Virginia College Debaters Tackle ‘Ethics and the Environment’

| February 13, 2008

A team from Mary Baldwin College won the 2008 Wachovia Ethics Bowl, held Feb. 10 and 11 at Marymount University in Arlington.

In its ninth year, the Ethics Bowl is co-sponsored by the Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges. Teams from the 15 VFIC member colleges are split into two divisions and go head-to-head in four rounds. The division winners meet in a fifth round to decide the champion.

The debaters analyze hypothetical scenarios that present ethical dilemmas related to a theme, formulate responses to the problems and defend their positions. This year’s theme was “Ethics and the Environment.”

Lynchburg College was Mary Baldwin’s opponent for the 2008 title, and lost in a close contest, according to a VFIC press release.

Sweet Briar finished with a 2-2 record, after a tough fourth-round debate against the eventual winner. The round was decided in Mary Baldwin’s favor by a split decision among three judges.

SBC coach Spencer Bakich, an assistant professor of government, said the team’s hard work in practice showed, and he wouldn’t change anything about they way they prepared for the bowl.

“We put ourselves in a position to go to the finals, and that’s exactly what we wanted to do,” he said. “It wasn’t a matter that [our students] were out-thought. It was simply a matter of convincing that one final person.”

Michelle Sanchez ’08 and Anne Lojek ’09 were co-captains of the College’s 2008 team. They were joined by Katherine Ellis ’08, Diana Simpson ’08 and Carlisle Adams ’10. Sarah Jones ’11 and Jordana Weiner ’11 served as alternates.

As their coach, Bakich admitted to some emotional swings during the contest. He did his best to maintain a poker face, even as the last judge’s decision went the other way.

“What’s most important is that they went not just to compete, but with a desire to win,” he said. “It was heartbreaking at that point, but I am very, very proud of the work that they did.”

Jennifer McManamay

Category: Government and International Affairs