Masters of debate

Students in the Furman Debate Society bring home top honors

March 05, 2014 | Rebecca Neal Tompkins '02, Contributing Writer

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After competing against almost ten schools up and down the east coast at the Collegiate Forensics Association tournament in February, Jayde Barton ’15 and Courtney Thomas ’15 brought home the top award.

And this isn't the first time in recent history that Furman's Debate Team has made its mark. Lindsay Harroff and Zach Simonetti won the same award in 2012. This year, nine Furman students from the team competed in individual speech events and debate during the tournament.

Communication studies major Yuqi Wei ’15 has been studying argumentation since her freshman year and won the tournament's top speaking award for Parlimentary Debate.

The Collegiate Forensics Association provided debaters with a range of topics including Ukranian protests, Hillary Clinton and Chris Christie’s run for office, local South Carolina political quotations by Nikki Haley and Strom Thurmond, and Olympic and Super Bowl locations. Teams were given two options from which to choose and were sent to various buildings at the College of Charleston to prepare for their round.

Jayde Barton and Courtney Thomas were well prepared. Barton had just returned from the Brussels Internship Experience where she published press releases on the Ukranian Revolution with a party of the European Parliament. Many members of the Furman team are political science majors (often double majors with communication studies) and others recently returned from the Washington Experience or other Study Away program.

These kinds of well-rounded liberal arts students make the Debate Society a group for leaders. Re-organized in 2008 as the inheritor of a debate tradition at Furman going back to the University's founding, the team meets weekly, hosts discussion forums on significant campus, regional, national, and international controversies, and organizes debate events for Cultural Life Program credit.

 

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