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Debate Hawks Host Successful Tournament

Students Argue Over Best Way to Approach Foreign Policy

default article imageThe Monmouth Debate Hawks hosted the Jersey Shore Invitational Debate tournament last weekend. It brought 19 different colleges and universities to the campus, adding up to about 250 participants. Among these schools were prestigious names such as Princeton, West Point Military Academy, The Naval Academy, Cornell and a range of other established debate programs.

In these tournaments, there are three divisions for teams to compete in Novice, JV, and Open, varying in skill and experience. The whole event includes six regular competition rounds and break rounds for teams that move on through the competition rounds. The functions were held in four main buildings on campus for each specific division. Novice rounds were held in Bey Hall, JV rounds in McAllan Hall, and Varsity rounds being held in Howard Hall and the Edison Science building.

The content of these debates varies each season. Currently the topic is U.S. funding to Middle Eastern countries such as Yemen, Bahrain and Syria. Each school chooses a specific case to run as the affirmative constructive, while the negative side argues against it in order to discredit or effectively explain why this plan is flawed.

Students use different forms of evidence and proof to build their case and present it to the judge that is presiding over the round. This evidence can incorporate anything that a team believes links to a certain issue or argument set forward by the affirmative constructive. Many teams come up with elaborate displays in order to demonstrate their passion and appeal to the judge. Essentially the only rules of debate are respect for your opponents along with the ethical traditions of the sport. Although students debate political issues, the practice of debate provides them with the ability to think and formulate logical responses on their own, granting them a most valuable skill in any area of expertise.

The hours put in by the students competing were extremely long exhausting. The actual debate rounds, starting at 8:00 am, would last approximately two hours. There were breaks in between. The commitment of all of the teams was truly admirable. For a few teams in particular, this hard work paid off in the end. Institutions such as West Point, Liberty University and Boston College all left taking awards home for their outstanding performance. The end of the competition rounds on Sunday concluded with an awards ceremony in Wilson Hall. CUNY, James Madison, George Mason and West Virginia were all schools that won speaker awards, confirming the great quality of the schools in attendance.

Events such as these tend to require a great amount of volunteerism and planning. Luckily the Monmouth Debate students along with their coach Dr. Joseph Patten handled the logistics of the tournament efficiently and professionally. The team created an incredibly welcoming environment for schools that traveled great distances to participate. The competition was an extreme success for Monmouth as well as the competitors. The tournament ended up being one of the largest events on schedule this season. The Monmouth debate program has grown significantly incorporating students of diverse majors and interests, as well as students that have a passion for politics.

Dr. Patten is very proud of his team and the way the tournament ran. “It was very exciting to host a tournament. There were 20 of the best colleges and a great group of competitors.”

The Monmouth Debate Hawks have had a successful and productive season thus far, bringing home trophies from tournaments at West Point Military Academy and Rutgers University Newark. The schedule for the spring semester includes a trip to Cornell University on February 10 and another event that has yet to be scheduled.

The Debate Hawks look forward to a very successful semester and continuing to soar to new heights.