On February 2nd and 3rd, debaters from around the nation converged on New York City to participate in the “Empire Debates,” a national tournament hosted by The King’s Debate Society.
Approximately 120 debaters and judges from 11 schools participated in the event, which included six preliminary debate rounds and two final rounds. Greg DuBois, president of The King’s Debate Society, said that, “We prioritized two purposes for our tournament while in the planning process: first, set motions that challenge students to think seriously about critical political, economic, and moral issues, and second, build relationships with students, coaches, and schools across the USA.”
Most teams attending the tournament knew that King’s was a Christian school. Burk Ohbayashi, Coach of the debate society, said "King's is known throughout the debate community because we are now established in the community and have built relationships with debate teams in the region."
Debaters argued a variety of motions with topics ranging from gun control and genetic engineering to wealth redistribution and the value of the liberal arts education.
One motion was particularly controversial. In round three, debaters argued “This House believes that pornography harms the viewer.” In a league that focuses on maximizing the autonomy of individuals to pursue whatever ends they deem good, the question of the internal affects of exposure to pornography was unique. According to Matthias Clock, an alumnus of the debate society and tournament judge, the motion was commendable because it prioritized a discussion of human nature and the soul.
“We want to be remembered as the school with excellent motions, great food, and even greater community,” president DuBois said. “But more importantly, we want our guests to see, through our actions and interactions, that debate serves a higher purpose than aggressive persuasion. Between the first and second Empire Debates, we’re on a great trajectory so far.”
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 New York City.