Rutgers University Debate Union
|Rutgers University Debate Union|
|2014 Executive Board |
|President||Sean Leonard '16|
|Vice President||Nick Hansen '16|
|Treasurer||Victoria Disla '17|
|Public Relations Chair||Elise Zhou '18|
|Novice Mentor||Jessie Gugig '17|
|Alumni Coordinator||Kurt Falk '16|
|Events Director |
|Tournament Director||Russell Potter '15|
|Debate Coach||Dr. Matthew Maddex|
The Rutgers University Debate Union (RUDU) is Rutgers University's intercollegiate debate team. Re-founded in 2001, its roots extend back to the 18th century and the King's-Queen's Debates with Columbia University (then King's College) when Rutgers was known under its founding name of Queen's College. The Union currently competes on the American Parliamentary Debate Association (APDA) circuit and finished the 2010-2011 season ranked fifth in that league. At the end of the most recent 2012-2013 season, RUDU was ranked third. RUDU also took sixth place in the North American Parliamentary Debate Championships 2012 and ninth place in the US National Championships 2013.
- 1 History
- 2 Structure
- 3 National Competition
- 4 Public Debates
- 4.1 Project Civility Debates
- 4.2 Transatlantic Debates
- 4.3 Vegetarianism Debates
- 4.4 King's/Queen's Debates
- 4.5 Rutgers Day Debates
- 4.6 Constitution Day Debates
- 4.7 Trenton Central High School Debate
- 4.8 Presidential Debate Watch Party/Analysis
- 4.9 Point Pleasant Borough High School Debates
- 4.10 Climate Change Divestment Debate
- 4.11 Globe-Med Persuasion Seminar
- 4.12 Class Wish Education Debate
- 4.13 UMDNJ/RWJS Healthcare Debate
- 4.14 SC&I Public Speaking Contest
- 5 Presidents
- 6 Related
- 7 References
- 8 External links
While RUDU was recently re-founded after a period of dormancy, there is a strong history of debate at Rutgers. The team not only debated Columbia in the King's/Queen's debates of the 18th century, they also purportedly took part in the first intercollegiate debate of the modern era, held against New York University in 1881. Paul Robeson was a member of Rutgers' debate team during his time there in the 1910s. Rutgers debaters were often quite successful, notching a long winning streak in the early 20th century and defeating Harvard University in 1947.
Rutgers debaters made the elimination rounds at the first-ever National Debate Tournament in 1947 and went on to compete in debate events nationally until about 1997. The team also competed in speech events for much of the 1970s and 1980s, reaching a national ranking of 17th at the National Forensics League championship in 1980. Among the notable members of this period were J.G. Harrington, who later became the first Rutgers alumni inducted into the National Forensics Hall of Fame, Paul Mansfield, a national quarter-finalist in Impromptu Speaking in 1980, and David Fischler, a national quarter-finalist in Rhetorical Criticism in 1980 who led the team from 1977 to 1980. The Debate Union appears to have disappeared completely from the campus from 1997-2001 before its modern rebirth.
RUDU is run by an elected six-person Executive Board who serves a calendar-year term starting in January. The E-Board makes nearly all decisions pertaining to management of the team. Currently, the E-Board consists of six members: a President, Vice President, Treasurer, Public Relations Chair, Novice Mentor, and Alumni Coordinator, while the Co-Tournament Directors are ancillary to the E-Board.
In addition to the E-Board, RUDU is run by a full-time Coach, who is an employee of the University. In its modern incarnation, Rutgers went without a Coach from 2001-2009. Storey Clayton, the current Coach, began coaching RUDU in the fall of 2009. Chris Baia joined the team as Assistant Coach in 2012.
RUDU competes in the American Parliamentary style of debate as a member of the American Parliamentary Debate Association (APDA), which is an intercollegiate debate association with over fifty member universities across the United States. RUDU attends tournaments across the country each week during the APDA season, from September through April.
The team also hosts an annual tournament in the spring, the Rutgers Invitational, traditionally either in February or April. This event attracts many APDA institutions from around the country. With 81 competing teams, the 2012 tournament was the largest of the twelve RUDU has hosted in its modern incarnation. As of 2013, The College of William and Mary has won the most Rutgers Invitationals.
RUDU has recently increased its visibility on the Rutgers campus with a number of public debates designed to facilitate discussion of current events:
Project Civility Debates
On October 5, 2010, four RUDU debaters faced each other in a public debate on the topic of civility among college students, in conjunction with Rutgers' new Project Civility. A second Project Civility debate was held on April 27, 2011 and involved Rutgers faculty and the Rutgers–Newark policy debate team as well as RUDU members. A third Project Civility debate was held on September 21, 2011 and involved four RUDU members discussing the practice of marginalized groups reclaiming words traditionally used against them. A fourth Project Civility debate, also involving Rutgers–Newark, was held on April 11, 2012 and discussed the validity of the practice of "covering" one's identity, based on Covering: The Hidden Assault on Our Civil Rights by Kenji Yoshino.
On December 10, 2012, RUDU again faced Rutgers MUN (Rutgers University Association of International Relations [RUAIR]) on various issues of US-German cooperation and the future of NATO.
The Rutgers University Debate Union was defeated in both debates against the MUN Team.
On March 13, 2013, four RUDU debaters reprised this debate, this time representing both sides in an event co-sponsored by the Rutgers University Vegetarian Society.
On April 29, 2011, RUDU joined the Columbia University Parliamentary Debate Society to revive a centuries-old tradition from the earliest days of both Rutgers and Columbia, when they were Queen's and King's Colleges, respectively. The first King's/Queen's Debate in many years, hosted at Columbia, discussed the release of prisoners convicted under repealed laws.
Rutgers Day Debates
On April 30, 2011, RUDU held three debates as part of Rutgers Day festivities. These debates discussed foreign policy in the Middle East, green energy, and gender-neutral student housing at Rutgers.
Constitution Day Debates
On September 19, 2011, RUDU held a public debate to discuss whether the Constitution ought be amended to include a right to a free college education. All four participants were RUDU members and the audience voted at the end, agreeing that the affirming (Government) team had won the round.
The second annual Constitution Day Debate was held on September 24, 2012. Four RUDU members debated on the topic of whether the US states should call for a Constitutional Convention to discuss the role of money in political campaigns. A one-vote margin of a vote of those in attendance decided for the negative (Opposition) team.
Trenton Central High School Debate
On December 15, 2011, RUDU defeated Trenton Central High School in a large public debate on morality and when it is acceptable to kill innocent people to save more lives. Trenton Mayor Tony F. Mack and several other noted community figures were on hand.
Presidential Debate Watch Party/Analysis
On October 22, 2012, RUDU hosted a party with analysis to discuss the third of the United States presidential election debates, 2012. Four RUDU speakers previewed the debate and answered questions after from an audience of over 100 Rutgers students.
Point Pleasant Borough High School Debates
On October 25, 2012, four RUDU debaters went to demonstrate parliamentary debate for Point Pleasant Borough High School in Point Pleasant, New Jersey. The debates were attended by students of Ms. Stefanie Garguilo’s two sections of debate class, newly offered this year at the high school. Two rounds were held, one for each class.
On April 23, 2013, the team returned with four participants for another two debates, one for each class.
Climate Change Divestment Debate
On February 6, 2013, four RUDU debaters paired up with two faculty to debate whether Rutgers ought divest from fossil fuel companies to combat climate change. Each team consisted of two RUDU debaters and one faculty member and the event was attended by nearly 200 students and faculty. The debate was based on the 350.org movement as discussed on-campus by Bill McKibben earlier that week.
Globe-Med Persuasion Seminar
On February 19, 2013, four RUDU debaters did a brief demonstration round for a meeting of Globe-Med’s Rutgers chapter, followed by a 40-minute seminar on persuasion with non-profits and potential donors by Coach Clayton. This is one of the first official community service events conducted by RUDU.
Class Wish Education Debate
On March 5, 2013, four RUDU debaters did back-to-back one-on-one rounds on education policy for ClassWish Rutgers. The topics discussed were whether tenure in the public school system is good for students and whether art, music, and drama classes are necessary for K-12 education.
UMDNJ/RWJS Healthcare Debate
On April 8, 2013, four RUDU debaters conducted a short round on whether it was ethical to ration some healthcare procedures for some in order to ensure more expansive access to healthcare for all. About fifty University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ) students at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School (RWJMS) attended the event.
SC&I Public Speaking Contest
On May 4, 2013, RUDU co-sponsored the Public Speaking Contest, the first held in many years at Rutgers, for students who have taken the School of Communication and Information (Rutgers University)'s Public Speaking course (COMM 380). Coach Storey Clayton and Assistant Coach Chris Baia, who teaches COMM 380, were among the judges, and two RUDU debaters were among the participants.
Ashley Novak '14 was just elected as the first female President of the Debate Union after serving two terms as Treasurer. She will serve until the next Executive Board elections in December 2013.
Presidents of the Debate Union
- 2001-2002 Samuel Kim '03
- 2002-2005 Ross Mazer '06
- 2005-2006 Carl Kunda '07
- 2006-2008 Sam Zeidman '08
- 2008-2010 Eric Knecht '10
- 2010-2011 David Reiss '11
- 2011-2012 Chris Bergman '13
- 2013 Ashley Novak '14
- 2014 Quinn Maingi '15
- : Cambridge Union Society
- : Oxford Union Society
- : The Durham Union Society
- : London School of Economics, Grimshaw International Relations Club
- :Yale Debate Association
- :Berkeley Forum
- :Olivaint Conférence
- :Studentenforum im Tönissteiner Kreis
- :Olivaint Conference of Belgium
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- Rutgers University Debate Union Official Website, "Yale Defeats American for Rutgers 2012 Title", February 21, 2012: http://rudebate.wordpress.com/2012/02/21/yale-defeats-american-for-rutgers-2012-title
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- Arango, V., "Debate team, PETA talk meat-eating ethics", Daily Targum, December 2, 2010: http://www.dailytargum.com/news/university/debate-team-peta-talk-meat-eating-ethics/article_1c41c12c-dd83-5a26-9b75-da9a8a71576d.html
- Facebook, "Vegetarian Society Debate: Should You Be a Vegetarian?", March 13, 2013: https://www.facebook.com/events/491698097532533/
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- Rutgers University Debate Union official website, "Rutgers 7th at Brandeis, Debates Health Ethics at UMDNJ", April 9, 2013: http://rudebate.wordpress.com/2013/04/09/rutgers-7th-at-brandeis-debates-health-ethics-at-umdnj
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