Taylor Ethics Bowl Team Advances to National Quarterfinal

By Dr. Jim Spiegel Published: Mar 06, 2012

For the first time, Taylor University’s Ethics Bowl team advanced to the quarterfinal round during last weekend’s National Ethics Bowl Competition in Cincinnati, Ohio. During their tournament run, the Taylor team defeated the University of Maryland and Ripon College before narrow losses to the University of Oklahoma and Wake Forest University.

“After many disappointments over the last 12 years, it was gratifying to finally make it so far in the competition. The team performed extremely well," said Ethics team coach Dr. Jim Spiegel. 

During their matches, Taylor’s students argued cases that included whether or not the United States was justified in the killing of Osama bin Laden, whether or not a levee should be breached and surrounding farmland sacrificed to save a nearby town, and the ethics of a college professor writing a letter of recommendation for a sub-standard student.

“The cases were announced in early January, after which the team immediately began to meet twice weekly to work through the cases,” said Spiegel. “As team coaches, Dr. Jeff Cramer and I led these discussions and decided which team members would be responsible for the presentations at the competition. Since the national competition allows for two or more presenters, instead of just one as at regionals, we arranged for there to be a primary and secondary presenter for each case. This worked very well during the competition.”

“As always, our team not only performed extremely well but also conducted themselves with grace and respect throughout the competition, both in victory and defeat. So in every respect they represented Taylor University with distinction. As their coaches, Jeff and I couldn’t be prouder.”


Tim McDermott – Senior, Communications and Philosophy

Suzanne Neefus – Sophomore, Philosophy and Political Science

Jonathan Povilonis – Senior, Biblical Literature and Philosophy

Jenna Stupar – Senior, History

Libby Trudeau – Senior, History and Sociology



Daniel Kasper – Senior, Computer Science and Math

Paul Nurkkala – Junior, Computer Science/Systems

Hannah Warstler – Senior, Philosophy

Sean West – Senior, Philosophy and Psychology



Match 1: Taylor 141-University of Maryland 124

Match 2: Taylor 146-Ripon College 130

Match 3: Taylor 138-University of Oklahoma 139

Match 4:  Taylor 132-Wake Forrest University 140