On Saturday, Jan. 21, VSU’s Speech and Debate team competed in the first debate tournament of the year, advancing to the quarterfinals of a nationwide competition.
During this tournament, the debaters went up against opponents from different states to debate some of the most diverse topics of today. These schools included Spelman College, Florida State University, Park University, University of Central Florida, Lynn University and Queens College.
Topics range from various categories of pop culture, sports and worldwide news, and each opponent gets to debate on the resolution with a rebuttal at the end to explain why they are for or against the topic.
Before the debates start, each opponent picks a resolution first and then uses 30 minutes of prep time to do research on their topic.
“Whatever resolution we end up with, I am going to have to set definitions, and as affirmation, I also decide how we judge it,” Cristo Romero, sophomore debater, said. “There are different mechanisms on how it can be judged.”
Senior debater Josh Julian debated an opponent about a sports topic.
“My opponent did not want to use context during his case and lied about how much the Dolphins (football team) were worth,” Julian said. “It got me fired up. I am a sports guy, so it’s kind of what I live for.”
Each debater goes at least four rounds in debating with their opponent. After that, only the top eight can advance to the next round and go to the next tournaments.
As the debate team is preparing for upcoming tournaments, they are also looking for new members who are interested in speech and debate.
“Anyone can join even without prior knowledge,” Assistant Coach Stephania Ortez said. “We teach people how to become better and confident speakers.”
After this tournament, there are two more tournaments left, which will lead to the nationals in Idaho. All competitions in these tournaments are conducted virtually.
Dr. Michael Eaves, head coach of the team, also teaches a regular course called Argumentation and Advocacy which covers the skills of debating.
As they have advanced to quarterfinals, the team is looking forward to upcoming tournaments and hoping to receive the biggest support from the VSU community.
The team is led by head coach Dr. Michael Eaves and consists of debaters Josh Julian, Cristo Romero, Francisco Contreras, Reagin Jones, Aaliyah Drayton, Gabby Lamura, Rosalva Castillo and assistant coach Stephania Ortez.
Written by Jasmine Hightower, Staff Reporter. Photo by Jasmine Hightower.