Public Debate: Should All Universities be Required to Report All Cases of Campus Sexual Assault to the Police?

On April 18th, the URDU hosted a public debate centered on the question, “Should All Universities be Required to Report All Cases of Campus Sexual Assault to the Police?”

The Flyer for the Public Debtae

The Flyer for the Public Debtae

Miriam Kohn (the first speaker on the proposition side, AKA the Prime Minister), Rachit Sabharwal (the second speaker on the proposition side, AKA the Deputy Prime Minister) and Bethany Gardner (the final speaker on the proposition side, AKA the Government Whip) argued that reporting all campus sexual assaults to the police should be mandatory. They emphasized the need for justice for survivors of sexual assault and the safer campus environment that would be created if perpetrators of sexual assault were removed from campuses.

Ben Frazer (the first speaker on the opposition side, AKA the Leader of the Opposition) Anne Cheng (the second speaker on the opposition side, AKA the Deputy Leader of the Opposition) and Kate Zheng (the final speaker on the opposition side, AKA the Opposition Whip) argued against mandatory reporting. They stressed the significance of agency for sexual assault survivors (which can be compromised when the police become involved) and the pressing need for colleges to take responsibility for what happens on their campuses.

Prime Minister, Miriam Kohn presented her speech

Prime Minister, Miriam Kohn presented her speech

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Deputy Prime Minister, Rachit, made a rebuttal to the opposition’s case

All the Debaters who participated in the public debate

All the Debaters who participated in the public debate

Many audience members gave spirited floor speeches after the debate. Overall, the participating URDU members and the larger University of Rochester community treated a difficult topic with the respect and sensitivity it deserved. We are proud of our university for engaging in discussion around such an important issue.

An audience making a floor speech

An audience making a floor speech

An audience making a floor speech

An audience making a floor speech

The representative of our sponsor, Susan B. Anthony Center making a floor speech

The representative of our sponsor, Susan B. Anthony Center making a floor speech

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USUDC 2015 – Anchorage

For our last tournament of the semester, The URDU ventured north to the University of Alaska at Anchorage. While there, we had team success, great weather, and wonderful hospitality from the UAA Seawolves debate program. The motions covered a wide range of topics ranging from unions and privatizing space exploration to tax members of historically oppressed groups at lower rates than their privileged counterparts and supporting free trade.

A photo of the Anchorage Cityscape

A photo of the Anchorage Cityscape

Reefat, Nina, Junior, and Marc hang out between rounds

Reefat, Nina, Junior, and Marc hang out between rounds

Sarah, Miriam, and Marc pose at dinner

Sarah, Miriam, and Marc pose at dinner

The URDU also had considerable success at the tournament. Our partnership of Sarah Hofmann and Junior Ndlovu broke as 25th seed to open octofinals, which were about whether parents have a legal obligation to adopt children rather than having biological children.

Junior Ndlovu and Sarah Hofmann prepare for their octofinal round

Junior Ndlovu and Sarah Hofmann prepare for their octofinal round

Sarah Hofmann and Junior Ndlovu pose with their octofinalists' awards

Sarah Hofmann and Junior Ndlovu pose with their octofinalists’ awards

Our novice partnership of Ben Frazer and Graeme McGuire broke to the novice final, which they proceeded to win. They also took home 5th and 4th novice speaker, respectively.

Graeme delivers a speech during the novice final

Graeme McGuire delivers a speech during the novice final

Ben Frazer delivers his speech during the novice final

Ben Frazer delivers his speech during the novice final

Ben Frazer and Graeme McGuire pose with their trophies

Ben Frazer and Graeme McGuire pose with their trophies

USUDC was a great end to the URDU’s 2014-2015 season. We all look forward to another year of great debating after a chance to rest this summer!

The whole squad from USUDC poses at dinner

The whole squad from USUDC poses at dinner

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Colgate Open 2015

Recently, the URDU took a bus over to nearby Hamilton, New York to attend the Colgate University Open. The tournament had some great competition, with URDU students getting the chance to square off against coaches and debaters from other schools who are typically ineligible under the rules of intervarsity competitions.

Alex, Tobi, Chris, and Nina relax between rounds.

Alex, Tobi, Chris, and Nina relax between rounds.

In addition to the fun and great learning opportunities, the URDU took home an award. Our novice partnership of Ben Frazer and Graeme McGuire cleared to the novice final.

Ben Frazer delivers his speech during the novice final

Ben Frazer delivers his speech during the novice final

Graeme McGuire delivers his speech during the novice final

Graeme McGuire delivers his speech during the novice final.

All told, the weekend was a great learning experience for all of our teams and excellent preparation for the US Universities 2015 Debating Championships in Anchorage.

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Europe 2015: Hungary and Serbia

The URDU sent four Worlds debaters and coach Nina Datlof to tournaments in Hungary and Serbia over spring break. The first tournament, hosted by Central European University, was located in the heart of beautiful Budapest. It was excellently run and we got the chance to meet debaters from all around the world, both in rounds and at social events outside of rounds. The team also got the chance to explore Budapest on days when there weren’t in rounds, visiting sites such as Turkish baths, the Hungarian Parliament building, the famous Chain Bridge, a cemetery, a ballet at the State Opera House and ancient Roman ruins at Aquincum. Although neither of our teams cleared, Miriam Kohn and Reefat Aziz finished on 10 points and missed the break on speaker points.

Hungary 1

Sarah, Nina, Reefat, Miriam, and Katelyn pose in front of the Hungarian Parliament building.

Katelyn, Sarah, Miriam, and Reefat pose inside the State Opera House.

Katelyn, Sarah, Miriam, and Reefat pose inside the State Opera House.

Nina, Reefat, and Miriam pose on the banks of the Danube.

Nina, Reefat, and Miriam pose on the banks of the Danube.

After touring Budapest, the group caught a train to Belgrade for the second tournament. Although the tournament was hosted outside of Belgrade in the town of Arandelovac, we were able to explore the city for a few days before and after the tournament. Highlights included the national military museum, Belgrade fortress, the Nikola Tesla Museum, visiting the site of a former concentration camp, and wandering the city’s shopping district. Although neither of our teams cleared, both Sarah Hofmann & Katelyn Offerdahl and Miriam Kohn & Reefat Aziz were in bubble rooms for the last round. Additionally, Miriam Kohn was awarded 5th speaker for the Open Worlds division.

Reefat has fun playing with electricity at the Tesla Museum.

Reefat has fun playing with electricity at the Tesla Museum.

Nina captures her inner warrior at the military museum.

Nina captures her inner warrior at the military museum.

A dramatic view of Belgrade fortress

A dramatic view of Belgrade fortress

All told, the trip was a wonderful experience and it was a pleasure to be hosted at two great international tournaments! All of the debaters came back with broadened worldviews and sharpened debate skills that we look forward to applying at tournaments closer to home.

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Policy Novice Nationals 2015

While the Worlds squad traveled to Europe, four members of the URDU’s policy contingent traveled to Binghamton for Policy Novice Nationals. While none of our teams cleared, Dan Matthews and Abdul Alhaji had an excellent record of 3-3. The squad also bonded over New York State winter weather and learning to engage with critical affirmatives.

The group walks between rounds. at Binghamton.

The group walks between rounds. at Binghamton.

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Western Connecticut/NEUDC 2015

Last weekend, the URDU took a bus to Danbury, Connecticut for a successful tournament at the Northeastern Universities Debating Championships. In addition to two teams breaking to elimination rounds, the tournament was notable for the fiercely contested Risk tournament played in the back of the team bus going both directions. Freshmen Ben Frazer and Graeme McGuire also decided to make the novice final more interesting by swapping clothing items prior to starting the novice final.

WESTCONN - TEAM in GA

Mary, Amelia, Nina, Graeme, Miriam, and Chris wait for the round 3 motion to be announced.

 

Junior and Unni hang out in GA

Junior and Unni hang out in GA.

Katelyn and Sarah pass the time between rounds by reading.

Katelyn and Sarah pass the time between rounds by reading.

Saif and Graeme crack jokes before round 4.

Saif and Graeme crack jokes before round 4.

The tournament was truncated due to weather concerns and a delayed start on Sunday. Policy cut the sixth preliminary round and Worlds cut quarterfinals, breaking straight to open semifinals and a novice final out of a 60-team field. On the policy side of things, Nick Heitsch broke to octafinals in novice with a swing partner from Western Connecticut.

Nick poses with his trophy.

Nick Heitsch poses with his trophy.

In Worlds, Ben Frazer and Graeme McGuire broke to novice finals as top seed. They nearly broke to open semifinals but lost out on a break decided by speaker points. Additionally, Ben was the top novice speaker and Graeme was the second novice speaker. Miriam Kohn and Chris Perkins were also the 13th seed and would have broken to open quarterfinals.

Ben Frazer and Graeme McGuire prep for the novice final round.

Ben Frazer and Graeme McGuire prep for the novice final.

Graeme McGuire speaks as PM in the novice final.

Graeme McGuire speaks as PM in the novice final.

Ben speaks as DPM in the novice final.

Ben Frazer speaks as DPM while wearing Graeme’s tie.

 

 

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Sydney Landon IV and US Novice Nationals 2015

This past weekend, the URDU travealed over to Ithaca, New York for the 2015 US Novice Nationals and Sydney Landon IV at Ithaca College. In addition to watching some entertaining documentaries on the bus ride to the tournament, the URDU had a very successful weekend, breaking at least one team in each category and bringing home four speaker awards in addition to the team breaks!

Ben Frazer, top novice speaker, poses at the awards ceremony.

Ben Frazer, top novice speaker, poses at the awards ceremony.

In the Novice Nationals Tournament, freshmen Ben Frazer and Graeme McGuire broke to elimination rounds and advanced all the way to the final round. Additionally, Graeme was the 4th novice speaker and Ben received the Margaret Hildebrand award for top novice speaker.

Ben Frazer and Graeme McGuire pose with the other contestants from the final round.

Ben Frazer and Graeme McGuire pose with the other contestants from the final round.

In the parallel varsity Worlds tournament, two teams broke to semifinals: Reefat Aziz & Miriam Kohn and Sarah Hofmann & Katelyn Offerdahl. Junior Ndlovu also picked an award for being the 4th speaker in the tournament.

Reefat Aziz and Miriam Kohn pose with their semifinalists' award.

Reefat Aziz and Miriam Kohn pose with their semifinalists’ award.

Over in Policy, the URDU had another two breaks and an additional speaker award. Nick Heitsch & Anne Cheng advanced to quarterfinals in the Open division and Sarah Pisaniello & Bethany Gardner advanced to finals in the Novice division. Bethany Gardner was also awarded 5th speaker in the Open division.

Sarah Pisaniello and Bethany Gardner prep with coach Alex Martel between rounds.

Sarah Pisaniello and Bethany Gardner prep with coach Alex Martel between rounds.

The weekend was a very strong showing for the URDU and we’re excited for the NEUDC regional championships coming up in Danbury, Connecticut. Stay tuned for updates on that score.

 

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