Bard Prison Initiative

The Bard Debate Union is proud to be working to integrate debate training and education into the innovative and world-renown Bard Prison Initiative – a program through which incarcerated individuals across 6 New York State prisons enroll full-time in coursework and earn degrees from Bard College.

David Register (BPI Faculty Fellow and Director of Debate) held the first Bard Debate Union meeting at Eastern NY Correctional Facility in the summer of 2013. The team now has over 20 members and meets with David weekly to explore debate topics, discuss research, and hold practice debates.

The team hosted its first public-style debate in April 2014. The debate was against West Point on the topic of a high speed national rail system. Below is a complete list of the debates in which the team at Eastern has competed:

Debate #1 (April 2014): Bard Debate Union at Eastern NY Correctional Facility vs. West Point (Topic – Resolved: The United Stated Federal Government should invest in a national high speed rail system; Winner – Bard)

Debate #2 (September 2014): Bard Debate Union at Eastern NY Correctional Facility vs. the University of Vermont (Topic – Resolved: NATO should be immediately disbanded; Winner – Bard)

Debate #3 (April 2015): Bard Debate Union at Eastern NY Correctional Facility vs. West Point (Topic – Resolved:The United States Federal Government should nationalize the pharmaceutical industry; Winner – West Point)

Debate #4 (September 2015): Bard Debate Union at Eastern NY Correctional Facility vs. Harvard (Topic – Resolved: Public schools in the United States should have the ability to deny enrollment to undocumented students; Winner – Bard)

Debate #5 (April 2016): Bard Debate Union at Eastern NY Correctional Facility vs. West Point (Topic – Resolved: American corporations should have constitutional rights; Winner – Bard)

The Bard Debate Union is currently 4-1!

Members of the Bard Debate Union in Annandale have the opportunity to collaborate with BPI debaters by working as Bard Prison Initiative Debate Fellows, conducting research for the BPI team members to use in their debates. Current BPI debate fellows are: Brontë Baker Blake, Cole Rainey-Slavick, Peymaan Motivalli-Aliabadi, and Simran Gupta.

For more information about the Bard Prison Initiative, check out the website HERE.

Bard Debate Union vs. West Point (April 2014)

Bard Debate Union vs. West Point (April 2014)

Bard Debate Union vs. Harvard (Sept 2015)

Bard Debate Union vs. Harvard (Sept 2015)