Earlier this semester, the HWS Debate Team traveled to Amherst, Mass., where David Hernandez ‘10 and Buzz Klinger ‘12 won the UMass debate tournament for the second year in a row. In addition to their team victory, Hernandez won 1st place in individual award and Klinger came in 3rd place. Twenty-eight teams (56 individuals) competed at the British Parliamentary debate tournament. In the championship debate (the last of eight debates), HWS defeated teams from University of Vermont, Bard College and Colgate University on the motion: “This house believes that Barack Obama has failed the American people.” Other HWS students attending the UMass tournament were Benjamin Kress ’10, Ross Hicks ’11, Samuel Koval ’10 and Yiqun Cheng ‘12.
“I think the tournament went well,” says Klinger. “The more important part of the team’s successes can be seen by the success of one of our novice teams, who won one of their rounds at the Binghamton tournament.”
At the Northeast Regional Championships, held at SUNY Binghamton, Hernandez and Klinger made it to quarter-finals. They were ranked 7th out of 44 teams after six preliminary rounds of debate. Out of 88 debaters, Hernandez won 10th place speaker, while Klinger took 4th place overall.
“I think that both our performances at UMass and Binghamton bode well for our chances at Nationals in Denver this April. We reached quarterfinals of nationals last year and have a solid chance to advance much further this year,” Klinger says.
Hobart and William Smith Colleges will also make their presence known by hosting the Hobart and William Smith / IDEA Round-Robin debate tournament from April 10-11 on the Colleges’ campus.
Hernandez is a chemistry major who, after debating in high school, has continued his debate career throughout his time at HWS. During his four years at the Colleges, he has been an active member of the Latin American Organization (LAO) and the Hobart Student Government.
Klinger plans on triple-majoring in political science, public policy and economics. As an experienced debater from high school, his main extracurricular interest is the HWS Debate Team.
Under Eric Barnes, debate team coach and assistant professor of philosophy, the team has had much success in the past. This past December Barnes accompanied Hernandez and teammate Daniel Thorson ’09 to Ireland to compete in the World University Debating Championships. In 2007 the pair was also semifinalists in the U.S. Universities National Tournament in Portland, Oregon. The team gained international recognition in April of 2008 when they hosted an international tournament which attracted the attention of the IDEA-USA (International Debate Education Association).
Barnes joined the faculty in 2004 and earned his Ph.D. and M.A. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and his B.A. from Hampshire College. His current scholarly interests include Moral Political and Legal Philosophy, Applied Ethics (particularly Bioethics) and Rational Choice Theory Debate. Prior to his professorship at the Colleges, Barnes has taught at Mount Holyoke College, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and the University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign.