On Friday, May 16, 2014 the Bard Debate Union gathered at coaches Ruth and David’s house to celebrate the close to another successful year of debate and to celebrate the conclusion of 10 years as a program! We also had the bittersweet opportunity to congratulate and bid farewell to two seniors, Lee Gensler and Annie Cockrell. We wish Lee and Annie the best in their futures beyond Bard and look forward to having them visit us soon. Hard to believe the Bard Debate Union is 10 years old. What a 10 years it has been. Here is to 10 more! Go Bard Debate!
Three Bard Debate Union members were the recipients of awards at Sunday night’s Undergraduate Awards Banquet – an annual awards ceremony to recognize academic achievement and community service. First year Jackie Merrill was the recipient of the Heinz and Elizabeth Bertelsmann Award for Excellence in Political Science. Junior Shaya French was the recipient of the Charlotte F. Michos Award for Excellence in the Sciences. And, finally, Junior Anna Daniszewski was the recipient of the college-wide Heinrich Bluecher Award for Outstanding Academic Achievement and Community Service. What an impressive group of passionate and hard-working students. Go Bard Debate!!!
Ten members of the Bard Debate Union travelled to Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana for the US Universities Debating Championships on the weekend of April 11-13, 2014. There were 180 teams in attendance at the tournament making for a very competitive weekend. But Bard team of Lee and Armaan pulled it out, earning 12 total points and breaking into the Octa-final round, ending the tournament tied for 17th place. Our other three teams also all put in valiant efforts, earning 8, 8, and 9 points respectively. Congrats also to David for breaking as a judge and judging the final round and to Ruth for helping out on the tab team. Special congrats and thanks to our graduating senior Lee for completing her 4-year debate career with style, grace, and a remarkable amount of competitive success! We will miss you, Lee! This concludes our 2013-2014 competitive season and our 10th year as a program. Go Bard Debate!
On Friday, April 4, the recently founded Bard Debate Union branch at Eastern NY Correctional Facility hosted its first competitive intercollegiate debate (and the only recent intercollegiate debate in a prison that we have been able to identify). The Bard Debate Union @ Eastern welcomed the award winning West Point Debate Team for a debate and discussion on the topic, “Resolved: The United States federal government should substantially increase support for the construction of a national high-speed rail network.” The debate occurred in front of an audience of over 50 people, including faculty and staff from Bard and West Point, Eastern NY Correctional Facility staff, BPI administrators, and nearly 40 Bard students based at Eastern. After thoughtful and passionate debate that centered on issues related to the environment, the economy, and equality, the guest judges, West Point Debate Coach and Political Studies Instructor Major Adam Scher, Bard Professor of Philosophy Daniel Berthold, and Bard Vice President and Dean for Civic Engagement Jonathan Becker, sided (after a long deliberation) with the Bard triumvirate of Rodney Spivey, Darryl Robinson, and Paul Clue who were negating the resolution. This debate represented the culmination of a month of research and preparation for the Bard students as well as a year of debate training and practice for the team, which was founded in Summer 2013 under the leadership of David Register. Congratulations are in order to all of the participants in the debate, both very game cadets and the winning Eastern side. Many thanks to BPI administrators (particularly Megan Callaghan and Bob Tynes) for their help in organizing this event and supporting the idea of prison debate, Maj. Scher who is a credit to West Point, and especially to BPI faculty member and Bard debate coach David Register, who has been working tirelessly with the Eastern debaters all year long and without whom none of this would be possible. Special thanks as well to the staff of Eastern NY Correctional Facility who were extremely cordial hosts. Our hope is that this is the first of what will be many debates for the Bard Debate Union @ Eastern.
The Bard Debate Union traveled to Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana this past weekend to attend the 2014 Cross Examination Debate Association National Tournament. While we did not win as many debates as we would have liked, we put in a solid showing in the preliminary rounds. We were also honored to be awarded “honorable mention” for the National Public Debate Award (an award given out each year to programs who best demonstrate debate work in the public sphere). Finally, we had the privilege to stay through the final round of the tournament and to witness our friends, Ameena and Korey, two young women from Towson University, pull off a most impressive and historic win. Congrats to Towson on the championship, to the Bard Debate Union for being recognized for all they do to spread debate throughout the Hudson Valley, and to Anna and Leslie on a great tournament. Go Bard Debate!
After a long day of hosting the 3rd Annual Middle School and High School Debate Tournament at Bard, 5 members of the Bard Debate Union together with coach David Register traveled to Garden City, Long Island, to compete in the Brown and Gold Debates at Adelphi University. Mid-semester exhaustion did not keep the Bard Debate Union down! Indeed both teams in attendance (Hanze & Annie and Eva-Marie & Jackie) advanced to Semi-Finals and Jackie was also named 10th overall speaker!!! Thanks also to Armaan for judging. Go Bard Debate!
On Friday, 28 February 2014, the Bard Debate Union together with the Center for Civic Engagement hosted the Third Annual Middle and High School Debate Tournament at Bard. We hosted nearly 80 students from Red Hook, Rhinebeck, Kingston, and the Bard High School Early Colleges in Manhattan, Newark, and Queens. The students had 3 debates on topics ranging from weapons of mass destruction to smart phones to extra-terrestrial life and government secrecy. We concluded the day with an awards ceremony in which we recognized the efforts of all of our participants and gave awards to the top placing speakers and teams in both the Middle School and High School divisions. It was a great day had by all and a day that would not have been possible without the hard work of the Bard Debaters and coaches. Thank you to everyone who made this day possible. Go Bard Debate!
The Bard Debate Union traveled to the Northeast Regional Championships at Western Connecticut State University this past weekend with 15 total students and 2 coaches. We were honored to have our own, David Register, serving as one of two tournament Chief Adjudicators and thank him for the awesome motions he helped to write! But the real success of the tournament came from first years, Eva-Marie Quinones and Jackie Merrill, who advanced to novice semi-finals as the second seed novice team at the tournament. Not only that, they won their semi-final debate on the motion “This house would legalize prostitution” and advanced to finals. They ended the tournament as finalists, tied for 2nd place. Congrats Eva-Marie and Jackie! Congrats also to Deserai, Graham, and Wen for participating in their first debate tournament ever! Thanks to Hanze and Stephanie who made the trip up from BGIA in NYC to meet us! And thanks to the whole team for a fun and productive weekend. Go Bard Debate!
The cold weather and massive amounts of snow in Annandale-on-Hudson did not prevent the Bard Debate Union from making their way to colder, snowier Ithaca, NY for the Ithaca College Debate Tournament on February 8-9, 2014. And we sure are glad we made it! The team of Lee Gensler and Jackie Merrill debated very well, receiving first place in rounds 3, 4, and 5 and ending preliminary rounds as 3rd seed in the tournament! They ended the tournament as Semi-Finalists, tied for 5th place, after a very tough Semi-Final round on the motion “This house believes that western liberal democracies should give support to the Tibetan separatist movement.” We were also very pleased to welcome Troy Robertson and Isaiah Rice to their first debate tournament ever. Congrats on an awesome first tournament, Troy and Isaiah. And thanks to David, Connor, and Anna for judging. Go Bard Debate!
The Bard Debate Union was very pleased to have the opportunity to host an all day debate workshop at Bard on February 1, 2014. We hosted 14 debaters and 3 coaches from St. John’s University in Queens as well as world-renowned debater and debate trainer Mary Nugent of the Cambridge Debate Society (currently a graduate student at Rutgers University). We began the debate with a demo debate and then proceeded to have a day of lectures and drills, followed by a practice debate for all participants. It was a great opportunity to work with some regional friends and also to get in a productive day of practice before our Spring 2014 travel season starts up next weekend at Ithaca College. Thank you to Mary Nugent and St. John’s for making the trip up to Bard to work with us! Go Bard Debate!