West Virginia Tournament

the Beautiful View of West Virginia University

the Beautiful View of West Virginia University

In Mid-November the URDU’s policy team headed to two tournaments. While Emoni and Tobi headed to the Varsity debates at Wake Forest, K.Y. Chen, Salva Ken, Graeme McGuire, Nick Heitsch, Emmani Karra, and Anna Li headed to West Virginia University to debate in the Novice division.

The team had a great experience in the mountains of Morgantown. The unique scenery offered a beautiful view of life in the mountains of Appalachia, and the tournament offered great competition. Partnerships K.Y. and Salva, and Emmani and Anna both ended the tournament with a 2-4 record. Nick and Graeme went 5-1, seeding 2nd out of 47 teams in prelims, and making it to semifinals.

Nick Heitsch and Graeme McGuire Broke into the Semifinalists

Nick Heitsch and Graeme McGuire Broke into the Semifinalists

Our Great Debaters and the Lovable Coach

Our Great Debaters and the Lovable Coach

In addition Nick Heitsch was awarded 6th speaker out of 94 debaters in the Novice Bracket. Overall the team learned a lot, running into new arguments and challenging competition.

All told WVU was a solid ending of the Fall semester for our policy novices. 

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Wake Forest Debate Tournament

the Campus of Wake Forest University (Source from the Internet )

the Campus of Wake Forest University (Source from the Internet )

At 7 am on a Friday morning, two debaters and their coach piled into a minivan to catch a flight to Greensboro, NC in order to attend the Wake Forest Tournament. Preparing for the last tournament of the semester (before the swings), Tobi and Emoni spent the flight sleeping, prepping, and studying … biology. Upon our arrival, it was time to debrief with Martel and prepare for the days ahead.

After three days on intense debate, hanging out with friends, and eating Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, Rochester finished the semester strong going 4-4 at a national tournament. Needless to say URDU had a strong showing all semester and next semester will keep reaching for more achievements.

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Public Debate: Should Arranged Marriages be Banned in Southeast Asia?

University of Rochester has a diverse community with students from all over the world. Sometimes the cultural barriers handicap the communications between different groups of students. To facilitate more mutual understanding between cultures, on November 22nd, the UR Debate Union used a public debate to take a closer look at whether arranged marriages should be banned in Southeast Asia.

The debate was well-attended. Junior Ndlovu and Katelyn Offerdahl moderated the debate.

The debate was well-attended. Junior Ndlovu and Katelyn Offerdahl moderated the debate.

One of the audience was enjoying the delicious the samosas that URDU provided

One of the audience members enjoying the delicious samosas that URDU provided

The public debate was moderated by URDU Business Manager Junior Ndlovu and URDU Scribe Katelyn Offerdahl.  The program featured eight debaters from UR Debate Union and the Association for Development of Interest in the Indian Subcontinent(ADITI). On the affirmative side, URDU Webmaster Christopher Perkins was the Prime Minister, member of ADITI leadership board Hira Alama was the Deputy Prime Minister, URDU debater Benjamin Frazer was the Member of Government, and member of ADITI leadership board Kavyasri Nagumotu was the Government Whip. On the negative side, President of URDU Syed “Reefat” Aziz was the Leader of Opposition, President of ADITI Harleen Kaur Girgla was the Deputy Leader of Opposition, URDU debater Graeme C. McGuire was the Member of Opposition and URDU debater Abdulwahab “Abdul” Alhaji was the Opposition Whip. The debate featured students of all ages, including four freshmen: Hira Alam, Benhamin Frazer, Kavyasri Nagumotu, and Graeme C. McGuire.

All the debaters who participated in the public debate

All the debaters who participated in the public debate

During the speech, the affirmative side talked about the nature of marriage, classism and emotional blackmail, which were criticized by the negative side as the white savior complex. The negative side discussed topics ranging from cultural relativism to third wave feminism. The core of the debate came down to the two major clashes — cultural collectivism vs. individualism and second-wave feminism vs. third-wave feminism.

The affirmative side(from right to left: Prime Minister Christ Perkins, Deputy Prime Minister Hira Alama, Meber of Government Benjamin Frazer and Government Whip Kavyasri Nagumotu)

The affirmative side (from right to left): Prime Minister Chris Perkins, Deputy Prime Minister Hira Alama, Member of Government Benjamin Frazer and Government Whip Kavyasri Nagumotu

The negative side(from left to right: Leader of Opposition Syed "Reefat" Aziz, Deputy Leader of Opposition  Kaur Girgla, Member of Opposition Graeme C McGuire, and Opposition Whip Abdulwahab "Abdul" Ahaji)

The negative side (from left to right): Leader of Opposition Syed “Reefat” Aziz, Deputy Leader of Opposition Harleen Kaur Girgla, Member of Opposition Graeme C. McGuire, and Opposition Whip Abdulwahab “Abdul” Ahaji

The Member of Government Benjamin Frazer tried to give a POI to the Leader of Opoosition Syed Reefat Aziz

The Member of Government Benjamin Frazer offers a POI to the Leader of Opoosition Syed Reefat Aziz

People was listening carefully to the speech of Member of Opposition Graeme C McGuire

Audience members listening carefully to the speech of Member of Opposition Graeme C. McGuire

  The public debate attracted a lot of people. During the speeches, many people were taking notes and, after the debate round, people lined up to deliver floor speeches. Some audience members from cultures where arranged marriages are prominent talked about the first-hand experiences with the topic and clarified variations across different countries. Some audience members also talked about questions they had about the topic and the way this public debate changed their ideas regarding arranged marriages.

Audience waited for delivering the floor speech after the debate round

Audience members waiting to deliver floor speeches

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  As we said in the last pages of the program distributed to audience members, the purpose of public debates is to inform the university community about contemporary issues. UR Debate Union is always dedicated to presenting the controversial issues to the public and giving public a chance to consider issues they might otherwise ignore.

Thank you for all the support we received from our great co-sponsors: Association for Development of Interest in the Indian Subcontinent(ADITI), Student Association for the Development of Arab Cultural Awareness(SADACA), Pan African Students’ Association(PASA), Delta Phi Omega Rochester, UR D’lions, Muslim Students’ Association(MSA), and Hindu Students’ Association(HSA).

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The Hart House IV 2014

While the Policy contingent headed to West Point over Meliora Weekend, four debaters from the URDU’s Worlds squad and coach Nina Datlof headed over the border to Toronto for the Hart House IV at the University of Toronto. Topics were diverse and ranged from “This house would publicly disclose all salaries” to “THBT war journalists should be forced to reveal their sources in international criminal tribunals (including the International Criminal Court) trying cases of war crimes, crimes against humanity or genocide.”

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The info slide from a round on youth sports academies

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The crowded GA room during the briefings for judges and debaters prior to the start of Round 1

 

Outside of rounds, highlights of the tournament included the annual black-tie banquet (which was not only rumored to have lobster bisque but did, in fact, serve lobster bisque), wandering Toronto and the beautiful University of Toronto campus as a team, and the URDU tradition of playing cards in between rounds.

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Katelyn, Chris, Sarah, and Nina play cards and study between registration and the start of the first round

The URDU's debaters (from left: Sarah, Miriam, Chris, and Katelyn) pose at the fancy banquet

The URDU’s debaters (from left: Sarah, Miriam, Chris, and Katelyn) pose at the fancy banquet

Although the URDU didn’t bring home any shiny trophies, the group had a lot of fun and got some great preparation for upcoming tournaments from the strong competition!

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Rutgers University Invitational 2014

Bleary-eyed and anxious as to what the day would bring, eight debaters piled into minivans and drove to Rutgers, New Jersey for the University of Rochester Debate Union’s policy debate season opener. Since Rutgers was the first policy tournament of the year, the ride was filled with students practicing their speeches, going over negative strategies, and taking the occasional power nap to keep themselves going (not to mention being entertained by the coaches’ interesting taste in music). Once in New Jersey, students put on their game faces and prepared to debate the many aspects of this year’s resolution: marijuana, prostitution, organ sales, online gambling, and physician-assisted suicide.

Rutgers map

After two days of intense debates and learning the many perspectives to the year’s resolution, the Rochester debaters left their mark. One of our novice teams, Nick and Abdul, cleared to elimination rounds as the 8th seed out of 40 team in the novice division and advanced to quarterfinals. Rochester’s second novice team of Junior & Kate went 3-3, as did our JV team of Ben and Anne. Tobi and Emoni also went 2-4 in the JV bracket. Additionally, Nick Heitsch took home 6th novice speaker out of the 80 novice debaters in the bracket.

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Anne and Ben prepare between rounds

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Kate, Junior, Brady, and Abdul prepare and relax between rounds

The strong performance was an excellent way to start the season and whetted the team’s appetite for further competition!

 

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Yale IV 2014

The first weekend in October, four teams traveled to Yale to compete against debaters from all over the US, Canada, and England.

Yale Campus

A shot of the Yale campus

There were several motions on education: “This house opposes the charter school system,” “This house believe that institutionalized art credentials are bad for art, and “This believes that universities and other stakeholders should primarily consider teaching ability rather than research outputs when awarding tenure and allocating academic funding” (of particular interest to us attending a research university that still claims focus on undergraduate education).

Yale GA

The GA room for the tournament

And as at any worlds tournament, there were political science motions: “This how will cooperate with any leader or regime to defeat non-state actors that systematically violate human rights” and “This house, and an emerging democracy, will suppress local/domestic organizations in favor of international media.” Most memorable was, “This house regrets online dating that judges on past dating experience (e.g. Lulu)”—none of us knew how Lulu worked prior to the round, and not all of us were pleased to learn about it afterwards.

Kasia waits eagerly for lunch to be served

Kasia waits eagerly for lunch to be served

URDU debaters Dan, Graeme, and Rachit pose for the camera during a rare moment of sunshine

URDU debaters Dan, Graeme, and Rachit pose for the camera during a rare moment of sunshine

Although none of the teams broke, and we were repeatedly running through pouring rain across an unknown campus, we all learned a lot. Highlights included meeting friends from other schools, finding Chipotle, and entertaining rounds against fellow URDU members!

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University of Vermont Huber Debates 2014

The University of Rochester Debate Union celebrated Halloween this year on the road up north to the Huber Debates in gorgeous Burlington, Vermont. Some of the more spirited members of the team decided to catch the bus in Halloween costumes. Notable costumes include Chris and Miriam’s decision to dress up as each other and Nina and Alex’s decision to dress up as Jimmy, Jr. and Tina from Bob’s Burgers. Over and above all the costume fun, this particular tournament was even more fun than the usual mix of fierce competition and team comraderie because it was the first tournament offering debates in both Policy and Worlds formats that the URDU has had the chance to go to this semster.

A shot of the UVM campus

The URDU had significant competitive success at UVM. Of the ten total teams (and eleven novice competitors!) that Rochester brought, three teams broke to elimination rounds. In novice Policy, Anna Li and Sarah Pisaniello broke to quarterfinals. In Worlds, Ben Frazer & Graeme McGuire broke to novice finals and Chris Perkins & Miriam Kohn reached open quarterfinals.  The URDU also took home a speaker award, as our own Bethany Gardner was named seventh speaker in novice policy.

Ben and Graeme pose with their Novice Finalist award

Chris and Miriam pose with their Open Quarterfinalist award

All told, the tournament was a wonderful way to wrap up the season for the Worlds squad and a great stepping stone for our Policy debaters to build momentum going into the last two Policy tournaments of the season at West Virginia University and Wake Forest.

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