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Whitworth Ethics Bowl team ends season with ICW competition win

April 17, 2014

Whitworth’s Ethics Bowl team, the Philosoraptors, closed out the season by taking first at the Independent Colleges of Washington Ethics Bowl at Seattle University on April 4. The team of five students defeated Walla Walla University, Heritage University and Seattle Pacific University, before defeating Seattle Pacific in the semifinals and Gonzaga University in the finals.

Team member Sarah Sauter, ’15, describes the experience in one word, “Stupendous,” and says, “What made the victory particularly savory was that it was against our friendly Spokane rivals Gonzaga in the final round.”

The 2014 ICW Ethics Bowl featured 10 teams from colleges and universities that are members of the Independent Colleges of Washington; the teams debated cases based on the theme “the ethics of science and technology in the workplace.” The annual event showcases students’ knowledge of applied ethics and their ability to apply ethics to everyday challenges as future leaders in their own communities and places of business.

In addition to Sauter, the Philosoraptors include Kaitlin Barnes, ’17, Tom Congdon, ’14, Brennan Neal, ’16, and Ellie Probus, ’16. The team is coached by Mike Ingram, professor of communication studies, and Keith Wyma, associate professor of philosophy.

“It was wonderful for [Whitworth] President Taylor to see our students in action, demonstrating their integration of ethics theory and public policy questions,” Ingram says.

“I have participated in Ethics Bowl before, but every time I learn more about how to conduct myself in a way that is both professional and respectful, as well as assertive, in situations involving ideological clashes,” says Sauter, a junior French, philosophy and Spanish triple major. “I love the opportunity to translate theoretical knowledge gleaned in the classroom into real-world situations.”

In an Ethics Bowl match, a moderator poses questions to teams of three to five students. The questions concern ethical problems on a wide range of topics. Each team receives a set of ethical issues in advance of the competition, and questions posed to teams at the competition are taken from that set. A panel of judges evaluates answers based on intelligibility, focus on ethically relevant considerations, avoidance of ethical irrelevance, and deliberative thoughtfulness in considering opposing viewpoints.

Located in Spokane, Wash., Whitworth is a private liberal arts university affiliated with the Presbyterian church. The university, which has an enrollment of 3,000 students, offers 60 undergraduate and graduate degree programs.


Mike Ingram, professor of communication studies and director of forensics, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4428 or

Lucas Beechinor, media relations manager, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4703 or