[SydPhil] Introducing the first Tertiary Ethics Olympiad

Matthew Wills philosothon at yahoo.com
Tue Jan 11 11:40:35 AEDT 2022

Ethics Bowls have been run throughout the US tertiary sector since 1993. These events promote the development of skills in clear and collaborative communication, critical thinking and respectful discourse while dealing with hotly contested ethical issues. The Ethics Olympiad is the same competition but in a new and less US-centric format. This year for the first time ever we will be hosting an Ethics Olympiad for Australasian Tertiary institutions. The event will be held via Zoom on the 4th of October 2022.  Graduate and Undergraduate University students are invited to enter teams to represent their tertiary institution. Any tertiary institution can participate but there is a maximum of two teams from each institution allowed to enter. During the day all will be involved in a series of three heats where teams will be scored according to set criteria that rewards, clear, concise, respectful discourse around interesting ethical cases. We have included one of the cases below. Gold, Silver and Bronze medals will be awarded to the top three teams. 

|  AAP President Professor Dirk Baltzy recently wrote about the Ethics Olympiad;

" One of the things I like best about the way Ethics Olympiad is set up is the fact that it is precisely NOT debating. Since teams are encouraged to acknowledge good arguments and to contribute collaboratively to the resolution of the question, the activity embodies the value of truth-seeking – not a sophistic defence of a position that you yourself might not think is true. To their credit, I think the participants really get this. At a time when civil discourse in so many places has become so acrimonious, this is an important value for young people to absorb. In my limited experience, many of them are truly better in this regard than the so-called grown-ups in our societies."

2022 Australasian University Ethics Olympiad Cases 4/10/22
Case 1 - Reporting Creepiness (See case below)Case 2 - A New Genesis
Case 3 - Killer Art
Case 4 - Sales from the CryptCase 5 - Trans- Rat Race
Case 6 - One Hundred SecondsCase 7 - Billionaires in SpaceCase 8- The Medical Brain Drain
                     Eligible participants
Team members must be currently enrolled as undergraduates, in a tertiary institution in Australia, New Zealand, Singapore or Hong Kong. Each team must include a team coach. Coaches are usually but not always graduate students enrolled in the same institution.
Format, Rules & Scoring
The heats use the same format as the Ethics Bowl in the US. The main difference is that all groups will be running online in Zoom breakout rooms. There will be a round-robin format with different teams participating against each other. Scores will be private on the day, but we will email the final results to each coach after the event. University-based philosophers from throughout the world judge the heats throughout the day.

Coaches Training Kit- Included in the kit will be the eight ethical cases, score sheets, criteria, format details and other useful information. Students kits will also be available. These will all be sent to you once your team is registered. We will also send you the Zoom link close to the day of the event. 
Click here for a printable flyer about the event.
Click here for further details and a registration point for the 2022 University Ethics Olympiad.https://ethicsolympiad.org/?page_id=1458

Sample Case
Case 1. Reporting Creepiness
Law enforcement agencies of all sorts promulgate the “See something, say something” mantra, in an attempt to get the average citizen to become hypervigilant in watching for illegal activities. In a similar vein, many colleges and universities focus on training incoming students to report “problematic” behaviors in order to anticipate harassment and related conduct issues. In an effort to support and provide resources to students who may be harmed by the words and actions of others, many campuses have developed bystander programming that encourages students to report any and all instances of potentially harmful behavior, especially behavior that might breach anti-discrimination legislation. 
While the ideal would be for all students to feel safe and respected on campus, awareness campaigns that encourage the reporting of all unusual behaviors sometimes harm an already marginalized group of students. On some campuses, for instance, student affairs administrators have been surprised that the awareness campaigns have resulted in many reports in which students with disabilities were the main subject. Perhaps this result shouldn’t be surprising. As one student conduct administrator explained, students who identify as having certain types of disabilities are not as adept at reading social, verbal, or physical cues as students who do not so identify. Students with communication or social challenges, for instance, have sometimes found their behavior reported by their peers as “stalkerish” or “creepy.” Students sometimes reported classmates with disabilities for making them feel uncomfortable by excessively staring, following them after class to try to talk, or persisting in contact even though the reporting student thought they had made their discomfort clear. When asked whether they told the other student to leave them alone or to stop staring at them, the aggrieved student often reported having been uncomfortable about saying anything or having been scared of the other student. In such cases, the student affairs administrators receiving these reports had to determine how to handle the seemingly competing interests of the scared and uncomfortable students as well as those who faced social and communication challenges.
Although many disabilities are visible or identifiable, many others are mostly invisible. Persons whose disabilities are mostly invisible may have some control over who knows about their disability, whereas those with identifiable disabilities, like those requiring a wheelchair, for example, do not have the same level of privacy. Persons with both identifiable and invisible disabilities frequently meet with negative affective responses from others. According to research on the aesthetics of disability, many people who do not identify as having disabilities will express “discomfort” when confronted by someone with a disability. It could be argued that this “discomfort” may seem similar to the feelings expressed by survivors of sexual misconduct when in the presence of someone who acts in a way they find triggering, like staring or following or just seeming to be “creepy.” 
(Case from the 2022 Tertiary Ethics Olympiad-published by APPE Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl for the National US Championship. The Case Preparation Committee consisted of Robert Boyd Skipper (Chair), Robert A. Currie, Cynthia Jones & Heather Pease.)

Matthew Wills
Project LeaderEthics Olympiad Project

Phone 0400029660
Email: admin at ethicsolympiad.org
Philosothon website: www.ethicsolympiad.org


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