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B-School Student Brings Experience to UB Ethics Bowl Team
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B-School Student Brings Experience to UB Ethics Bowl Team

The University of Baltimore's Ethics Bowl team finished in the top five at the Southeast Regional Ethics Bowl in November. This was a first top finish for UB’s team. Now, Thermon Morris, a junior business administration major, along with his five teammates, will move on to the 2016 National Ethics Bowl to be held in February in Reston, Va.

To get there took the team complete focus and practice, meeting in the mornings and engrossing themselves in, discussion and research for the competition’s 12 cases. The group even conducted mock matches to prepare themselves. Those practices certainly bore fruit, and helped them surpass schools like Wake Forest, the University of Florida, the University of Miami, Auburn, and 15 other larger universities.  

An Ethics Bowl is not a debate, but rather a competition to determine which team can analyze an ethical case most effectively and pose the best solution to the presented ethical problems. Each match consists of a moderator, who asks an opening question to the teams, and judges who ask follow-up questions. Teams are judged on how clear, thoughtful and systematic they are in answering questions from judges, and in pointing out weaknesses in the opposing team's analysis of an ethics case. Judges are selected to provide a wide range of backgrounds, experiences and perspectives.

Morris, a post-traditional student studying finance, joined UB's Ethics team with some experience under his belt. Indeed, he knew a lot about how an Ethics Bowl operated, because before he transferred to UB, he was on the Baltimore City Community Colleges Ethics Bowl team.

But in his words, the UB competition, "was the Big Leagues."

"The stakes were higher at the regionals than they were at community college," said Morris. I went to competitions at BCCC, but this one was the real deal. I had to step up my game."

Drawing from his past experiences, Morris competed in two of the 12 cases for the UB team.

"I think understanding the breadth and depth of a case is imperative," Morris said. “"For one of the matches, we discussed involving a video game developer. This developer happened to be a woman, and she was being treated poorly by other developers. It was clear that jealousy was one of the contributing factors for the harassment that she endured, and also it is a male-dominated industry. The female developer received good reviews for her game, which was designed to help people with depression. There were numerous aspects to this case, but our team had a full grasp on the issues, which helped us win that match."

Fred Guy, director of the University's Hoffberger Center for Professional Ethics and the Ethics Bowl team coordinator, said Morris's dedication to researching the competition’s cases aided in the team’s overall preparedness.

"Thermon was the last student to join our Ethics Bowl team and he quickly proved to be a valuable addition," Guy said. "He asked if he could be our head case researcher and I quickly agreed.  Thermon never let the team down, as he quickly but thoroughly researched each case and prepared reports summarizing major ethical issues, key ethical stakeholders, alternative moral points of view, and vital facts and statistics. And I have no doubt that Thermon’s business education helped him in his research and provided an important perspective on cases in which economic factors played a key role in deciding on the right or wrong ethical action to take."

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