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 – Co-Director of the Bard Debate Union and BPI Faculty Fellow – held the first debate practice at Eastern NY Correctional Facility in the summer of 2013 and has been coaching the team ever since. The Bard Prison Initiative Debate Union 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 against West Point. Since then the team has had 9 competitive debates, including a debate against Harvard in September 2015 that garnered worldwide attention! Below is a complete list of the debates in which the team 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 not have constitutional rights; Winner – Bard)

Debate #6 (September 2016): Bard Debate Union at Eastern NY Correctional Facility vs. Brown (Topic – Resolved: the President of the United States should be elected by popular vote; Winner – Brown)

Debate #7 (April 2017): Bard Debate Union at Eastern NY Correctional Facility vs. West Point (Topic – Resolved: the rapid automation of labor does more harm than good; Winner – Bard)

Debate #8 (December 2017): Bard Debate Union at Eastern NY Correctional Facility vs. Morehouse (Topic – Resolved: Race-based affirmative action in college and university admissions should be eliminated; Winner – Bard)

Debate #9 (April 2018): Bard Debate Union at Eastern NY Correctional Facility vs. West Point (Topic: The United States should nationalize its water resources; Winner – Bard)

The Bard Debate Union is currently 7-2!

For more information about the Bard Prison Initiative, check out the website: http://bpi.bard.edu

Bard Debate Union vs. Harvard (Sept 2015)
BPI Debate Union vs. Harvard (Sept 2015)