Ethics Bowl team wins second nationals title

Whitworth’s Ethics Bowl team won the national Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl competition in Washington, D.C., bringing home their second national win in five years.The competition was a one-day affair, on Sunday, Feb. 21. The team arrived one day early to have a few final practice sessions. The Whitworth Ethics Bowl team argued well, displaying clear reasoning, excellent public speaking and respect for their opponents, communications professor and co-coach Mike Ingram said. At the tournament this year, the team won all three preliminary rounds and all three elimination rounds. “Nationals was a fantastic experience for our bowlers,” Ingram said. “They represented Whitworth well.” In the Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl (IEB), each team receives a set of cases prior to the competition that raise issues in practical and professional ethics and prepares an analysis of each case, according to the Association for Practical and Professional Ethics (APPE). The competition is designed to showcase students’ knowledge of applied ethics, their communication and teamwork skills, and their ability to synthesize information on important issues and articulate effective responses. Despite the debate-like nature of an Ethics Bowl tournament, the objective between the two competing teams is to present the truth, discussing the most ethical and just solutions for each case. Between regional and national competitions, Whitworth University’s Ethics Bowl team competed against over 125 colleges and universities. Ingram co-coaches the Ethics Bowl team with philosophy professor Keith Wyma. “We compete against schools public and private, large and small,” Ingram said. “We finished ahead of Army, Navy, Northwestern University, Indiana University, and we beat North Carolina-Chapel Hill directly in the third round.” The combination of an ethicist (Wyma) and rhetorician (Ingram) as co-coaches yields a team that consistently ranks successfully at the national level. The team is trained to compete with excellent analytical and presentation skills. Some of the team members are also on Whitworth’s Forensics team, where techniques in debate are further enriched.

Ethics Bowl team members Kaitlin Barnes, James Eccles, co-coach Mike Ingram, Brennan Neal and TJ Westre hold the nationals trophy. Not pictured: team member Ellie Probus and co-coach Keith Wyma.

Whitworth’s Ethics Bowl team consists of five members: juniors Kaitlin Barnes and James Eccles and seniors TJ Westre, Ellie Probus and Brennan Neal. To prepare for competition, the team practiced together 10 hours per week for three weeks, including extensive individual study. “The Ethics Bowl program develops within students a tremendously valuable and versatile skill set,” Wyma said. This was Whitworth’s seventh trip to nationals in the past eight years. During the years of competition, Whitworth has finished as a quarter finalist, tied for fifth; semifinalist, tied for third; taken second in 2015 and taken first place in 2012 and 2016. As a national championship team, each of the members demonstrates academic prestige with an emphasis in philosophical and ethical reasoning. “Almost always, we have three or four philosophy majors,” Ingram said. “And often, the non-majors are minors, because they are interested in ethics and related concepts.” One of the team’s strengths, however, is its interdisciplinary nature. The coaches said that various majors are represented, allowing for a wide range of valuable skills. “We’ve had majors who have also been in communication studies, English, psychology, international studies, history, French, Spanish and chemistry,” Ingram said. To clarify, ethics is “theory informing practice,” Wyma explained. That means learned and internalized theory melds into practice to guide a person’s actions. Students who study ethics and hone their skills through competitive tournaments are equipped with a greater level of discernment when faced with some of today’s most debated issues. “Our students consistently demonstrate that a Whitworth liberal arts education prepares them well to engage in thoughtful discourse with peers from around the nation,” Ingram said. In the Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl tournaments, school are not categorized by size or stature. Whitworth engaged with students from larger universities, whose philosophy programs are much broader and have more sub-specialties. As a smaller, private university, Whitworth faced secular public schools and elite institutions before winning nationals. “For us to go and to be able to compete, it shows that our students are very capable of excellent thinking, research, and analysis and applying the ideas that they’ve learned in their study to real-world situations,” Ingram said.

Autumn Kelley Staff Writer

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Loop reconstruction: Beginning the process

It has been three months since the beginning of post-windstorm cleanup and administration expects another 18 months before the campus restoration process is complete. The Loop was hit the hardest during the windstorm in mid-November. Throughout the campus 136 trees were lost and nearby buildings were damaged. Chris Eichorst, director of facilities services, coordinated cleanup efforts and repair plans.

“It’s going to be four-to-five-hundred-thousand dollars,” Eichorst said.

The university’s insurance covers a majority of the expenditure, while administration is also petitioning for support from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), a federal disaster relief agency. Damage was caused to three academic buildings, concrete sidewalks, the Loop’s irrigation system and electrical lines to campus lamp posts.

Throughout the cleanup process, Eichorst will meet with a committee made up of faculty members, the manager of grounds and the university arborist. The committee is focused on developing a strategic plan to adapt and prevent future disasters of this kind. Administration will consult an architect and gather student input before moving forward with plans for the Loop.

Junior English major Jordin Connall hopes for only minor aesthetic changes.

“Not as many colleges have big open areas like the Loop and it serves as a common meeting place for students,” Connall said. “Maybe add a picnic table for people to eat or do homework outside.”

The fallen trees were planted in landscaped and irrigated areas. A team of arborists suggested that this may be a cause of their weakened root systems.

In an irrigated setting, pine trees can grow faster than those growing naturally. Eichorst explained that due to rushed growth, the roots were not forced to extend far enough underground as they received a constant source of water from the Loop’s sprinklers.

Most of the fallen trees were removed by two excavating companies, transported to a mill, turned into pulp and used as a mulch in the back forty. When the growing season begins, facilities services will hire a contractor to lay sod and restore the Loop’s grass. If more trees are planted in the Loop the type of trees and placement will be carefully planned, according to Eichorst.

Grounds staff will ensure buildings are no longer at risk of being hit by neighboring trees, even if some require removal. Eichorst considered many aspects of urban forest management, including pruning, parking and landscaping.

“The current budget we have for our tree management is inadequate,” Eichorst said. “If we want to do deadwooding, which is an expensive endeavor, that could be an increase in our budget.”

The cleanup process itself has caused its own destruction. About two-thirds of the concrete damage was due to the heavy excavators which passed across campus over sidewalks.

Daniel Prager is a senior chemistry major who was surprised at the damage caused to the campus.

“I figured it would take a long time to clean up since winter was coming,” Prager said.

The university plans to plant a few trees in place of missing ones in the Loop. The Loop has provided open space for live outdoor concerts, frolfing and hammocking during warmer months. The process to bring the Loop back to its original state may take months to plan and complete.

Autumn Kelley Staff Writer

Contact Autumn Kelley at