News from Vermont Debate AKA The Voice of Edwin is the weekly newsletter of the Edwin Lawrence Debate Union at the University of Vermont, an endowed co-curricular program which trains students in debating and sponsors national competition and community events. The newsletter is published every Tuesday during the school year and infrequently at other times. Alfred C. Snider is the Director. 802-656-0097 voice, 802-238-8345 mobile, 802-656-4275 fax, firstname.lastname@example.org email, and http://debate.uvm.edu/ldu.html web site.
| Nick, Edwin, Tarik & Ashley | Charlie, Nathan, Brady, Chase, Shane, Kayce |
| Helen, Justin, Nakobe | Megan, Hallie receive coaching before quarterfinals |
The weekend had some big numbers, but it was the smallest numbers that counted in the end. The Lawrence Debate Union took their largest contingent in recent years to the University of Rochester tournament last weekend, and it was accomplished with precision. Fourteen teams, total group of 38 people, nine hotel rooms, four vans, and a line-up of 28 debaters to be coached before each round while the tournament itself has 62 teams. The squad debated hard and hung in there through thrills and spills, the ecstasy of victory and the agony of defeat, but in the end it was the number "one" that they were aiming for, and they got it. Nick Landsman-Roos and Edwin Owusu took first place in the open division while Tarik Yeasir and Ashley Hogan took first place in the novice division.
Nick and Edwin had a rough five preliminary rounds, losing to Rochester and Binghamton to finish 3-2 and just barely make the elimination rounds. Then, they put the hammer down, defeating Cornell on a 3-0 decision in the quarterfinals, defeating Bard College 2-1 in the semifinals, and defeating New School/Fordham 3-0 in the finals. Nick was the #4 speaker and Edwin #6. Both final rounds were won by UVM teams on the negative, and in both rounds the decision was based on topicality.
Tarik and Ashley had a similar difficult start in the preliminary debates, also finishing 3-2 with loses to Rochester and Binghamton, and they had to win over Rochester in round five to advance. But they, also, put the hammer down in the elimination rounds, defeating Clarion 2-1 in octafinals, defeating second seeded West Virginia 2-1 in the quarterfinals, defeating Cornell 2-1 in the semifinals, and capping it off with a 3-0 victory over Binghamton in the finals. No UVM novice debater won a speaker award.
Other teams had excellent performances. Novices Megan Harlow and Hallie Brox defeated Binghamton 2-1 in the octafinals before losing 3-0 to Binghamton in the quarterfinals. Novices Julia Benjamin and Toni Marie Pignatelli were 4-1 in the preliminary debates before losing 3-0 to West Virginia in the octafinals. Novices Shane Clark and Chase Whiting reached the elimination rounds for the first time and lost a 2-1 squeaker to Binghamton.
Two teams got their first experience of debating in an open division (Bent Cardan and Zoe Anderson as well as Stephanie Kimerer and Andrea Aeschlimann) and acquitted themselves well. Jason Hitchcock and Emily Sanders just missed the elimination rounds when they lost round five to Rochester. The novice teams of Brady Fletcher and Nathan Gagnon, Brendan Bisson and Leslie Keller, as well as Nathan Shappy and Justin Turco (at their first tournament ever) just missed the elimination rounds by losing their critical round five decision. Kris Crown and Chris Heilman got their first affirmative victory, and Tu Vu and Paul Campbell along with Chris Preble and Cherisse Brown Varela also debated in the novice division.
The first two regional tournaments have produced a lot of success. LDU Director Alfred Snider attributed the success to the natural abilities of the UVM students, the excellent coaching supplied by the staff and the tremendous research effort that has made all UVM teams prepared and ready to use a variety of different argumentative approaches in any given debate. "We keep them guessing," said Snider, "and we often have something new and different to throw at them. It makes us unpredictable and versatile."
Special thanks must go to the coaches at the tournament, including Justin Morgan Parmett, Helen Morgan Parmett, Jen Knops, Charlie Hoag, Greta Lockwood, Kayce Massey and Mike Malone along with Snider. All except Snider are UVM-LDU graduates. The tournament was also enhanced by a new member of the crew, Nakobe Morgan Parmett came along on his first debate trip. Welcome to the crew!
The Burlington Free Press carried a long story about the debate watch held at Huber House last Wednesday for the presidential debate. Here are some excerpts. Download the article and pictures at this url http://debate.uvm.edu/dcpdf/bfp101704debatewatch.pdf
In one room at the University of
Vermont, though, the candidates were up against something more like a star chamber.
The local audience was full of hanging judges -- judges who happened to be eating
pizza as they offered mostly scathing critiques of the presidential contenders.
But then, this audience was primed for such scrutiny. Eight members of UVM's prize-winning debate team, which includes alumni serving as coaches, had gathered to watch this phase of the democratic process. They also were sharing their veggie and pepperoni slices with Tuna -- as Professor Alfred Snider, the university's debate guru, is universally known.
It proved to be an ebullient gabfest."
Beyond the ridicule, these debate enthusiasts know life-and-death issues are at stake. Like most Americans, they're grappling with Iraq, terrorism, human rights, health care, the economy and the environment. Their assigned topic for 2004, argued at college tournaments all over the country, has to do with fossil fuels. Watching the Bush-Kerry match was voluntary and just for fun.
Among the crew was Greta Lockwood, 26, a paralegal and former UVM student who's now a debate coach. She grew up in the Northeast Kingdom, believing that "my opinion didn't matter."
But there she was Wednesday night, loudly expressing her views, along with other members of the university's Lawrence Debate Union.
Snider's self-effacement was belied by his assertive attitude at the Bush-Kerry debate.
"Oh, yeah? What about gay marriage and (reproductive) choice?" he called out when the president patted himself on the back for "not telling citizens how to live their lives."
Both candidates kept saying "congressmen," and Snider invariably corrected them by shouting, "congresspersons!"
There was a collective groan whenever
Bush mentioned his No Child Left Behind initiative in response to questions
about the minimum wage or job loss. His ample use of "liberal" to
label Kerry also drew criticism.
"Bush avoids addressing the issues by using ad hominem attacks," Lockwood suggested, referring to comments that appeal to prejudice rather than intellect.
"That's not to say we like everything Kerry talks about," Fletcher cautioned.
Chris Preble, an 18-year-old UVM freshman from Oregon, said she was tired of the repetition in presidential debates. "By now, everyone basically knows what each candidate stands for."
Debate coach Charlie Hoag, 25, denounced
the "character assassination" he had witnessed.
Snider suspects that debate experience has given the UVM team a more mature perspective. "We once would have seen those ad hominems as zingers," Snider said. "As debaters, we're thinking, 'Dude, that's a mistake.'"
These scholarly debate enthusiasts pride themselves on having a different way of evaluating Kerry and Bush. "Most people think image is so important, but that doesn't affect us anymore," said sophomore Andrea Aeschlimann, 19.
"I encourage them to talk back to the screen," Snider said. "I hate TV because it's makes us so passive. These students give me hope for the future. That's why I do this job. I want to insert more critical, creative thinking into this world."
Lockwood sees another benefit in debating. "I had no self-confidence before," she said. "It helped me find my inner voice."
NEWS AND NOTES OF THE LDU FAMILY
[email@example.com] writes from Washington:
"I couldn't help but just congratulate the team on their success at Buffalo- I checked the postings last Monday to see how everyone did- I was so proud. I currently work and live in Washington DC- and I am raising money for John Kerry. I have had quite a fortunate summer- I attended the DNC and even had an event with Howard Dean in Portland, Oregon- it brought back old memories. We just had two huge dinners in NY and here in DC so I have been quite swamped with the election activities. It should be interesting to see how everything turns out. I really miss Vermont especially this time of the year- and it just makes me miss home even more when I read about the success and the camaraderie of the LDU."
SEND US NEWS ABOUT YOUR LIFE AND EVENTS IN IT! LDU ALUMNI LOVE TO KEEP IN TOUCH!
|SEMESTER ONE||SEMESTER TWO|
10/16 Rochester 37-42
10/30 West Point
11/20 Wake Forest
12/4 U Mass
|1/5-7 North Texas
1/9-11 Texas at Dallas
2/26 CEDA East/District 8 (Vermont)
3/5 JV/Novice Nats at Georgetown
3/19 CEDA Nats at San Francisco State
4/? NDT Nats at Gonzaga, Spokane, Washington
-- NOW WITH OVER 290 DIFFERENT PROGRAMS!
Watch Flashpoint from your computer screen whenever you want! You will need RealPlayer installed on your computer to become a part of our growing audience. Here are some recent programs now available at http://debate.uvm.edu/flashpoint.html. Watch on Burlington Channel 15 Wednesday 12:30 PM, Thursday 10 PM, Saturday 1 PM.
Next taping: 10/23 2 PM.
MEET AT HUBER HOUSE AT 2 PM THIS SATURDAY!
Hoag, Benjamin, Anderson, Fletcher, Whiting, Clark, Snider and others welcome. Topics: Sudan situation and Biometrics (medical identification data).
COUNTDOWN TO PROGRAM #300 BEGINS
Now in the 290s it is only a matter of time (and not a very long time) until Flashpoint reaches its 300th show. Ideas are being sought for how this show should be done. Let us know of any ideas.
NOTES FROM MONDAY NIGHT'S 6 PM MEETING:
NEW RESEARCH ASSIGNMENTS
GOVERNOR DEBATE: At VPR on 10/26, ask questions as well as be in audience. Charlie, Brady, Nick, Chris, Greta, Chase, Jason, Shane, Emily, Helen, and maybe Kayce.
POETRY SLAM: Thursday 10/14 8 PM L&L Fireplace lounge. Charlie is coordinating.
POTLUCK DINNER: 7 PM Thursday October 21 at 446 Colchester Ave, space of Zoe Anderson. BRING FOOD. Use the debater listserv to plan for this!
Begin planning now for the Texas Swing, Novice and JV Nationals at Georgetown, and CEDA Nationals in San Francisco. The early bird gets the plane ticket!
Harvard: Edwin Owusu, Nick Landsman-Roos with Adam Lee.
West Point: (early applicants) McMahan & Nelson, Clark & Whiting, Cardan & Anderson, Hitchcock & Sanders; Ashley wants to go and needs a partner, as does Cherisse.
UVM DEBATE WAS #10 IN THE CEDA
NATIONAL SWEEPSTAKES FOR 2002-2003.
UVM DEBATE IS #18 IN THE CEDA NATIONAL SWEEPSTAKES FOR 2003-2004.