On Oct. 2 and 3, the HWS Debate Team will host its first debate tournament of the year on campus. Some of the top programs in the country will bring teams, including Cornell, Colgate, University of Vermont, Ohio Wesleyan, Kings College, and St. Johns. Chris Croke and Steve Hind, the reigning world champions from Sydney University, will be in attendance. The team won an amazing victory in Turkey in January and Croke is now on tour of the Northeast. The pair will adjudicate the Colleges first (and what it hopes will become an annual) regional tournament.
The HWS Debate Team has, in a short time, established itself as among the most competitive in the nation. Over the past few years, the Colleges have consistently placed teams in quarterfinals or better in tournaments, and sent teams to the World Championships in Ireland, Thailand and Turkey; it will send a team to Botswana this year. Recently, the HWS Debate Team competed in the Eastern Regional Opener in Binghamton and HWS’ top team of Dan Maguire ’11 and Gerald “Buzz” Klinger ’12, placed third out of 60 teams. The final round consisted of teams from HWS, Colgate, Cornell, and the University of Vermont (who won the round).
HWS also brought three novice teams to the tournament, many of whom had never debated before. They competed successfully and improved throughout the weekend. The general consensus following the tournament was that it was a great learning experience.
The HWS team competes in the British Parliamentary style. Motions, which are the topics to be debated, are generally controversial issues relating to international relations, ethics, politics, human rights, and the like. Some of the motions from this most recent tournament include: parents of morbidly obese children should be charged with child abuse; the government should allow people to sell their votes; and the government would ban the creation of artificial life.
The debate team always welcomes new members and encourages anyone who even thinks they might be interested to attend a meeting. In competition, rounds are divided up based on scores from the previous round, so novices will not be debating against world champion debaters.
Maguire, who is also president of the debate team, explains, “Debate is a great way not only to improve your public speaking skills, but also to improve your analytical and critical reasoning skills.”
Eric Barnes, debate team coach and assistant professor of philosophy, believes that participating in the debate team is one of the best opportunities available at HWS, preparing students for the future “unlike just about anything else.”
Anyone who is interested should attend meetings Monday and Thursday at Delancey House. Come directly to Delancey, or join one of the groups meeting outside both Hale Hall and Hirshson around 6:45 to walk over together.