Department of Philosophy

Ethics bowl team competes at nationals for sixth time, earns best finish yet

icon of a calendarApril 9, 2020

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OU's Ethics Bowl team competes at nationals for sixth time, earns best finish yet
Ethics Bowl National Competition

Achieving their highest rank ever, the Oakland University Ethics Bowl team traveled to Atlanta this past February to compete in the National Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl tournament.  Only the top 36 schools in the nation are invited to this annual tournament, which is sponsored by the Association for Practical and Professional Ethics and held each year at their national convention. 

Oakland finished 19th, earning a win-loss record of 2-2 over the two-day tournament. Ethics Bowl teams prepare for weeks by researching and developing their positions and arguments on a series of case studies, then practicing their team presentations to a variety of questions on each case. This year the case studies involved national and international concerns such as performance-enhancing drugs for soldiers, predictive policing and marginalized populations in video games.

Oakland advanced to the national tournament after their two teams finished first and second in the Great Lakes Regional competition, held in November. It was the initial tournament for the newly formed Region, as Oakland had competed in the Upper Midwest Region in previous years.

Ethics Bowl National Competition

From left, OU ethics bowl team members Rima Stepanian, Elan Pszenica, Kaira Mercer and Marissa Cimini are pictured at the National Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl tournament.

Oakland students competing at nationals included seniors Rima Stepanian, Marissa Cimini, Kaira Mercer, Elan Pszenica and Quinn Bessette.

Stepanian, a biomedical sciences major, said that "preparing for nationals was a huge feat for us, especially considering we had more cases than we did for Regionals and less time to prepare. I am really pleased with our team’s performance of 2-2, especially given the tough competitors we had. I would consider this one of the highlights of my undergraduate experience here at OU.”

Oakland defeated Wake Forest and DePauw University, losing two close matches to last year’s champion, Whitworth University, as well as the University of Rochester. Approximately 250 colleges and universities in the nation compete in Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl. Oakland is one of the longest competing universities, having started in 2003. Oakland has been to the national tournament six times.

“For a number of reasons, this year’s competition was an extremely challenging one for our team,” said OU Ethics Bowl Coach Lisa Campbell, special lecturer in Communication and Philosophy. “To have achieved what we did is a testament to our students’ drive and perseverance.”

To learn more about OU's Ethics Bowl team, contact Campbell at

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