Rochester dominates at Cornell Tournament

The weekend of February 11-12 was a good one for the University of Rochester Debate team. The debaters cinched a total of five speaker awards in the Varsity policy division, three teams finished top five and the senior team of Vijay Kasschau and Kevin Diamond wraps up the tournament by winning the final round on a 2-1 decision.

Moment of truth…

Yemen Civil Law Enforcement vs Cap K

And victory! Diamond and Vijay also won first and third speaker in their division respectively.

Rochester DK went 5-1 in preliminary debates and were perfect in elimination rounds. They were debating New School in the finals, seen above.

Two other Varsity policy teams made it to the elimination rounds as well. Alyssa Schwartz and Ben Batha finishing third, having been walked over by Rochester DK. The team of Tommye Weddington and Vinit Akolkar finished fifth, and both debaters received a speaker award for their success.

The top novice team of Cody Monday and LJ Abrell also had a good run. They were 4-1 in prelims and won every debate in elimination rounds until the final round when they dropped to the US Naval Academy in a close debate.

And they got the shiny plate!

Not forgetting the Junior Varsity division, the team of Amelia Poulin and Chiranjeevi Raghunath finished fifth, while the other novice team of Camilo Benitez & Rebecca Schaffer finished fifth in their division as well.


Our fearless leader Ken Johnson also grabbed an award for best judge.

And now for the the worlds side of things…

The Cornell IV (Worlds/British Parliamentary) tournament coincided with the very first Novice Nationals hosted on the same campus and run by the same Adjudication team of Alex Warsnip, Alex Just and Leah Salgado. The Chief Adjudicator was Alex Warsnip who is a storied debater from the United Kingdom finaling, winning and adjudicating at some of the most prestigious tournaments in the world.

The University of Rochester Debate Team entered 8 teams in the Novice Nationals and 2 in the Cornell IV. The competition was tough but the Monroe Community College and University of Rochester swing debate partnership of Benjamin Lesnewski (MCC) and Cathering Zeng (UR) broke to Quarter Finals at Novice Nationals. Lesnewski won 9th Best Novice Speaker. In a close round the team was knocked out in Quarter but both students are very excited about all that they learned at the tournament.

Well over half of the URDU debaters at the Cornell tournament were attending their very first university debate tournament and debating with brand new partners! And many of the other students are already working hard for the next tournament – Regional Championship at Western Connecticut State University February 25th and 26th.

Cornell IV & Novice Nationals 2012
1. This House Would ban religious institutions from discriminating against same sex couples in adoption proceedings.
2. This House Believes That crimes perpetrated against police officers should not carry heavier sentences than those against ordinary members of the public
3. This House Believes That all and any race based affirmative action policies should be based on wealth instead.
4. This House Supports Romeo and Juliet laws.

Debate – WUDC – Romeo & Juliet Laws – Cornell 2012 Round 4 from Alfred Snider on Vimeo.

5. This House Would withdraw government funding from humanities research deemed to have insignificant chance of having any social impact.
6. This House supports the use of the word “apartheid” to describe Israel’s treatment of Palestinians.

CORNELL IV QUARTERFINALS MOTION: This House Believes That alcohol companies should be liable to financially compensate American Indian communities blighted by alcoholism.
CORNELL IV SEMIFINALS: This House Would arm Syrian rebels.

This House Would directly elect the US vice president YALE WON, COLGATE 2ND

This House Believes That developing countries should prioritize the advanced education of the few over the basic education of the many.

Debate – WUDC – Education for Few over Many – Novice Nationals Quarterfinal 1 from Alfred Snider on Vimeo.

This House Would ban the advertisement of cosmetic products.

Debate – WUDC – Ban Advertising of Cosmetics – Novice Nationals 2012 Semifinals from Alfred Snider on Vimeo.

This House Believes That civil disobedience is never morally justified in democracies with full suffrage

Debate – WUDC – Civil Disobedience – Novice Nationals Final Cornell 2012 from Alfred Snider on Vimeo.


Benjamin Lesnewski and Catherine Zeng – Quarter Finalists

Alia working it! Levan being Levan…

Rockie Kuok, Joy Cheng, Helen Meng, Levan Bokeria, Victor Zheng, David Yao, Jenny Zeng and Zheng Wang

Sonya A. and Morgan Leigh hanging out between rounds

Catherine Zeng debating from the Closing Opposition in the Quarter Finals



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