Whitman hosts college debate tournament
February 19, 2012
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The little pink debate fliers are up around campus again, but this time around, they signify that college debaters are in town. Universities from across the country are at Whitman this February 17 through 19 to participate in both the Dean McSloy and Bob Withycomb Whitman Classics.
While most of the participating schools are in the Northwest, the tournament isn’t limited to those in that region. Some of the participating colleges include University of Washington Seattle, University of Washington Bothell, Concordia University, Washburn University, Western University, Concordia, University of Oregon and University of California Irvine.
Starting on Friday, debaters participated in rounds of parliamentary debate, a form of debate where a few general subject areas are announced beforehand, but the actual topic isn’t announced until 20 minutes before the round. Teams of two are assigned to either “government” or “opposition,” with the government team defining the resolution. The opposition has to predict what the government team will argue and be prepared to adapt. These rounds will continue until Sunday, when elimination rounds begin.
Meanwhile, there were also speech rounds on Saturday; both extemporaneous and impromptu competition took place. Extemporaneous speakers have 30 minutes to prepare a seven minute speech on one of three questions related to politics or current events and must use five to nine different sources; impromptu speakers have seven minutes to divide how they see fit between prep time and speaking.
The awards are given out sporadically between rounds.
While this isn’t a huge fundraiser for Whitman speech and debate, it raises awareness about the school and its outstanding debate program.
“Whitman has a really good debate program, and this is known as being one of the most well-run and competitive tournaments in the Northwest, so it attracts a lot of big schools,” said first-year Satinder Haer.
Professor of Forensics Jim Hanson believes that the tournament also benefits Whitman debaters.
“It’s a very strong tournament, and provides our students with excellent competition,” he said.