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Taylor Ethics Bowl Teams Place 2 in Region’s Top 5; Returning to Nationals

  • By: Braden Ochs
  • Published:
Taylor Ethics Bowl Team

The Taylor University Ethics Bowl team, the 2015 National Champion and winner of 33 of its last 36 matches, is returning to the National Ethics Bowl Tournament. It marks the eighth straight year the Taylor Ethics Bowl team has qualified for nationals.

Thirty-two teams from 20 colleges and universities participated in last Saturday’s Central States Ethics Bowl Regional in Indianapolis. Two teams from Taylor each qualified for the national tournament by finishing second and third in the field.

Taylor’s Team 1 defeated Heidelberg University (145-140), Grand Valley State University (162-149), and SUNY Buffalo State University (158-138). Taylor’s Team 2 defeated Slippery Rock University (152-134), University of Central Arkansas (165-160), and University of Arkansas at Little Rock (151-136).

While both teams qualified, only one is allowed to travel to the national tournament in Chicago on March 4, per Ethics Bowl bylaws. According to Taylor’s Ethics Bowl Coach Dr. Jim Spiegel, the makeup of the team to represent Taylor will be determined by an anonymous vote in which team members must vote for other members of the team. Those with the most votes will win a spot on the nationals’ team and others will be alternates.

Other schools participating in the Central States regional competition included, Butler, DePauw, Grand Valley State, Heidelberg, Indiana State, Marian, Missouri State, Mount St. Joseph, North Central, Northern Kentucky, Northwestern, Ohio Northern, Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, Slippery Rock, SUNY Buffalo State, University of Arkansas at Little Rock, University of Central Arkansas, Xavier, and Youngstown State (1st place).

Additionally, Taylor was invited to field a third team at the last minute because a team from another university failed to show up at the competition. Taylor’s four alternate team members formed a third team and won two of their three matches.

“As usual, our team prepared tirelessly for this competition, and it showed,” said Spiegel. “In all of our teams’ matches, their presentations were clear, organized, and powerfully argued. Since we have such a long streak of success at the regional competition, there is an expectation that our team will compete at a high level. This creates additional pressure, but our team has once again risen to the occasion. I couldn’t be prouder.”

Issues debated at the regional Ethics Bowl competition included:

  • Should euthanasia be permitted for those who are not terminally ill or experiencing chronic physical pain but who are experiencing unremitting existential suffering?
  • Should universities protect speech that is racially insensitive or otherwise offensive regardless of one’s intention?
  • Should elevated testosterone levels be sufficient to disqualify Olympic athletes?
  • Given that family trusts are granted personhood, should natural resources (such as rivers) be granted the same status of personhood?

Other cases delved into issues that included television dramas about suicide, art museum exhibits of art by sexual abusers, and psychiatrists’ public pronouncements about the mental health of a sitting U.S. President. 

The National Ethics Bowl competition is scheduled for March 4, 2018, and it will be held at the Hilton Palmer House Hotel in Chicago, IL. Thirty-six teams will participate.


Taylor University Team 1:

  • Caleb Holleman (captain), Junior, Math and Philosophy
  • Hoback Fisher, Junior, Physics
  • Abby Haines, Freshman, PPE
  • Karsten Holmes, Junior, Philosophy
  • Darrah Moul, Senior, Psychology

Taylor University Team 2:

  • Caleb Peery (captain), Senior, PPE
  • Rebekah Hardwicke, Junior, Film and Media Production
  • Spencer Kilmer, Freshman, PPE and Bible/Systems
  • Reilly LaRose, Freshman, PPE
  • Josie Luptak, Sophomore, PPE


  • Jack Andrews, Sophomore, Philosophy
  • J. Benson, Sophomore, PPE and History/Systems
  • Spencer Haeggberg, Sophomore, PPE/Systems
  • Dustin Lin, Sophomore, PPE