In April, Hobart and William Smith hosted 16 of the world’s best collegiate debate teams at the Colleges’ annual Round Robin, one of the most prestigious international tournaments. The final debate included two teams from Harvard University, a team from Melbourne University and a team from Oxford University, which prevailed as the tournament’s champions. The Melbourne team took second place.
The 13th annual tournament was held on campus, where debaters and judges hailing from 18 different nations analyzed and advocated about six controversial topics, which spanned the decline of the humanities in higher education; legislation protecting fetal health; potential Brexit solutions; pharmaceutically induced happiness; sports and national identity; and whether the Black Lives Matter movement should embrace open carry gun laws and engage in armed community patrols.
Student teams represented universities from Australia, Bangladesh, Canada, Croatia, England, Ireland, Israel and across the United States. In addition to Harvard, Melbourne and Oxford, participating teams include those from Cambridge University, Cornell University, Independent University of Bangladesh, London School of Economics, Stanford University, Tel Aviv University, University College Dublin, Wilfred Laurier University, Yale University and Zagreb University.
While the Colleges regularly earn victories against top teams in other tournaments, the rules prohibit the HWS team from competing while hosting the Round Robin. Most recently, the HWS Debate team earned both team and individual awards at Cornell this spring.
Associate Professor of Chemistry Kristen Slade won the annual “Final Four” contest, accurately predicting the winner and second place team, along with the wildcard fifth place team (Cambridge).