 

“I initially was nervous for the competition on zoom, but in some ways it was better than in person competition,” Gladney said. “The outcome of yesterday was shocking, but I’m glad our work paid off. I love the activity because of the bond we build as a team. Although we weren’t able to meet in person this year, we were still able to grow as a team.”

The team won by the highest point differential at the competition, 41 points. The second highest was 29 points. Parker Plank, an OSU sophomore, said the Ethics Bowl competition will have a lasting impact on how he thinks. 

“The format of the debate promotes collaborative understanding rather than some myopic competitive game with arguments detached from reality,” Plank said. “Discussing modern ethical issues, such as an opt out organ donation system or the implications of affirmative action forces me to question my own beliefs and root them in rational principles.”

The OSU team earning fifth place included Collin Francois, Leigh Welch and Grayson Brown. 

The team will advance to a national competition in the spring. Even though their competition looked different this year, the OSU Ethics Bowl team is excited to continue leading from the front.

In an effort to maintain full disclosure, Jennifer Maupin is also the News Editor at The O’Colly.