Cal Poly Pomona Top 4 In National Ethics Bowl


A team from Cal Poly Pomona reached the semifinals and placed in the top four at the national Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl Competition held Thursday, Feb. 21, in San Antonio, Texas.

The Cal Poly Pomona Ethics Bowl team engaged in the ultimate test of reasoning by addressing a wide range of issues such as direct-to-consumer pharmaceutical advertising and the distribution of photographs via Google Street View.

The Cal Poly Pomona team — consisting of John Balla, Melinda Carrido, Cion Villalobos, Ara Astourian and Jennifer Cryer — qualified for the national competition after winning the California Regional Ethics Bowl Competition in December. Nearly 150 colleges and universities across the nation competed, but only 32 qualified for the annual national competition.

At the national competition, the Cal Poly Pomona team swept through its preliminary matches, defeating Western Michigan University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the University of Kentucky.

The team then dominated a very well-prepared team from DePauw University during its quarterfinal match. The team's streak of nine consecutive match wins came to an end during the semifinal match against Wright State University, a university with multiple national titles.

“For our team to reach the national semifinals is an extraordinary achievement,” said the teams coach, philosophy professor Michael Cholbi. “To be in the top four in the country after only three years of fielding an Ethics Bowl team at Cal Poly Pomona is astonishing.”

In the Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl, a moderator poses questions to teams of three to five students. Each team receives a set of case studies in advance of the competition, and questions posed to teams at the competition are taken from that set. A panel of judges evaluated answers based on intelligibility, focus on ethically relevant considerations, avoidance of ethical irrelevance and deliberative thoughtfulness.