The Virginia Military Institute Ethics and Debate Team recently competed at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl Competition hosted by the University of North Georgia in Gainesville, Georgia. Out of 18 teams from 17 different colleges and universities, VMI—for the first time ever—finished in the top four, narrowly losing to the University of Mississippi in the semi-final.
The one-day, multi-institutional collegiate competition was held in partnership with the Association of Practical and Professional Ethics. There are four main rounds, a semifinal round, and a final round within the competition to determine the top teams that will advance to the national competition, which APPE sponsors. The 17 colleges and universities competing included the University of Chicago, the University of North Carolina, Clemson University, Virginia Tech, and the University of Mississippi. By winning fourth place, the VMI qualified for the 27th Annual Association for Practical and Professional Ethics Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl, to be held March 4–5 in Portland, Oregon.
VMI’s team was sponsored by the Center for Leadership and Ethics and coached by Dr. Duncan Richter, the Charles S. Luck III ’55 professor in VMI’s Department of English, Rhetoric, and Humanistic Studies. “The teams had to study 15 ethically controversial cases in advance of the competition. When they got to the competition, they found out which cases and specific questions they would have to discuss,” Richter explained. “Teams were scored on their ability to identify the morally relevant aspects of the issue, to defend their particular answer in a clear and rational way, and to consider alternative points of view. To win, you need a combination of preparation, knowledge of ethical theory, organization, and clarity of presentation. It’s not easy. The cadets involved did a great job and should really be proud of themselves.”
Members of the team include Cadets Harris Burton ’23 (cadet-in-charge) and Spencer Greaney ’23, both economics and business majors; James Ellison ’23, Riley Shultz ’24, and Gabriele Woodward ’24, international studies; and Riley Malone ’25, history.
Marianne Hause VMI Communications & Marketing