On Saturday and Sunday, September 19-20, 2015, the Bard Debate Union hosted the second annual Bard College Invitational Debate Tournament, an inter-collegiate debate tournament, to which we will welcomed over 250 visitors (students, faculty, and staff) to campus. Participating institutions include: The Bard High School Early Colleges in Cleveland and Queens, Smolny College (St. Petersburg, Russia), Vassar College, Cornell University, Colgate University, Hobart and William Smith Colleges, the University of Vermont, the University of Rochester, King’s College, St. Johns University, and Patrick Henry College. Students from participating institutions debated in teams of two on topics ranging from international relations to economics, criminal justice to social issues. As the topics were announced a mere 15 minutes before each debate, the students were expected to do extensive research and preparation ahead of time. President Botstein joined us for our welcome ceremony in which he spoke to the participants about debate and the importance of respecting the losers and changing one’s mind. The tournament culminated last night in a final round between Cornell University and the University of Vermont on the topic of afro-centric education in public schools. Cornell was pronounced the winner. 24 members of the Bard Debate Union – Eva-Marie Quinones, Brontë Baker Blake, Adelina Colaku, Izzy Coen, Erind Disha, Nathaniel Carlsen, Zechen Zhang, Antoinette Kane, Hasani Gunn, Linda Yuan, Kevin Barbosa, Michael Kuckyr, William Crowdus, Danielle del Rosario, Simran Gupta, Grace Miao, Charles Moxley, Lenny Moxley, Chase Williams, Alex Waters, Caila Drew-Morin, Jeremy Coppola, Rachel Gunning, and Stella Frank – along with directors Ruth Zisman and David Register worked tirelessly all weekend long to make this tournament a great success. We like being the season opener debate tournament because we can set the standard for the new year. And what a standard we set. Go Bard Debate!!!
On Friday, September 18 , the Bard Debate Union at Eastern New York Correctional Facility – now in its third year of operation thanks to the hard work BPI Faculty Fellow and Director of Debate, David Register – had a Public-Style Debate against the Harvard College Debating Union on the topic “Resolved: Public Schools in the United States should have the ability to deny enrollment to undocumented students.” These Bard students had been researching and preparing for this debate since July and their hard work paid off! They debated in front of three of the world’s most prestigious debate adjudicators – Mary Nugent (former Director of the Cambridge Debate Society and current PhD candidate in Political Science at Rutgers), Steven Penner (former Canadian National Debate Champions and current coach at HWS), and Lindsay Bing (former US University Debate Championship Finalist, European Debate Championship Semi-Finalist, and current coach at Cornell). After an awe-inspiring performance put on by both teams, Bard was pronounced the winner on a 2-1 decision. A story on the debate was featured in the Wall Street Journal later that evening and in the print edition on Saturday, Sept 19. Go Bard Debate!!!
It is only one week into the semester but the Bard Debate Union is well underway toward a phenomenal year. After an info session and workshop during L&T, we got to a quick start with our first meeting of the semester on Aug 31, 2015. We barely fit into the Red Room – our normal meeting room – with over 40 people in attendance. During our first week of the semester, we held a full introduction to debate workshop and a double-header practice debate. Now we are getting ready for another big week of debate and, of course, to host the Bard College Invitational in less than two weeks. We already have over 70 teams entered! We are getting excited. We couldn’t be happier with the group of new debaters who have joined the team this year. We just know this is going to be a great year for the BDU. Go Bard Debate!!!
On Saturday, May 9, 2015, 14 members of the Bard Debate Union gathered at coaches Ruth and David’s house to celebrate another great year together. We congratulated our 6 graduating seniors – Anna Daniszewski, Isabel Filkins, Shaya French, Stephanie Presch, Hanze Song, and Jesse Verven – and heard short speeches from each of them in which they reflected on their time with the debate union. We will miss them all very much but do hope that they come back to visit us often. 2014-2015 was a great year and we are already getting excited about next year. Go Bard Debate!!!
This past week, ten members of the Bard Debate Union travelled to Anchorage, Alaska for the US Universities Debating Championship, held at the University of Alaska. It took us nearly 32 hours to get to Anchorage as we found ourselves stranded in Denver, CO on Thursday night, but we made it and had an excellent weekend of debates! Senior Hanze Song and sophomore Eva-Marie Quinones came in just one point short of advancing to elimination rounds. Both coaches, David and Ruth, advanced to elimination rounds as judges. And all of our teams had phenomenal debates and learned so much. We especially want to congratulate our seniors – Hanze Song and Izzy – Filkins for completing their debate careers with the Bard Debate Union. We will miss them both dearly and hope they come back to visit soon. This concludes the 2014-2015 travel season for the Bard Debate Union and what a season it has been! Go Bard Debate!
On the weekend of March 28-29, 2015, eight members of the Bard Debate Union, together with coaches Ruth and David, headed to Hamilton, NY for the Colgate Open. We had never had the chance to attend this tournament in the past due to its often being scheduled during our Spring Break. However, we finally had the chance and we are so glad we went. As an “open” tournament – open not only to college and university students but anyone and everyone – the tournament was highly competitive and thus offered the opportunity for many very good debates. After 5 preliminary rounds, novice team of Adelina Colaku and Nathaniel Carlsen had 8 total team points which made them the 2nd ranked novice team of the tournament. They debated in novice finals on the topic “As an LGBTQ fiscal conservative, this house would vote democrat.” And after two very good speeches, they came in just short of champions. Excellent job, Nathaniel and Adelina. We are so happy to have you on our team. Great job to everyone who attended! Go bard Debate!
On Wednesday, 4 March 2015, the Bard Debate Union hosted a public debate on the topic, “Resolved: hate speech should be criminalized.” The questions that motivated our debate are: should there be limits to the freedom of speech? Or should the freedom of speech be protected at all costs, even when speech becomes violent, racist, sexist, homophobic, etc.? Would a limitation on the freedom of speech in the United States necessarily be unconstitutional? The participants in the debate were Hanze Song and Antoinette Kane (representing the Proposition side) and Eva-Marie Quinones and Cole Rainey-Slavick (representing the Opposition side). Stephanie Presch was our moderator. It was a fabulous debate that drew a big audience and generated over 40 minutes of Q&A. Great job to Eva-Marie for organizing the debate and to all of the participants. Go Bard Debate!
On Friday, 27 February 2015, the Bard Debate Union hosted the 4th Annual Middle and High School Debate Tournament at Bard. We welcomed nearly 100 students and teachers from the Bard High School Early Colleges in Manhattan, Newark, Queens, and Cleveland, from the Red Hook and Rhinebeck High Schools, and from Red Hook Middle School and St. Joseph’s Middle School in Kingston. The students debated the topics of police brutality, national security and civil liberties, and the abolition of homework. In the end, we gave out awards to the top placing middle and high school teams and speakers. Everything ran perfectly on time and a great time was had by all. None of this would have been possible without the very hard work of the Bard Debaters – Anna, Eva-Marie, Stephanie, Shaya, Armaan, Hanze, Jackie, Antoinette, Izzy, Hasani, Cole, Bronte, Nathaniel, and Charlie. What an amazing day! We are already looking forward to the 5th Annual Tournament next year! Go Bard Debate!
It was a bit of a rocky (and by “rocky” we mean “snowy”) start to the Spring 2015 semester for the Bard Debate Union. For three weeks in a row, we faced blizzards and snow-storms on Monday nights preventing us from holding our weekly meetings. But finally in early February we got going! We opened our Spring 2015 tournament travel this past weekend (Feb 20-22) at the Regional Championships at Western Connecticut State University. And, again, it snowed. In fact, for the first time in Bard’s debate history, a tournament had to delay its Sunday start due to weather. But we persevered and had a great weekend. Eva-Marie and Hanze ended the tournament with 10 points, just 1 point shy of advancing to elimination rounds. And our teams of Izzy and Erind and Cole and Bronte put in a very strong showing. Special congrats to Bronte for debating at her first tournament! We also are hugely grateful for Stephanie coming along and judging (and congrats on judging the novice finals!). Thus, while we are all ready for spring, we are also really happy to be debating together again. Go Bard Debate!!!
On Friday, December 12, members of the Bard Debate Union gathered at coaches Ruth and David’s house to celebrate a wonderful Fall 2014 semester. There was delicious food, funny board games, a toasty fire, and a sparkling apple cider toast to celebrate a semester of great debates as well as Ruth’s recent completion of her PhD. We could not be happier about all of the new students who joined the team this year and the hard work and dedication that everyone showed this semester. Wishing you all a very happy winter break and looking forward to seeing everyone at the end of January!!! Go Bard Debate!!!