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UM Team Places Second In National Bioethics Debate Competition

March 16, 2009
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For the second time in two weeks, a team of University of Miami undergraduates - including three School of Business students - has made a strong showing in a national “ethics bowl.”

UM debaters made it to the final round of the Bioethics Bowl at the National Undergraduate Bioethics Conference at Harvard University March 14, losing only in the final round to a team from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The two top teams faced off in Harvard’s Sever Hall to debate issues related to requiring patients take drugs to prevent disease and to the commercialization of organs for transplantation. The auditorium was filled with members of the other teams and participants at the annual bioethics conference.

Representing the School of Business on the UM team were Carlos Alvarez, a junior economics and philosophy major, Danieli Evans, a senior economics major, and Melissa Hebra, a sophomore business major. The team also included Melanie DiPietro, a sophomore communications and philosophy major, and Josh Fieldstone, a junior philosophy major.

In addition to UM and UNC Chapel Hill, Carleton College, Case Western, Loyola University, National Hispanic University, Southern Methodist University, SUNY-Albany, Texas Wesleyan, Union College, University of Denver and Williams College sent teams to the competition.

UM’s team is a product of the undergraduate Ethics Society. A week ago, another Ethics Society team advanced to the final four at the 15th annual National Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl in Cincinnati, ultimately finishing third among 32 teams. A UM team won the national Ethics Bowl in 2007.

UM’s ethics debates each year include a special competition as part of SportsFest and are supported under the Arsht Ethics Initiatives, a program fostered by generous gifts from philanthropist Adrienne Arsht.
“Our students have once again attained national prominence,” said Prof. Kenneth W. Goodman, co-director of the UM Ethics Programs, who accompanied the team to Cambridge. “They demonstrated the art of respectful and reasoned disagreement – a product, in part, of a world-class undergraduate curriculum.”

The UM Ethics Programs, including the Bioethics Program and the Business Ethics Program, provide faculty leadership for the Ethics Society, were established in 1991. Goodman is a professor of Medicine and Philosophy and Directs the Bioethics Program. The co-director, Anita Cava, who accompanied the sister team to Cincinnati, is associate professor of business law at the School of Business. She also directs the School’s Business Ethics Programs.

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