Public Debate 2014: Should Fraternities be Banned?

For the last public debate of the semester, the UR Debate Union decided to take on the controversial topic of whether all-male social fraternities should be banned on college campuses. The debate was very well-attended. At the end of the debate, the audience voted on which side won the argument and gave the victory to Nina and Miriam, who were arguing that fraternities should be banned.

Students and community members wait for the debate to begin.
Students and community members wait for the debate to begin.

Four debaters from the University of Rochester Debate Union participated in the debate. Outgoing URDU President Nina Datlof was the the Prime Minister, Varsity Debater and Phi Kappa Tau brother Steven Torrisi was the Leader of the Opposition, Outgoing Publicity & Recruitment Manager and Vice President-Elect Miriam Kohn was the Deputy Prime Minister, and Outgoing Vice President and President-Elect Reefat Aziz was the Deputy Leader of the Opposition. Coach Alex Martel moderated the debate and got the chance to show off his comedic skills.

Nina delivers a speech during the debate.
Nina delivers a speech during the debate.
Miriam and Nina stand up simultaneously to ask POI's during Reefat's speech.
Miriam and Nina stand up simultaneously to ask POI’s during Reefat’s speech.
Steve delivers his Leader of the Opposition speech.
Steve delivers his Leader of the Opposition speech.
Alex Martel explains the format prior to the start of the debate.
Alex Martel explains the format prior to the start of the debate.

After the debaters spoke, Alex opened up the floor to speeches from the audience. Several people spoke, including former President of Phi Kappa Tau Nick Benjamin, the director of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs for the University of Rochester, and multiple members of the student body.

Director of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs John DiSarro delivers a floor speech.
Director of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs John DiSarro delivers a floor speech.
Former President of Phi Kappa Tau Nick Benjamin delivers a floor speech after the debate.
Former President of Phi Kappa Tau Nick Benjamin delivers a floor speech after the debate.

Members of the student body deliver floor speeches after the debate.
Members of the student body deliver floor speeches after the debate.

The debate was a lot of fun and an excellent opportunity for the team to engage with the community. As the URDU winds down the year and our students prepare for final exams, a lively and well-attended public debate was a good way to close out the 2013-2014 season.

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