April 4, 2006

U of C home to annual debate competition

The University of Chicago hosted its annual national intercollegiate debate tournament last Friday and Saturday, drawing in 37 teams and 80 debaters from across the country.

Organized by the University’s Chicago Debate Society, the event is typically held the first weekend back from spring break and usually involves a light-hearted theme, such as last year’s “Make Love Not War” premise and this year’s title, “The 2006 Chicago Free Market Parliamentary Debate Tournament.”

Although a University team did not compete, the Chicago Debate Society did have its hands full managing and judging the tournament.

“Except in the final rounds…judging was done by individual members of the Chicago Debate Society with the better rounds being judged by the more senior debaters,” said Josh Libling, a fourth-year in the College and Chicago Debate Society member.

Students in the Law School and two ex-presidents of the Chicago Debate Society also helped with judging the tournament, according to Libling.

Continuing on the theme of free trade, a Saturday afternoon banquet was sponsored by the Graduate School of Business (GSB) and featured a talk by Associate Dean Rose Martinelli that was “very well received,” Libling said.

Pointing out the spirit of humor in the tournament, Libling explained that the group also presented “joke resolutions” before each round, such as a resolution asking debaters to maximize a LaGrangian function.

The final match came down to a Stanford University team and a hybrid team of University of Oxford and Fordham University students. The Stanford team secured an 11–7 victory decision with one abstention.

Reflecting on the festivities of the weekend, Libling said the event only hit one minor snag.

“I’m from Australia and can’t visualize measurements not of the metric system and so ordered trophies that were way too small,” Libling said. “The major trophies, however, were fine: clear acrylic hands with laser engraving on them. They were supposed to be ‘invisible hand of the market’ trophies because the tournament’s theme was free trade.”