Most Valuable Polemics: Honors Team Triumphs at First Annual Ethics Bowl

--New Baruch Initiative Rewards Student Integrity--

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There were no helmets or shoulder pads in sight, but Ryan Meltzer, Jeffrey Lowenhaupt, and Ryan Merola found Baruch’s first-ever Ethics Bowl as grueling and demanding on participants as its better-known athletic cousins. Their team of three managed to defeate its well-prepared rivals at the event finals on April 12, walking away with the $600 prize.

Ethics Bowls are a staple at many colleges across the country, along with an annual intercollegiate competition organized by the Association for Practical and Professional Ethics at Indiana University-Bloomington. The contests generally involve small teams of students who are presented with moral dilemmas and are asked to propose an answer. A group of judges then rate each team’s responses, and a tally of ratings at the end identifies the winner.

Sarah Ryan, a lecturer in the School of Public Affairs, planned Baruch’s version of the integrity challenge. Teams of undergraduates, advised by a faculty mentor, represented each of Baruch’s three schools.

All three members of the winning team—Baruch students Meltzer and Lowenhaupt, and Brooklyn College's Merola—are enrolled through CUNY's Honors College program for exceptionally talented students. Meltzer is also a Kenan Foundation scholar.

Judges for the one-day event included members of the Baruch community, Randy Cohen, author of the Ethicist column for the Sunday New York Times Magazine, and Peter Vallone, former Speaker of the New York City Council and longtime patron of Baruch.

Other Ethics Week 2005 activities at Baruch included classroom discussions, guest lectures, and panel discussions. The program of events was generously funded by the Charles Dreifus Ethics-Across-the-Curriculum Initiative and a grant from the Joseph Drown Foundation.