Hiram College

Hiram students with focuses in philosophy, political science, management, biology, French and English competed in the 2016 Regional Ethics Bowl at Marian University in Indiana last week. Coached by Colin Anderson, Ph.D., associate professor of philosophy, and Megan Altman, Ph.D., assistant professor of philosophy, the team of nine participated in three rounds, winning one. They faced Heidelberg University, Youngstown State University and University of Louisville.

Each round focused on two moral issues that reflected real and current issues in the world. This year’s cases included “Apple vs. FBI,” an issue of privacy and security, and “Is political correctness a joke?” a debate about freedom of speech and an individual’s moral responsibilities. Through debates against opposing teams and questions from judges, the teams must present thoughtful arguments demonstrating that they have considered all sides of an issue and understand complex moral and ethical principles surrounding it.


From left to right: Alexia Kemerling ’20, Clarisse Le-Thanh, Marty Pilon ’18, Alex Strub ’17, Professor Colin Anderson, Patrick Garrod ’18, Alan Fink ’17, Heather Brant ’17 and Professor Megan Altman.


Heather Brant, a senior double major in philosophy and political science, has been on the Ethics Bowl team for three years. This year, Brant led the team on two cases and was instrumental in the discussions of each round. “I think these sorts of thoughtful conversations are very important especially when they pertain to ethical dilemmas that are not black and white,” Brant says. She adds that her experience in the Ethics Bowl has challenged and enhanced her thinking in everything she does.

Dr. Anderson, who has been coaching teams since 2007, believes that the experience students gain from this competition is invaluable.  Anderson says that the competition not only teaches students to think about the world around them but also gives them the opportunity to engage in discussion with students from other schools who often hold different beliefs. He says he is “continually impressed by the effort and time students dedicate to [Ethics Bowl] and the development and growth we see in thoughtfulness and intellectual abilities as they continue to participate in this activity.”