Written by Joe Adgie
VSU’s Speech and Debate Team has scored a national championship, the fourth for the university in less than two years.
The team defeated the debate team of the University of Miami, something that members of the team view as a major accomplishment.
“It allows us to realize that we’ve come a great way,” Keven Rudrow, executive secretary of the debate team, said. “The better the teams we debate against is just a good example of how far we’ve progressed as a team.”
The team debates current events at the competitions, and their side on a particular issue is given by officials.
“That’s one of the more interesting aspects of it,” Yannick Gill, president of the debate team, said. “We’ve had to debate several controversial issues, one of them being euthanasia, and you don’t really get to choose, so you have to be completely objective.”
“We talked about capitalism, and what are the effects of capitalism on an ever-globalizing world,” Rudrow said. “Are the effects bad, is this whole idea that some people will fail in order for some people to be successful, is that a good thing or a bad thing? It really questions the way we think.”
Gill had several different topics that he discussed– topics that, according to him, changed every round.
“We talked about the privatization of the jailing system, we talked about fracking, nuclear waste and energy, so just a variety of topics,” Gill said.
The groups are given their topics 15 minutes before the actual debates, something that is welcomed by both Rudrow and Gill.
“You really get to hit your opponent rather than your coaches and the university’s research,” Gill said.
Rudrow agreed that coming together for educational purposes was all worth it.
“It really sparks educational debate,” Rudrow said.
While the prestige of VSU facing off against a big school such as Miami can be considered a big deal, Gill explained that the team could not think that way during the debates.
“It’s not really a factor that you can let yourself think about,” Gill said. “Every person’s another man, it doesn’t matter what letters they have behind their name. They’re no different than me.”