The Troy University Debate Club hosted a debate tournament on relevant topics and issues among several clubs and organizations to express open ideas.
Charles Taylor, a sophomore history major from Temple, Texas, and president of the Debate Club, said he and members of the Philosophy Society wanted to encourage critical thinking among students, and they felt that creating a debate club and hosting public debate tournaments would best accomplish that goal.
“We believe that nothing is more important than the free exchange and development of ideas; therefore, it is absolutely essential that students, and all people, be allowed and encouraged to share and express their opinions,” Taylor said.
Competitors were each tasked with a topic and paired with an opposing viewpoint for the debate.
The first round focused on the topic “Should college education be free?” The teams were as follows: Economics Club vs. Troy University Student Secular Alliance (TUSSA), Philosophy Society vs. History Club and the Debate Society (business student coalition) vs. the Political Science Club.
Katelyn Richard, a freshman political science major from Hoover and a participant from the History Club debate team, said she and some of her classmates from American Government collectively created the team.
“We hadn’t had much experience with debate in general, so it was hard to find a time to really understand the process of what was going to happen and what each member needed to do,” Richard said. “Once we got together, it was easy to get it all finished.”
The judging criteria focus on five categories: fluency in ideas, creativity in reasoning, aesthetics, adhering to a given role (as per the rulebook) and overall content.
The club selected professors as judges, who based each team’s score in each category on a scale from one to 10. The highest combined score determined who moved on to the next round.
The winners from round one, which includes Team History, Team Political Science and Team TUSSA, will advance to compete in the semifinal round.
While Richard did not compete in the first round, she, along with three other members, will represent the History Club for the semifinal round.
“It was interesting to see how the process actually went,” Richard said. “I did not know that the first team had to respond to the other person right away after their speech.”
The second-round competition, debating “Should local radio stations be mandated to play local bands?” was a face-off between the lowest-scoring teams from round one. Team Business Student Coalition was the winner of this round and will join the other winners to advance to the semi-final round.
The semi-final competition will be held tonight at 5:30 p.m., debating “Should schools (K-12) make arts and music a requirement?” in Patterson Hall Rooms 101 and 103.
“I have an idea of what to expect now, and I am eager to be a part of it (the semifinal round),” Richard said.
The final competition between the two highest-scoring teams will debate “Should the private lives of politicians matter?” and take place at 6:30 p.m. tonight in Patterson 101.
The debates are public and open for attendees to view.