University of Exeter Debating Society
|Exeter University Debating Society|
|Type||Student debating union|
|Location||Amory Building, Exeter, EX4 4RJ|
The Exeter University Debating Society is a debating society founded in 1893 by the students of Exeter University. On the Exeter Campus it is informally known as DebSoc. it is the university's oldest society and is the largest political society on campus.
The Exeter University Debating Society was formed in 1893 as a purely gentleman's debating society. The earliest recorded Friday night debate was held on an 4 February 1906 entitled 'The advantages of being a member of a large family outweigh the disadvantages'. The student magazine stated the debate was held with 'eloquence, energy and enthusiasm'. Further controversial motions have included 'Should Bachelors be taxed' (1905) in which the opposition declared 'the whole scheme is set to be a man trap set by female ingenuity for female benefit'. The First World War proved difficult for the society with many of its members leaving to fight. A number of debates were still held however. These included 'Conscription is necessary for our Empire' (1915) and 'There should be no co-education of the sexes' (1916) in which one speaker famously remarked "that flirty girls give a man as much experience in an hour as he would gain in twelve months by watching girls a few yards off".
The Society today
The Debating Society week generally consists of two events a week. A Monday workshop is held for those who wish to practice their debating skills and prepare for competition. Every Friday evening at 7:00pm the society invites an external panel of four speakers to debate a motion. Friday night debates continue to be held in the mooting room of the Amory building which regularly attracts a full house of over 250 members of the audience. Recent speakers have included Members of Parliament Ben Bradshaw, Jacob Rees-Mogg, Nick De-Bois and Steve Gilbert, members of the European Parliament Graham Watson and Keith Taylor, journalists Peter Hitchens and Brendan O'Neill, anti war campaigner Lindsay German and Apprentice star Katie Hopkins
The society also provides an excellent environment for those wishing to take part in competitive debating. Aside from the weekly workshop, the society regularly attends competitions at home and abroad. Exeter University also holds a national IV in the second week of May. It also holds the Exeter internal IV - a prestigious debating competition among the university students.
The social highlights of the society remain the winter and spring balls, though a variety of other events also occur.
The Union is run exclusively by a committee of 10 directly elected positions. These are: President, Vice President, Chairman, General Secretary, Treasurer, Publicity Officer as well as two social secretaries, and two IV Co-ordinators. The committee serve for one academic year and are elected in the second week of March. The committee is joined in October by two representatives from the first year of Exeter Students. These are Freshers Representatives or Freps for short.
- Anthony Eden, British Prime Minister
- Lord Asquith, British Prime Minister
- Major James Coldwell, Canadian social democratic politician
- Michael Foot, Former leader of the Labour Party
- Jacob Rees-Mogg, Member of Parliament
- Ilan Pappé, Palestinian Academic
- Robert Maclennan, British Liberal Democrat life peer
- Ludovic Kennedy, British journalist, broadcaster, humanist
- Patrick Mayhew, British barrister and Conservative Party politician
- Christopher Gill, Maastricht Rebel