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Undergraduate Team Wins National Ethics Debate

February 23, 2007
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Winning debaters (left to right) Nick Holzer, Josh
Morales, Ryan Kairalla, Christina Fiallo and Elizabeth
Tedford with Dean Paul K. Sugrue.

The University of Miami's Ethics Society debate team, composed of students from the School of Business and other University schools, won the 13th National Championship Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl in Cincinnati on February 22. The University of Miami quintet prevailed over 31 other teams that had won their respective regional competitions last fall.

The winning team was comprised of Christina Fiallo, a junior majoring in history and political science; Nick Holzer, a freshman majoring in economics and biology; Ryan Kairalla, a junior majoring in political science and economics; Josh Morales, a junior majoring in business law; and Elizabeth Tedford, a senior majoring in history and psychology, and also the Ethics Society president. Kairalla , Morales and Tedford, who won the University of Miami Ethics Debates in 2005, also won the most recent University of Miami competition, held at the School of Business November 4. They were joined by runners-up Fiallo, Holzer and Katherine Diaz-Drago at the Southeast Regional Ethics Bowl in St. Petersburg, Fla. on November 18. Diaz-Drago did not join them in Cincinnati.

At the National Championship, the University of Miami team bested Loyola University Chicago, Peninsula College (Washington) and Western Michigan University in early rounds; Weber State University (Utah) in the quarterfinals; the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in the semifinals; and Westminster College (Utah) in the finals. The debaters tackled cases dealing with affirmative action in South Africa, reproductive decisions involving deafness, use of GPS systems to track children via cell phones, whether prisoners may receive vegan meals and other topics.

For the second year in a row, the University of Miami's winning team donated their cash prize to Voices for Children, a Miami nonprofit that provides assistance to post-fostercare children.

“The School is proud to be part of the Ethics Debate competition, and we are especially proud to have our students go on to regional and national championships,” says Dean Paul K. Sugrue. “Ethics is an important part of our curriculum, and it is very rewarding to see our students apply what they are learning on campus so successfully to important societal issues.”  

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