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Indiana University

Debate team returns after 16 years

September 9, 2010
Bloomington, Indiana -- Indiana Daily Student

By Katie Dawson | IDS Reports

The competitive, traveling debate team is back after a 16-year hiatus.

The team currently has seven members who will compete in parliamentary debate, a contest where two teams with two debaters each try to prove or disprove a topic that is announced before the discussion begins.

In 1994, the team lost support, but a steering committee that included John Graham, dean of the School of Public and Environmental Affairs, recently brought it back. The program now calls the School of Public and Environmental Affairs home.

“Debate goes way back in my life. I was a debater in high school and also college,” Graham said. “It really influenced me, and I hope that it will also influence others.”

While the team is currently only competing in parliamentary debate, coach Brian DeLong said he hopes to recruit members to compete in policy debate.

“Parliamentary forces you to think on your feet,” DeLong said. “You have to know a lot about everything.”

Policy debate is a research form of debate where two teams of two debaters argue for or against a United States policy change.

Sophomore Shirin Baradaran, a member of the debate team, said she believes the program will provide its members a way to supplement class.

“While class can teach you the information, they cannot really teach you the critical thinking skills necessary to apply that information,” Baradaran said. “It’s that critical thinking aspect that is becoming more and more important.”

The team will have 12 competitions between the months of September and March. The team, Delong said, always welcomes new students.

“We’re looking for people who will put their heart and soul into debate,” Delong said.