2017 Ethics Bowl Competition to Focus on Driverless Cars

by Janelle Hill | Mar 22, 2017



Winners of the 2016 Ethics Bowl from DeSales University, who placed 1st and 3rd in the annual competition. The students flank Robert Fleming, son of Richard Fleming, whose foundation started the Fleming Institute for Business Ethics.

The year is 2019. Thousands of driverless taxis are close to hitting the streets of New York City. You’re the CEO of a rapidly growing online auto insurance company. You have the opportunity to submit a proposal to cover the new fleet. But is it worth the risk?

That’s the question college students across the Lehigh Valley will have to answer during The Fleming Institute for Business Ethics competition at DeSales University. The annual ethics bowl presents a business-related ethical dilemma and requires students to respond with a detailed action plan. They will present those plans before a panel of business executives serving as judges.

Colleges and universities in the Lehigh Valley will participate in the event, which will be held on Thursday, March 30, 2017 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. in the DeSales University Center. Students will have to decide whether to take a chance on the new and evolving technology. On one hand, they can gain a competitive advantage in a large and growing market. But while autonomous cars are expected to save lives in the long run, research indicates that the number of driving-related deaths will increase during the first few years of the program.

Martin Brett, associate professor of sport management and co-chair of the competition, calls it a win-win for both students and judges. “That dialogue between the judges who are in that business environment and the students who want to be in that environment is invaluable,” he says. “It’s an opportunity for the students to make some business contacts and for these judges also to identify someone that their organization might be interested in.”

All eight teams will present their cases in the preliminary round. After lunch, the judges will name four finalists. Then comes the twist. The final teams will be given a curve ball related to the case and have a limited amount of time to come up with a response.

Rob Vaughn, longtime anchor at 69 News in Allentown, will deliver the keynote address during lunch. Vaughn joined WFMZ-TV in 1987 after years in radio. He has also narrated documentaries that aired on the History Channel and other networks, and his op-ed essays have appeared in a number of newspapers. 

Richard Fleming and his family foundation established The Fleming Institute for Business Ethics in 2009 with a goal to promote a culture of ethical awareness and action in business professions through the collaborative efforts of corporate and educational groups. The work of the institute is administered by the DeSales University Division of Business, in collaboration with the Salesian Center for Faith & Culture.

The ethics bowl is free and open to the public. For more information, contact Martin Brett at 610.282.1100, ext. 1832, or Martin.Brett@desales.edu

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Tom McNamara, Executive Director of Communications

610.282.1100 x1219

DeSales University
2255 Station Avenue
Center Valley, PA 18034