By Carissa Davis and Gregory Escobar.
Patrick Henry College
Fourteen PHC students are debating this weekend at Yale University in New Haven, CT. This marks PHC’s first presence at a Yale tournament as they face teams from around the world in British Parliament debate.
The debate team is now entering its second season of competition in British Parliamentary debate after joining the league mid-season last year. PHC has previously competed in National Parliamentary debate (NPDA).
“There are a plethora of benefits from British Parliamentary debate,” said Nicole Frazer, spokesman for the debate team. “British Parliament helps debaters hone the ability to quickly and extemporaneously craft logically-strong, rhetorically-beautiful arguments. Similarly, it forces debaters to do preliminary groundwork through increasing their knowledge of current events, so that they can walk into the tournament ready to debate on a wide variety of issues.”
In BP debate, four teams of two face each other every round. Two teams are “government” advocating the resolution, while two teams are opposition against the resolution. The teams get a new resolution every round, but unlike NPDA, British Parliamentary does not allow computers during prep time.
The new semester provides the opportunity for the team to focus completely on the new debate style. At the two previous tournaments this year at the Air Force Academy and Rochester, NY, 80% of the PHC contingent broke, and at least one team made it to finals in both tournaments.
“Our history in the league is short, but we've rapidly started to make our mark on the league,” Frazer said.
Over Christmas break, two teams will go to the Philippines to take part in the World Universities Debate Championship, know as the “Olympics of debating.”
PHC Director of Debate, James Tallmon, is enthusiastic about the team’s trajectory. “It’s exciting, we are starting to get real momentum,” Tallmon said. “Now is a great time to be a part of PHC debate.”