Red Hawks beat Badgers in regional ethics bowl

Ripon College competed in the Upper Midwest Regional Ethics Bowl at Northern Illinois University Nov. 13. Caroline Flesch ’23 of Delevan, Wisconsin; Caitlin Marsch ’24 of West Bend, Wisconsin; and Ethan Ripp ’22 of Black Earth, Wisconsin, represented the College in the 15-team competition.

Each team, made up by three to five students, examines the ethical implications of a series of 12 cases from current events. There are four rounds in which two teams each answer a question posed about one of the cases. The opposing team gets to give a response to the proposed answer based on the ethical reasoning used by the presenting team’s answer and then the presenting teams have to answer questions posed by the round’s judges. The rounds are decided by who presents the best ethical analysis in relation to the answers and responses put forth by each.

Ripon had the most difficult draw of the competition, according to Associate Professor Paul Jeffries, who coached the team. They defeated the University of Wisconsin-Madison, whose team is coached by Ripon ethics bowl and college alumnus, J.J. Grinde ’16, currently a law student at Madison. Ripon lost rounds to the University of Chicago (a 2-1 split decision), Northwestern University and Macalester College. The teams Ripon lost to were ranked second, fifth and third in the tournament, respectively. Chicago and Macalester were two of the three teams from this region to qualify for the National Ethics Bowl competition.

“I was very pleased with our performance at the event,” said Jeffries. “While Caroline and Caitlin participated in last year’s virtual version of the tournament, this was the first in-person competition for all three of Ripon’s team members, and they were typically going up against very experienced five-member teams.”

“In several rounds, the judges picked up on issues raised by our students as they questioned their opponents, which demonstrated that Caroline, Caitlin and Ethan were engaging some of the critical issues raised by the cases,” Jeffries said.

Prior to the competition, Elliot Holt ’22 of Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, and Maythe Salcedo ’23 of Round Lake Beach, Illinois, helped prepare some of the cases and participated in practice rounds to prepare the team.

(Photo: Clockwise from top right, Caitlin Marsch ’24, Ethan Ripp ’22 and Caroline Flesch ’23)

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