“These students have always been poised and articulate, and that’s inspirational for anyone who has the chance to see them as representatives of the university,” he said.
When the entire team graduated last year, Scott had to go looking for a fresh group of orators. Interested students wrote a short essay about any previous debating experience and why they wanted to join; Scott picked the team based on those essays.
Kris Walsh ’22, Joshua Henson ’23, Courtney Rosenstadt ’23, and Daleya Scaife ’23 comprise MBU’s new team, and they will head to the University of Lynchburg on February 9 for the 21st annual Ethics Bowl. During the two-day event, 16 teams from 15 Virginia colleges will debate cases surrounding ethics and higher education. Schools will be divided into two divisions, with each debate round pitting two teams against one another. Each will state their case regarding an ethical problem or scenario for a panel of judges, which represent a variety of career fields from business and law, to journalism. Teams will then answer a question posed by their opponents and one posed by the judges, and after concluding statements, the winner of the session will be declared. Whether they win or lose, each team goes on to compete in three more rounds. The top school from each division go on to compete for the championship.
To prepare for competition, Scott runs the students through mock debates, holding them to the same time limits and playing the part of judge by asking follow-up questions. The team will meet on Thursday and Friday evenings to go through practice rounds up until the Ethics Bowl. To be successful, Scott says these debaters not only require eloquence and a nimble mind, but the ability to be sensitive to an ethical issue and the people whose lives are affected by that issue.
“This type of experience hones a student’s skill for rational debate for the sake of being a good citizen,” Scott says. “I want them to be able to think rationally, logically and sensitively about issues that affect their fellow citizens, in order to make a better world for all of us.”