King’s Debate Society Competes in Vermont Online Tournament
Five teams from the King’s Debate Society competed from November 6-8 at an online debate tournament hosted by the University of Vermont, where one debater earned a 14th place speaker award and a varsity team advanced to quarterfinals.
Five teams from the King’s Debate Society competed from November 6-8 at a debate tournament hosted by the University of Vermont, held online due to COVID-19 travel restrictions. Eighty-eight teams in total attended the tournament to debate on timely topics such as the rights of healthcare workers during a pandemic, whether election votes should be weighted based on income, and the media’s role in civic decline.
Both novice and varsity debaters argued against teams from institutions such as Cornell University, Wheaton College, and Colgate University. Varsity debaters Noah Hines (PPE ’22) and Geeta Lalvani (Business ’22) advanced to the quarter-final round based on their strong performance in preliminary rounds, putting them in the top 16 teams at the tournament out of 88 teams. Megan Waardenburg (Humanities ’21) ranked as the 14th open speaker out of 176. This was her first tournament of the Fall 2020 semester.
“Although online debating was an adjustment earlier in the season, Vermont was my favorite tournament of the semester because of the relevant motions and strong community among KDS debaters and judges,” said Geeta Lalvani, KDS President. The tournament was hosted through an online video streaming platform designed specifically for debating, and it allowed every debater to easily see both the other teams debating and the judges for the round. “Advancing to the quarter-finals felt just as exhilarating online as it would have in person, and I am incredibly grateful for technology allowing us to host live debates face-to-face with others across the country. The three rounds focusing on voting, civic duty, and politician’s personas facilitated necessary discussions and encouraged all of our debaters to engage with pressing issues facing our country.”
Novices Caleb Railsback (PPE ’24) and Evan Louey-Dacus (PPE ’23) debated for the very first time, placing second in some rounds despite no prior debate experience. Railsback states, “Vermont was a great first experience, and I am looking forward to more opportunities to learn at future tournaments.” Louey-Dacus described the online tournament atmosphere as “memorable because of the growth I got to experience alongside my brothers and sisters in KDS.”
Other novice debaters included Isabella Rush (PPE ’24), Justin Fink (PPE ’24), and Connor Walter (JCS ’22), and they were joined by varsity debaters Brent Buterbaugh (PPE ’22) and Raegan Stanley (PPE ’22). Rush characterized KDS as a club of “diverse and talented individuals who push me out of my comfort zone. I enjoyed the opportunity to competitively engage with new and different perspectives both with members of KDS and members of other institutions.” Judges included Kylia Ford (PPE ’23), Abigail Prior (Humanities ’23), and Provost Dr. Mark Hijleh.
This competition was the third and final online tournament of the fall semester. Previous tournaments included the Hart House tournament hosted by University of Toronto on October 17 and 18, where four KDS debaters competed against prestigious institutions from both the U.S. and Canada. At Hart House, Novices Isabella Rush and Justin Fink competed for the first time and held their own against tough competition from varsity debaters and other novice debaters. Varsity debaters Geeta Lalvani and Noah Hines ranked first in two of their rounds, beating debaters from such schools as Stanford and Yale. Debate topics included Constitutional Interpretation Theory, the ethics of offering companies tax credits for headquarter location, and green card marriages.
KDS will continue competing during the spring semester at tournaments including the Northeastern University Championships and the U.S. National Championships.