University Debate Hawks Take on Arizona Debate Institute

Daniel Roman, Kelly Craig, and Jessica Roberts attended the Arizona Debate Institute this August, which included seminars and guest speakers to prepare the team for the upcoming debate season.

The Institute was held at Arizona State Univeristy where debate teams came from all over the United States to enhance their skills,  techniques  and participate in collecting evidence for the upcoming debate year. Universities such as West Point, West Virginia, University of Dallas, CUNY and many others attended.

Daniel Roman, the University’s veteran captain, attended the ADI last summer. Roman is a junior at the University studying political science. He became the captain as a sophomore and spent the last year debating at the Junior Varsity level.

Joining Roman as captain this year is Kelly Craig. Craig is a senior at the University, SGA President and studies political science.

Last year Craig won the Western Novice Debate Championship with partner, Michelle Grushko in Sacramento, Calif. last March.

Jessica Roberts is a senior political science and communication major who joined the team last year and has been successful in multiple tournaments including winning a trophy in Sacramento last March.

Dr. Joseph Patten, chair of the Political Science and Sociology Department and coach of the debate team said, “Kelly, Dan, and Jessica represent the best type of leaders; they lead by serving. Whether they are coaching debate to Asbury Park high school kids, or working hard behind the scenes for our debate team, they are tireless and selfless in leading our team to even greater heights.”

The ADI is scheduled right after the new debate resolution is released. The resolution, or what the debate is centered around, must be broad enough for one team to advocate for it and the other to discourage against it. While at the institute, they learned this year’s debate resolution, which states:

“Resolved: The United States Federal Government should substantially increase statutory and/or judicial restrictions on the war powers authority of the President of the United States in one or more of the following areas: targeted killing; indefinite detention; offensive cyber operations; or introducing United States Armed Forces into hostilities.”

Roman expressed his delight with the resolution.

“This year’s resolution is going to be very exciting. With everything going on in Syria right now, it is very timely that we are going to be debating whether or not the President can take us to war,” he said.

Roman, Craig, and Roberts attended lectures that were focused specifically on this year’s resolution.  The ADI brought in coaches to give the debaters an understanding of this year’s topic.

These lectures were focused on all aspects of debate, which included research methods, writing affirmative cases, kritiks, counterplans, topicality arguments, disadvantages, and learning how to effectively flow an argument.

Roberts said, “Arizona was an amazing experience, and really helped me to prepare for the upcoming debate season. The coaches were very knowledgeable about the topic, their lectures were interesting and easy to listen to.”

Roberts continued, “We learned a lot about the technicalities of debate, but even more about the topic, which is always important in writing cases and applying them in the tournaments.”

Roman praised the instructors by stating, “Kelly, Jess, and I learned about this year’s debate topic from some of the best debate coaches in the country.”

The ADI divided the debaters into lab groups. During these lab groups, the debaters learned specific aspects of debate. The debaters were also instructed on how to find relevant evidence for the side they are advocating. The groups also specified on finding evidence that other teams will use against them.

Craig said, “Having been given the opportunity to attend the Arizona Debate Institute has allowed me to better understand the topic.”

While at the institute, the debaters were broken up again and did numerous practice debates to enhance their debating skills.

To win a debate round, the debater would have to successfully advocate their position and persuade the judge. The institute had specific public speaking drills that were imperative and effective in making the debaters attain a comfort level with public speaking.

After leaving the ADI, all three of the students could not wait to inform the other members of the team, start writing new cases and start the debate season.

Roman said, “As captain this year I am very excited. We are looking forward to having the biggest team in our history. Last year for the first time, we won a debate tournament in California showing that MU can debate with the top teams in America. “

Roman continued, “We have very high goals for the team this year and I know everyone will work hard and we will continue to make Monmouth proud debating around the country.”

Craig stated, “I’m very excited to begin working this year with the group of debaters we have! I can’t wait to see our team continue to improve!”

Roberts concluded, “It was very rewarding and made me look forward to the upcoming year!”

PHOTO TAKEN by Jessica Roberts