- Associated Press - Sunday, January 31, 2016

LYNCHBURG, Va. (AP) - Hot-button political issues provided fertile territory for moral dilemmas as students from Randolph, Lynchburg and Sweet Briar colleges discussed doing the right thing during an ethics bowl held before an audience at Lynchburg College on Tuesday night.

The Lynchburg, Sweet Briar, and Randolph Ethics Bowl teams were preparing for the Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges Ethics Bowl contest Jan. 31 and Feb. 1. The theme “Ethics and Civic Responsibility” also served as the theme of the exhibition debate Tuesday night.

In one of the scenarios presented, Inez, a fictional clerk at a low-cost women’s health clinic in Houston, is torn apart when she realizes that a familiar patient, Blanca, has presented a fake identification card. Representatives from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement recently came to the clinic and asked them to report anyone they believe does not have a legal right to be in the United States and keep them until ICE can detain them.

Members of Lynchburg College’s Team A and Randolph College’s sole team faced off on that scenario.

Team members had just a handful of minutes to confer before presenting what they felt Inez should do, based upon ethical principles and terms.

Both teams said Inez should not report Blanca, arguing other ethical considerations trumped following government orders in this situation.

Members of the Lynchburg College team argued two points. Most importantly, they said, reporting Blanca would make other women afraid to use the clinic as word of her detainment spread, preventing them from getting needed health services. They also pointed out Blanca has her two children with her in the waiting room.

Randolph’s team argued Inez should not report Blanca based on respecting her rights as an individual.

“There are other avenues for ICE to pursue. . All people deserve a right to healthcare. That should be the norm,” Randolph College student Tahan Menon said.

Sweet Briar coach and philosophy professor Heidi Samuelson said she is new to the school this year, but was happy to help the Sweet Briar students revive their ethics bowl team this year.

She said she loves talking about ethics with students.

“That’s why I teach philosophy,” Samuelson said. “It’s because it can apply to real-life situations and that’s something that gets lost sometimes I think.”

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Information from: The News & Advance, http://www.newsadvance.com/

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