Nearly 160 teams from 60 colleges and universities converged on Willamette University in Salem, OR last weekend for the U.S. Universities Debating Championships. Following competition in six preliminary rounds and four elimination rounds, students from UAA’s Seawolf Debate Program provided once again that they are among the best of the best in academic debating in the US.
The debates focused on a variety of topical issues, ranging from whether the Arab Spring has advanced the cause of human rights and freedom in the Middle East to whether incarceration in the prison system was appropriate for non-violent criminals. In the end, two UAA teams qualified for the elimination rounds. After the six preliminary rounds, Amy Parrent and Brett Frazer earned the 5th seed overall, while Matt Fox and Kelsey Waldorf advanced as the 16th seed.
Fox and Waldorf were taken out in the first elimination round when they were unable to convince judges that continuing sanctions on Iran has a meaningful impact on that nation’s effort to develop nuclear weapons. Frazer and Parrent, on the other hand, advanced through the first two elimination rounds to find themselves facing teams from Vermont and Hobart and William Smith College in the Semifinal round. Despite a strong showing and a split decision, the Senior Frazer and Junior Parrent had to content themselves with a finish in the top 5% of teams at the tournament. Frazer also garnered honors as the second overall individual speaker out of a field of over 300 other students from around the US.
The Seawolves now wrap up their season by hosting the inaugural Middle School Public Debating Championships on April 28. For more information, please contact Steve Johnson at 786-4391 or visit www.uaa.alaska.edu/seawolfdebate.