NEW YORK, January 26, 2012—The King’s Debate Society made history at The King’s College on the weekend of January 20th by hosting "The Empire Debates," the College’s first major intercollegiate competition. Attending the tournament were debaters from a variety of institutions including Brandeis, St. John’s University, Yale University, University of Vermont, Claremont Colleges, Patrick Henry College, and others.
During the two day tournament, 48 teams debated topics ranging from internet piracy and the use of sex offender registries to whether the American Revolution was justified. Mobilizing the necessary resources and organizing the competitors was no small task, though Coach Katie Teubl found an abundance of help. Teubl said, “I knew the debate tournament would be a tremendous amount of work, but I was not expecting to have such remarkable support from universities around the country.”
Student leadership and volunteers were important to the success of the tournament. Josiah Peterson, President of The King’s Debate Society, said "Our volunteers, members, and non-members alike, really stepped up to the plate to make this event a success. King's Debate runs on student leadership and we could never have taken on such a venture without the organizational will and institutional support we saw this weekend."
In the final round of the debate tournament, debaters from St. John’s University, Brandeis, and Yale argued the motion that “This house believes that a future Department of Justice should prosecute Obama Administration officials for illegal drone strikes.” After a fierce debate, the opposition team from St. John’s University was declared winner by a unanimous panel of 5 judges.
During the award ceremony, alumnus and founder of The King’s Debate Society Matthias Clock gave a stirring speech on the purpose of debate. “Debate is not just a sandbox of ideas or a verbal game of chess: the ideas we encounter make demands of us.” Instead of ignoring these new ideas outside debate rounds, Clock encouraged debaters to see debate as a means to pursuing truth: “Do not let the endless circles of argument discourage you from making your mind up about what is right. As GK Chesterton once said, ‘the purpose of having an open mind, like having an open mouth, is to close it on something solid.’”
The successful tournament positions The King’s Debate Society to become a leader in debate on the international stage. Peterson said, “as we continue to develop our skills as a debate society and leverage our strategic location in the heart of New York City, I have no doubt that The King’s Debate Society will gain an opportunity to become one of the premier debate societies in the world.”
The King’s College educates students in the ideas upon which nations rise and fall. With a focused curriculum in the liberal arts tradition, students are prepared to help shape, and eventually to lead, the institutions of government, civil society, media, law, business, education, the arts, and the church. King’s is a Christian college located in the Empire State Building in New York City.
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