Colleges Dominate at Debate Invitational – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Colleges Dominate at Debate Invitational

The HWS Debate Team started off the season with a dominating performance at the Rochester Invitational this past weekend.

Gerald “Buzz” Klinger ’12 and William McConnell ’12 were consistently the top-ranked team out of more than 50 teams from across the region. In preliminary competition, they won five out of six of the debates about topics ranging from the uprisings in the Middle East to affirmative action programs in western liberal democracies. In elimination rounds, the duo beat teams from Cornell, St. John’s, University of Vermont, and Grove City on their way to winning the entire tournament.

In addition, McConnell won top honors for being the best individual speaker at the entire competition, as determined by cumulative judge scores of each speech. Klinger was the third-place individual speaker overall, and Emma Lowenberg ’13 was the third- ranked novice speaker.

Meanwhile, Anna Dorman ’14 and Thomas Luly ’12 made it to the semifinal rounds, beating teams from Cornell and University of Vermont in the quarterfinal round which was about whether lifetime tenure for Supreme Court justices should be removed. Aboubacar Okeke-Diagne ’15 and Lowenberg also competed in novice finals which were about mandatory voting laws in democracies.

Additionally, Sarah Ford ’15 and Patricia Franklin ’15 had a strong showing in the novice bracket. HWS Debaters Scott Davis ’15, Marjorie Mitchell ’14, Chavon Thomas ’15, and Danielle Stokel ’15 performed well as judges in some competitive rounds.

“Our team continues to do amazingly well this year,” says Assistant Professor of Philosophy and debate coach Eric Barnes. “This weekend was important, not just because our top team won the tournament, but even more because of the impressive results from our newer debaters.”

The HWS Debate team competes in frequent tournaments in the Northeast, as well as in national and international tournaments each year. Klinger and McConnell will represent HWS this year at the World Championships in Manila, Phillipines.

Those interested in joining the debate team should contact the team’s vice president Anna Dorman at or recruitment officer Andrew Wynkoop at Students are welcome to join at any point during the year. The team practices on Mondays at 7 p.m. and on Thursdays at 6:30 p.m.