Campus debaters to address minimum wage

Post by IU Newsroom intern Annie Brackemyre

The intra-IU debate will crown the IU champion campus debater this weekend. Twenty-six students will debate this year’s topic “Resolved: The minimum wage should be substantially increased” from noon-5 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 8, in the SPEA Undergraduate Lounge.

The varsity IU debate team won’t be behind the podium for these debates, but instead will serve as judges and coaches. The debate team provides the competitors with research, training, talking points and debate instructions, making debate accessible for all students. The intra-IU debate provides an opportunity for students who are interested in the art of persuasion but who may not have time to participate in the debate team full time.

IU debate team members and coach Brian DeLong (in suit) pose with a trophy.

IU debate team members and coach Brian DeLong, front row, right, pose with a trophy.

In the team’s second annual partnership with the College of Arts and Sciences Themester, this year’s topic was chosen to align with the theme “@Work: The Nature of Labor on a Changing Planet.” The IU debate team also partnered with the College, SPEA and the Office of the Vice Provost of Undergraduate Affairs to provide funding for the debates and extend the educational benefits of debate across the campus.

Debaters improve their argument articulation, learn how to think quickly on their feet and improve listening skills of how to critically evaluate an argument, explained IU debate coach Brian DeLong. These are skills that can benefit chemistry majors, business students and everyone in between.

Debaters are guaranteed six speeches at the event — the equivalent amount of speaking required in a semester-long public speaking course. Not only will students from all backgrounds pick up some of these basic debate skills quickly, but the interdisciplinary nature of the debate enhances the conversation.

“We rarely have dialogues that are so interdisciplinary when debating policy,” said DeLong. “Because the debaters will turn to different secondary literature and approach problems differently, the dialogue itself changes.”

This will be the fourth annual intra-IU debate. But DeLong suspects that the tradition actually dates back to the beginning of the 20th century. One hundred years ago, IU debate was so popular that competition was fierce to join the varsity debate team. Although no clear records were kept, DeLong’s research through IU student media archives suggests that the intra-IU debate served as an internal competition to select the IU debate team.

The debate program dissolved in 1994 and was reestablished in 2009, shifting the aim of the intra-IU debate to an inclusive and introductory debate event.

“This is something that has existed historically at IU and we are reinventing it and bringing it back,” DeLong said.

Tags: ,