The HWS Debate Team welcomed more than 300 collegiate debaters from across North America for the first HWS Intervarsity Debate Tournament, the largest debate event in the history of the Colleges.
The tournament was held from Friday, Sept. 30 to Sunday, Oct. 2 and featured teams from across the United States and Canada, some ranked among the world’s best debaters. The final debate championship was held on Oct. 2 in Albright Auditorium. Harvard University won the tournament, with University of Toronto (Hart House) taking second place. Bates College and University of Rochester were also in the final round, which featured a topic on campus safe spaces, trigger warnings and new leftist political tactics on college campuses. As hosts, the Colleges did not compete.
Beginning with this season, HWS Debate has transformed the well-established regional HWS Fall Classic IV into a major continental competition.
“To do this, we have recruited the most qualified and prestigious adjudication team ever assembled for a tournament in North America,” said Associate Professor of Philosophy and HWS Debate Coach Eric Barnes. “This may sound like an exaggeration, but it is not even close to one, since our team includes North American Champions, a European Champion, World Champions, and a coach of World Champions. Our intention is to ensure that in the future, every fall tournament at HWS will be among the most competitive in North America, which is only possible through the hard work and dedication of the students on the HWS Debate Team.”
Among this year’s Intervarsity Debate competitors were: Amherst College, Bard College, Bates, Brown University, Carleton University, Clemson University, Colgate University, Columbia University, Cornell University, George Washington University, Harvard, Ithaca College, Johns Hopkins University, King’s College, McGill University, Morehouse College, New York University, Northeastern University, Patrick Henry College, Queen’s University, Rochester Institute of Technology, Stanford University, Swarthmore College, University of Alaska, University of British Columbia, University of Calabar, Western University, UR, Toronto, University of Vermont, Vassar College and Yale University.
“More than 100 teams sent their best and brightest for an amazing tournament,” said Grace Marshall ’19, HWS Debate team secretary. “Everyone walked away having learned something and met someone new.”
In addition to the fall tournament, each spring HWS Debate hosts the International Round Robin Debate Tournament, the most elite debate tournament in the world. The 2016 event featured collegiate debate teams from about 20 countries ranging from Singapore and Sweden to Malaysia and South Africa.
For the HWS Debate Team, the 2015-2016 academic year was noted with a series of successful tournament appearances. HWS won both the Brad Smith Invitational at the University of Rochester and Cornell Inter-Varsity tournaments. They also advanced teams to the elimination rounds at Yale IV and the National Championships, and they had a team in the final round of the highly competitive Colgate Open.
The team maintains close connections with its base of alums, including Gerald “Buzz” Klinger ’12, who along with Will McConnell ’12 were named the United States Universities Debate Champions. Hosted at Williamette University in Salem, Ore., they placed first in the nation among 156 top-ranked teams.
During the academic year, the HWS Debate Team meets twice each week.