Debate stalls at SDSU

Valuable experience gained from tourney


Cathie Lawrence

The Debate Team practicing for their upcoming season. Coaches Marie Arcidiacono and Kasey Gardner lead a session earlier this semester.

The LMC Debate Team has returned from its first tournament in the World debate format at San Diego State University, Oct. 4 and 5, and although it did not come out on top, the experience was valuable for the team and the debaters are more motivated than ever.

“I was extremely proud of the debaters’ overall performance at the tournament,” Debate Coach Marie Arcidiacono said. “We knew going in that this tournament would serve as a learning experience so the fact that they were able to walk away with new knowledge of what a true World’s tournament is like was a huge success in my eyes.”

Yetunde Ogunleye, a member of the team, said the format was not entirely what was expected. “It felt a lot more aggressive,” said Ogunleye, who noted that the opposition often “addressed you directly instead of your bench.”

The debate team was also given a difficult schedule. The team was put into four consecutive debates right off the bat.

Team Member Dylan Melowitz was surprised by the skill of the debaters in the tournament, and respected their ability and ability to adapt to the difficult resolutions.

“I was taken aback,” he said, “but getting kicked to my rear-end really fuels me.”

Debate Coach Kasey Gardner noted the air of nervousness present at the beginning.

“When you enter a tournament where you don’t know anyone,” he said, “everyone seems on edge.”

Gardner said nervousness disappears once you get to know the setting, although he admitted it was harder for the students.

“I’ve got the easy job, the students have to do the actual debating while I judge,” he said. “We made friends quickly.”

World is unlike the Parliamentary format the team had participated in the last few years.

At its core, World is a debate format designed to be more easily accessible to the general audience. Anyone should be able to attend a tournament and understand the debate.

In Parliamentary debate, teams often use technical language and attempt to get as many points across as quickly as possible. However, in World format debaters are encouraged to make points clearly and use everyday language so that the audience is not left out of the debate.

In World format, two teams debate an issue, known as a resolution, in each round. The two teams are comprised of four members, each in a pair. These pairs are dubbed the first and second government and the first and second opposition.

Teams are given their debate’s resolution approximately 15 minutes before they are scheduled to debate. The pairs are then isolated from the rest of their bench, coaches and mentors to plan their arguments. When the 15 minutes of planning are up, the debate begins.

Each team takes turns sending a speaker in a predetermined order to debate and each competitor speaks for seven minutes, during which the opposing team can ask for or deliver points of information.

Instead of being scored as a whole, the pairs are ranked individually in the results, and the team is awarded points based on where each pair places.

The team’s next debate will be held Wednesday, Oct. 22 at 6 p.m. at Pittsburg City hall. The topic will be Proposition 2, an upcoming measure to alter