Colgate Successfully Competes at HWS!

Over the weekend of October 23-25, the Colgate Debate Society traveled to Geneva, NY to debate at Hobart and William Smith Colleges’ Fall Classic. Colgate brought three teams and one judge to the tournament.

The teams of Melissa Haller ’16 and Madeline Allen ’16, Adam Buys ’17 and Michael Chavinda ’17, and Marlynna Blumer ’19 and Gavin Gao ’19 debated for Colgate. Siena Frost ’19 attended the tournament as a judge.

The Colgate Debate Team!

The teams got to debate exciting and challenging motions, including, “THBT developed nations should abolish all protectionist trade policies,” “THBT sports leagues with systems of promotion and relegation is good for fans,” “THBT the transgender movement should leave the LGBTQ movement,” “TH, as a hearing parents of a deaf child, would mainstream them to the exclusion of deaf culture,” and “THW prioritize asylum seekers who have actively resisted their regimes.”

After five rounds of debate, Adam and Michael broke into semi finals, and Gavin and Marlynna broke into the novice final, where they debated the motions, “THB editors should refuse to work for media whose endorsement decisions are made by owners rather than by ed board,” and “THW prioritize curative care to palliative care for elderly individuals,” respectively. Additionally, Michael and Adam tied for ninth speaker at the tournament, and Gavin was the seventh novice speaker. We’re incredibly proud of how well we performed, and everyone at the tournament had a great experience! Next stop, Vermont!

Colgate Gets Ready For a Successful Tournament!


And…We’re Back! Colgate Competes at the Bard College Invitational Debate Tournament

Over the weekend of September 18-20, the Colgate Debate Society traveled to Annandale-on-Hudson, NY to compete at Bard College’s Invitational Debate Tournament. It was the first tournament of our fall season, and we brought four teams and two judges to compete. Three of the four teams were pro-am partnerships, meaning that experienced debaters volunteered to compete with new members of the team in order to teach them the British Parliamentary format and ensure that they had the best experience possible. We had a fantastic weekend, and look forward to doing it again soon!

The teams consisted of Daniel Messner ’17 and John Eddins ’18, Madeline Allen ’16 and Hayley Arlin ’18, Melissa Haller ’16 and Shemuel Malave ’18, and Rohan Chaudhari ’19 and Marlynna Blumer ’19. Laura Bunn ’18 and Cymon King ’18 represented Colgate as judges at the tournament.

Colgate Has a Great Start to the Debate Season!

The team had the opportunity to debate five exciting and challenging topics, including “This House regrets the rise of voluntourism,” “This House supports binding quotas for the redistribution of refugees for EU member states,” ” This House would allow local residents to vote on what art should be placed in publicly owned spaces,” “This House believes that victims of natural disasters should be allowed to sue the government for gross negligence in their disaster relief efforts,” and “This House regrets the rise of Hacktivist groups.”

The Team Hangs Out Between Rounds

At the end of preliminary rounds, Colgate teams finished on 10, 10, 8, and 7 points, an impressive result for the first tournament of the year. Many teams missed breaking by a matter of individual speaker points. We look forward to continuing to debate on the local circuit over the next semester, and are excited to see how well we perform in the coming weeks. The tournament was a valuable and educational experience for everyone involved.


Colgate Makes it to Finals at Vermont!

On the weekend of October 31-November 2, the Colgate Debate Society traveled to Burlington, VT to compete at the University of Vermont’s 2014 Huber Debate tournament. Colgate brought two teams and two judges to the tournament.

The team of Luke Luttmann ’15 and Daniel Messner ’17 as well as the team of Melissa Haller ’16 and Madeline Allen ’16 competed for Colgate as debaters. Alex Taylor ’18 and Romario Lobban ’18 attended the tournament as judges.

The Colgate Team!

The teams had the opportunity to debate exciting and challenging topics, including THW return all cultural treasures to their places of origin, THBT it is in China’s best interest to let Hong Kong freely elect its leaders, THW, as environmentalists, support the integration of green goals with consumer culture, THBT states should not use education institutions to instill patriotism, and THBT states should suspend democratic elections during economic crisis.

Colgate LM!

After five preliminary rounds of debate, Luke and Daniel broke forth. They competed in quarters, semis, and finals, debating the topics, “THW nationalize pharmaceuticals,” “THBT the global community should abandon its focus on nuclear non-proliferation,” and “TH regrets the emphasis on marriage equality in the gay rights movement.” Luke also received the sixth place speaker award. Overall, Colgate had an incredibly successful weekend!


Colgate Has a Great Weekend at the North American Universities Debating Championships!

On the weekend of October 24-26, the Colgate Debate Society traveled to Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva, NY to compete in the 2014 North American Universities Debating Championships. Colgate brought three teams and two judges.

Competing at the tournament were the teams of Luke Luttmann ’15 and Michael Chavinda ’17, Kevin Costello ’16 and Adam Buys ‘17, and Faith Ruppert ’18 and Greer Harrison ‘18. Madeline Allen ‘16 and Jing Chu ‘18 attended the tournament as judges.

The Colgate Team at the Tournament!

Colgate had the opportunity to compete in six challenging rounds, debating topics including, “THW abolish spousal privilege,” “THBT authors who belong to historically oppressed peoples should only write in their native languages,” “THBT the feminist movement should campaign to deconstruct masculinity rather than mobilize masculinity to serve feminist goals,” “THBT states should not hold prisoners of war after the cessation of a conflict,” “THR the rise of pop culture authorities (e.g. Cosmo) on what constitutes good sex,” and “THW consider an academic’s publicly stated political positions in hiring, tenure, and promotions decision.”

Colgate Team Pirate Booty CL and their Quarterfinal Trophy!

After preliminary rounds, Luke and Michael broke tenth into quarterfinals, debating the topic, “THBT all media organizations should be owned and run by journalists.” All debaters and judges had the opportunity to participate in high quality rounds with some of the best debaters from North America, making for a great tournament experience for everyone. Overall, Colgate had a successful weekend!


Colgate Breaks at Yale!

Over the weekend of October 3-5, the Colgate Debate Society traveled to New Haven to compete in the 2014 Yale IV. Colgate brought four teams and two judges to the tournament.

Competing for Colgate were the teams of Daniel Messner ’17 and Michael Chivinda ’17, Luke Luttmann ’15 and Madeline Allen ’16, Melissa Haller ’16 and Kevin Costello ’16, and Franklin Van Nes ’18 and Erin Lai ’18. Judging for Colgate were Chi Nguyen ’18 and Sophie He ’18. 

The Colgate Team!

The teams had the opportunity to debate challenging and exciting topics, including “This house opposes the American charter school movement,” “This house would cooperate with any leader or regime to defeat non-state actors that systematically violate human rights,” “This house regrets the rise of dating and other websites that allow people to rate others based on past romantic interactions,” “This house believes that institutional art credentials are bad for art,” ” This house, as an emerging democracy, would suppress domestic media in favor of international media,” and “This house believes that universities and other stakeholders should primarily consider teaching ability rather than research output when awarding tenure and allocating academic funding.”

Colgate’s Semifinalists!

After six preliminary rounds, Colgate’s Luke Luttmann and Madeline Allen broke eleventh overall, debating in both the quarterfinal and semifinal rounds. They had the opportunity to compete against some of the best teams in the nation and the world, debating the topics, “This house would facilitate religious proselytization in areas of high socio-economic deprivation,” and “This house supports the use of forced population transfers that create separate, ethnically homogeneous states as a solution to prolonged ethnic conflict.” Congratulations to Colgate’s amazing semi-finalists, and to everyone from Colgate who attended the tournament!


Colgate Debate has a Successful Start to the 2014-15 Debate Season at Bard!

Over the weekend of September 19-21, the Colgate Debate Society traveled to Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, NY to compete in the first tournament of the season! Colgate brought three team pairings that consisted of experienced and novice debaters, as well as three judges, to the tournament.

The Colgate Team! (Plus Jacob Senghas of Vermont)

The teams of Luke Luttmann ’15 and Rohan Nagpal ’18, Madeline Allen ’16 and Jing Chu ’18, and Daniel Messner ’17 and Erin Lai ’18 debated for Colgate. Julia O’Neil ’16, Melissa Haller ’16, and Michael Chavinda ’17 represented Colgate as judges.

Colgate’s Wonderful Judges!

The pro-am teams had the opportunity to learn more about the format of British Parliamentary debate while debating five exciting topics, including “This house would randomly assign official first names at birth,” “This house believes that countries of the world should create and participate in a global cap and trade system,” “This house would boycott the National Football League,” “This house believes that funding for aboriginal art should prioritize contemporary over traditional art forms,” and “This house believes that Scotland should have voted for independence.”

Colgate NL After Breaking 9th!

At the end of the preliminary rounds, Luke and Rohan broke 9th in the tournament, competing in the quarter and semi-final rounds! Michael also broke as a wing judge, judging in the other semi-final round. Overall, Colgate had a fantastic first tournament, which was both successful and a great learning experience for new and experienced debaters alike! Congrats to all who attended! We are now looking forward to the challenging competition at Yale in two weeks.


Colgate Hosts a Successful 1884 President’s Cup Tournament!

On April 25, Colgate hosted the 2014 President’s Cup tournament. The President’s Cup is an intra-Colgate tournament, and it consisted of one round of debate. Teams consist of experienced debaters paired with novices. The teams for the tournament consisted of Julia O’Neil ’16 and Adam Buys ’17, Madeline Allen ’16 and Daniel Messner ’17, Takreem Siddiqui ’14 and Michael Chavinda ’17, and Melissa Haller ’16. The round was judged by a star panel consisting of experienced debater Gavin Illsley, alumni Grafton Connor and Steven West, and Colgate student Luke Luttmann ’15.

The winning team!

The motion for the round was, “This house believes that states have a duty to intervene militarily to protect foreign nationals with a shared cultural and ethnic heritage.” After a competitive round, first place was given to the team of Julia and Adam, second place to Daniel and Madeline, third place to Takreem and Michael, and fourth place to Melissa. The tournament was an excellent way to finish off a great year for the Colgate debate society!


Teams Participating in the Round!


Colgate Wins the Novice Final at USU Debate Championship 2014!

On the weekend of April 11-13, the Colgate Debate Society brought three teams and four judges to compete in the US Universities Debate Championships at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana. This national debate tournament is one of the most competitive in the United States, and the Colgate team had an amazing experience participating among some of the best debaters and judges in the world.

Representing Colgate were the teams of Daniel Messner ’17 and Adam Buys ’17, Melissa Haller ’16 and Luke Luttmann ’15, and Kevin Costello ’16 and Lorelai Avram ’16. Madeline Allen ’16, Anna Proios ’16, Emily Luba ’16, and Bryan Dewan ’17 attended the tournament as judges.

The Colgate Team!

There were six exciting preliminary rounds. Colgate had the opportunity to debate interesting topics such as supporting doctors who turn away patients who refuse to get vaccinated for religious or philosophical reasons, believing that feminism should actively exclude socially conservative viewpoints, prohibiting the establishment and operation of Israeli companies within Palestinian borders, allowing Supreme Court justices to be removed by popular referendum, not consuming art produced by artists who are deeply immoral, and making poverty a significant mitigating factor in criminal sentences.

Colgate Judges Anna and Emily!

Melissa, Daniel, and Madeline explore Purdue!

At the end of preliminary rounds, the team of Daniel Messner and Adam Buys were the first place breaking novice team in the novice final. They debated the motion, “This House would expand the jurisdiction of tribal courts to include non-tribal members who commit crimes on the reservation.” In the end, Colgate won the round! Additionally, Adam won the third place novice speaker award, and Daniel won the second place novice speaker award. It was also a great weekend for Colgate judges! Anna Proios chaired a round and broke as a judge into octofinals. Overall, it was a successful weekend for Colgate, and a great way to end the season!

Daniel and Adam!


The Colgate Open 2014: Final Round

On the weekend of March 29-30, the Colgate Debate Society hosted the fifth annual Colgate Open. After five preliminary rounds, followed by competitive quarter and semi final rounds, four teams competed in the final. The teams of Hybrid CC (opening government), Vermont Hybrid SH (opening opposition), Cambridge Broadly Understood (closing government), and McGill KT (closing opposition) debated the motion, “This House Believes that secular governments should actively censor those sections of religious text that either constitute hate speech or propagate negative attitudes to other religious/ethnic groups.” Above is the video of the round. Hybrid CC,  AJ Cormier and Simon Cameron from Carelton University won the round on a unanimous decision. The round was judged by the panel of Anser Aftab, Sarah Balakrishnan, Buzz Klinger, Melissa Haller ’16, and Luke Luttmann ’15. 


Colgate Hosts the Fifth Annual Colgate Open!

On the weekend of March 29-30, the Colgate Debate Society hosted its own debate tournament on Colgate’s campus. 72 teams and 50 judges attended the tournament from universities all over the world. Students attended from Canada, England, Germany, and India, as well as from across the United States. The Chief Adjudicator for the tournament was Anser Aftab, the Deputy Chief Adjudicator was Sarah Balakrishnan, and tab was run by Steve Llano. The amazing adjudication team, along with members of the Colgate Debate Society working behind the scenes, made the weekend an incredible success.

Links to our Speaker and Team Tabs:

Speaker Tab 
Team Tab

The Colgate Debate Society and the Adjudication Team!

Another year of successful planning!

The tournament consisted of five competitive preliminary rounds. Teams debated exciting topics such as banning private sponsorship of police, regretting the rise of the anti-hero in media, believing that US foreign policy should prioritize protection of minority rights over support of democracy, campaigning for increased sexualization of men in the media rather than campaigning against sexualization of women, and prohibiting media from reporting on the private life of any person without explicit permission. This year, after the completion of the preliminary rounds, the award for top speaker at the tournament went to Paul Gross from Cornell GR.

Anna and Emily Running the Breakfast Table!

The tournament then broke to quarterfinals and a novice final. Sixteen amazing teams competed in the quarterfinal, debating the motion “This House Believes that Putin’s actions towards Ukraine have been in the best interest of Russia.” After much deliberation, eight teams moved forward into semi-final to debate the motion “This house prefers a society where the rich feel negative exuberance to one where the poor do.” This year, Colgate hosted its first ever novice final, with four novice teams debating the motion, “This house would ban all forms of advertising that go beyond a description of what a product is and what it hopes to accomplish.” The winners of the novice final were McGill LL, the team of Valentin Litvin and Isabel Lee . The remaining four open teams, Hybrid CC, Vermont Hybrid SH, Cambridge Broadly Understood, and McGill KT then proceeded to the final round, debating the motion, “This House Believes that secular governments should actively censor those sections of religious text that either constitute hate speech or propagate negative attitudes to other religious/ethnic groups.” The winner of the Colgate Open 2014 was Hybrid CC from Carelton University, AJ Cormier and Simon Cameron.

Colgate Judges Melissa and Luke in the Final!

On the whole, the Colgate team did an amazing job running the tournament and participating in it. Judges Daniel Messner ’17, Emily Luba ’16, Melissa Haller ’16, and Luke Luttmann ’15 broke into out rounds. Melissa also chaired the novice final round, and both Melissa and Luke had the opportunity to judge in the final. Other Colgate students worked tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure that the tournament ran smoothly. Debate president Julia O’Neil ’16 led the effort, coordinating the tournament from the start. She worked closely with Adam Buys ’17 who assisted her throughout the process, Madeline Allen ’16, who ran registration for the tournament, and Anna Proios ’16 who was responsible for catering and event planning. Countless other Colgate students volunteered their time and effort to make the tournament happen. Overall, it was an incredible success, and the Colgate Debate Society looks forward to the opportunity to host another successful tournament next year.

Our Hard Working Registration Team!


Colgate Debates in New York City!

On the weekend of March 8-9, the Colgate Debate Society brought four teams and three judges to compete in the Empire Debates at the The King’s College in New York City.

The teams consisted of Madeline Allen ’16 and Julia O’Neil ’16, Luke Luttmann ’15 and Melissa Haller ’16, Anna Proios ’16 and Lorelai Avram ’16, and Jeremy Garson ’16 and Misha Vebrova ’16. Cynthia Vele ’17, Daniel Messner ’17, and Stella Yoh attended the tournament as judges.

Members of the Colgate Team Pose for a Group Photo

The teams debated in five exciting rounds of debate, taking on topics such as abolishing educational track systems in schools, making the abortion of fetuses with non-fatal birth defects illegal in places where abortion is legal, subsidizing opposition parties in countries with dominant one-party rule, denying life-sustaining procedures to the terminally ill, and adopting the prime directive, given that extraterrestrial life has been discovered.

The Team in Times Square!

At the end of the preliminary rounds, the team of Luke Luttmann and Melissa Haller broke fourth, competing in the semi-final and final rounds. Even though the team did not win the final, they performed very well in the face of tough competition. Luke also received an award for being the second-best speaker in the tournament. Additionally, the entire team had the opportunity to explore New York City during the course of the weekend, visiting places like Times Square and China Town. Overall, it was an exciting and successful weekend for the Colgate Debate society.

Melissa and Luke!


Colgate Attends Northeast Regionals in Connecticut

On the weekend of February 22-23, Colgate brought five teams and three judges to compete at the Northeast Regional Debate Championships at Western Connecticut State University in Danbury, Ct.

The teams of Madeline Allen ’16 and Julia O’neil ’16, Luke Luttmann ’15 and Daniel Messner ’17, Melissa Haller ’16 and Lorelai Avram ’16, Adam Buys ’17 and Kevin Costello ’16, and Anna Proios ’16 and Emily Luba ’16 competed at the tournament. Michael Chavinda ’17, Bryan Dewan ’17, and Maria Chen ’17 judged for Colgate.

The happy Colgate team!

The teams debated interesting topics such as preventing juries from talking to the media after trials have been decided, eliminating tenure in universities, imposing a 100% death and inheritance tax, supporting violence in the event that a government responds to peaceful protesters with force, eliminating the reservation system for Native Americans in the United States, and, supposing that Obama had an affair, choosing not to print the story in the national media.

Luke and Daniel!

After six rounds, the team of Luke Luttmann and Daniel Messner broke fifth, and Adam Buys and Kevin Costello broke sixth overall. Both teams participated in the quarterfinal round. Luke and Daniel also moved forward into the semi-final. Both teams performed very well in the face of tough competition. Additionally, Luke received the tenth place speaker award. Daniel won the third place novice speaker award, and Adam won the fifth place novice speaker award. Colgate judges also had a great tournament, with Michael Chivinda  chairing preliminary rounds. Congratulations to the successful teams!

Adam and Kevin!


Colgate Debate Travels to Montreal to Compete in the North American Women’s Tournament!

On the weekend of February 14-16, the Colgate Debate Society sent one team and two judges to compete in the 2014 North American Women’s Debate Tournament, hosted by McGill University in Montreal. This is a unique tournament that featured all-women debate teams from across the United States and Canada.

The team of Madeline Allen ’16 and Anna Proios ’16 debated. Vaso Papadopoulou ’16 and Luke Luttmann ’15 attended as judges.

Colgate’s Debate Team!

The teams participated in five rounds, debating exciting topics such as banning religious and ethnic parties from running for election in developing democracies, regretting commercialization and mainstream popularization of Graffiti, whether NATO should maintain a standing army, to which all members must contribute a minimum number of troops, preferring a society with an active Court of Public Opinion to one without, and banning  employers from creating contracts which prohibit employees from expressing their political opinions publicly.

Colgate’s team had an amazing time debating against outstanding female teams and considering issues of women’s equality within the context of debate. They even attended a women’s forum and learned about some issues of equality in the Canadian circuit and how they have addressed them. Everyone had a positive experience overall. The weekend was a success!


Colgate is Successful at Sydne Landon IV and Wins Novice National Championships!

On the weekend of February 7-9, Colgate sent four teams and four judges to compete at Ithaca College. Two tournaments took place simultaneously: the Novice National Championships for the novice division, and the Sydne Landon IV for the open division.

Competing in the novice tournament was the team of Adam Buys’17 and Matt Reed’17. The teams of Madeline Allen ’16 and Lorelai Avram ’16, Luke Luttmann  and Kevin Costello ’16, and Michael Chavinda ’17 and Takreem Siddiqui ’14 competed in the open division. Melissa Haller ’16, Anna Proios ’16, Jeremy Garson ’16, and Misha Vebrova ’16 judged for Colgate.

The Colgate Team!

The teams had the opportunity to debate motions such as, This house believes that feminists should reject all forms of body modification, This house believes that capital punishment is a legitimate tool of the state’s judicial apparatus, This house, as NATO, would use military force to prevent the further construction of Israeli settlements in the West Bank, This house believes that the state should financially incentivise the poor to not have children, and This house would ban “Union Shops” and “Agency Shops.”

Colgate’s Amazing Novice Team!

Novice Results: Colgate is happy to announce that Adam Buys and Matt Reed came first overall in the novice division, breaking first after preliminaries and ultimately winning the final round. Matt was awarded the third place novice speaker award, and Adam was the first place novice speaker. We’re so proud of our successful novice team!

Our Successful Open Team!

Open Results: Colgate had more success in the open division! The team of Luke Luttmann and Kevin Costello broke fourth overall, and competed in the Semi-final round. Although they did not go through to the final, they faced tough competition and debated very well. Luke was also awarded the 6th place speaker award! Colgate judges also did well, with many of them having the opportunity to chair preliminary rounds, including  Anna Proios and Jeremy Garson.  Melissa Haller  broke as a judge, chairing an Open Semi-final round, and judging as a panelist in the Open Final.

Colgate’s Judges!

Congrats to Colgate on a strong start to the Spring debate season!


Colgate Hosts a Public Debate!

On Monday, February 3, the Colgate debate team had the amazing opportunity to engage in a public debate with two incredible debaters from Monash University in Australia, Gemma Buckley and Madeline Schultz. The two came to Colgate for the weekend of February 1-2, and held workshops and practice sessions for the team during that time. On Monday, the public debate was held between the teams of Madeline Allen ’16 and Adam Buys ’17, Gemma Buckley and Daniel Messner ’17, Madeline Schultz and Melissa Haller ’16, and Luke Luttmann and Lorelai Avram ’16. The motion for the round was, “This house believes that eating meat is immoral.”


Colgate Sends One Team to Compete at Worlds 2014 in Chennai, India!

Over winter break, Colgate brought one team to the World Universities Debating Championship in Chennai, India: Julia O’Neil ’16 and Sebastian Chan ’14. The tournament consisted of 340 two-person teams from all over the world. Despite setbacks with only two of the original five Colgate participants able to enter India, Colgate ended strong with 13 points.

The Colgate Team!

There were nine preliminary rounds of debate, discussing the following topics: whether the United States should fund moderate Madrassas throughout the Islamic world, whether we should allow first-time offenders to, with the consent of the victims, pay compensation in place of a prison sentence, regretting the rise of a “hookup culture”, whether developing countries should ban members of political dynasties from standing for elected office, whether the Trans-Pacific Partnership is in the interests of the small and medium-sized negotiating countries, making the receipt of welfare payments to raise children conditional on the use of long-term, but reversible, contraception, whether government agencies that regulate drugs should only test whether the drug is safe, not whether it is effective, before approving it for public use, whether NATO should unconditionally offer membership to the states of the former Soviet Union, excluding Russia, and regreting the commodification of indigenous cultures.

Overall, Colgate’s team had an amazing experience debating with teams from across the globe and having the opportunity to explore India.


Colgate Goes to Cambridge!

On November 13-17, Colgate sent three teams to Cambridge, United Kingdom to debate in the Cambridge IV!

The teams of Maddie Allen ’16 and Julia O’neil ’16, Ross Provolo ’14 and Sebastian Chan ’14, and Michael Chavinda ’17 and Daniel Messner ’17 attended the tournament for Colgate.

Colgate Debate at Cambridge University!

The teams debated for five exciting rounds, arguing for topics such as giving primates and cetaceans the same rights to life, freedom from physical harm, and freedom of movement as humans, allowing developed countries to set maximum rents for residential properties in large urban centers, supporting  the US continued targeting of leaders of the Tehrite-Taliban, breaking up banks like Goldman-Sachs, JP Morgan, Chase, and HSBC that are deemed too big to fail, and banning religious charities from actively seeking to convert non-believers.

Michael and Daniel in the Cambridge Union!

After five difficult rounds against debaters from around the world, no teams broke, but all debaters had a great experience abroad. The trip itself was an adventure for Colgate, as the team spent more time travelling than they did actually debating. On the way to England, the teams missed their flight from Washington D. C. to England, and stayed in a hotel for the night. On the way back, the same thing occurred. That time, the teams stayed with Sebastian Chan’s parents, and had a great time touring Washington D.C. after their weekend spent travelling through Cambridge and London. Everyone really made the best of the situation, and had an amazing trip in the process.

Daniel, Julia, and Maddie sightseeing in DC!


Colgate Debate Competes at Oxford University!

On November 6-10, the Colgate debate team traveled to Oxford, United Kingdom to compete at the Oxford IV.  Colgate brought three teams and three judges to the tournament.

Debating were the teams of Lorelai Avram ’16 and Takreem Siddiqui ’14, Javed Narejo ’14 and Anindya Guha ’15, and Matt Reed ’17 and Adam Buys ’17. Melissa Haller ’16, Anna Proios ’16, and Devankit Sahoo ’14 attended the tournament as judges.

The debate team at the Oxford Union!

The teams had the opportunity to debate interesting topics such as providing mobile teachers for the children of travelling communities, establishing redistributive tax codes in developed countries, banning gender testing in pro sports, requiring major polluters to open their borders to environmental refugees, and requiring national war memorials to commemorate casualties on all sides of the conflict.

The debate team in the Oxford debate chamber!

After five preliminary rounds of debate, Lorelai Avram and Takreem Siddiqui earned enough points to compete in the ESL (English as a second language) semi final round, where they debated whether political parties should adopt non-hierarchical organisational structures! Additionally, Matt Reed and Adam Buys competed in the novice final round, in which they debated whether judges in criminal trials should more heavily weigh the testimony of victims. Both teams debated very well.  Adam and Matt placed second in the novice final, and Lorelai and Takreem did not move on to the ESL final, but placed fifth in the ESL category overall. The weekend as a whole was a great experience for all who attended, as the team had the opportunity to debate with some of the best debaters from around the world while exploring England and the city of Oxford. The Colgate Debate Society is very proud of how well everyone competed at the tournament!

Lorelai and Anna!

Matt and Adam before the novice final!


Colgate Competes at the University of Vermont’s Huber Debates!

On the weekend of November 1-3, the Colgate Debate Team traveled to Burlington, Vermont to compete in the Huber Debates at the University of Vermont. Colgate took three teams and two judges.

Debating were the teams of Madeline Allen ’16 and Kevin Costello ’16, Michael Chavinda ’17 and Daniel Messner ’17, and Ross Provolo ’14 and Sebastian Chan ’14. Emily Luba ’16 and Devankit Sahoo ’14 attended as judges.

The team eagerly awaits arrival in Vermont!

The teams had the opportunity to debate exciting topics such as prohibiting the paying of human subjects, making US foreign aid to South America not conditional on coca eradication, replacing all forms of welfare benefits with an unconditional living wage, preferring a state without a written constitution, subsidizing feminist pornography, and requiring morality clauses in the contracts of all public employees.

The Colgate Team with 1975 Alum Julia Bergeron!

At the end of the tournament, no teams broke. However, everyone performed really well in the face of intense competition. Maddie and Kevin finished with 11 points, Sebastian and Ross finished with 10 points, and Michael and Daniel finished with 9 points. Furthermore, the team had the exciting opportunity to meet up with Class of 1975 Colgate Alum Julia Bergeron, with whom the team shared their Colgate experiences, and gained insight into Colgate’s early years as a coeducational institution. Overall, the team had a great weekend in Vermont!


Colgate Has a Successful Weekend at HWS!

On the weekend of October 25-27, the Colgate Debate Society traveled to Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva, NY to compete in the annual HWS Fall Classic.

The teams of Rachel Neal ’16 and Curt Mahoney ’14, Javed Narejo ’14 and Anindya Guha ’15, and Michael Chavinda ’17 and Takreem Siddiqui ’14 competed in the tournament. Melissa Haller ’16 and Anna Proios ’16 attended as judges. 

Colgate Debate at HWS!

The teams had the opportunity to debate exciting topics regarding vigilantism, the National Security Administration, non-reconstructive cosmetic surgery, the targeting of human shields in warfare, and subsidizing newspapers.

We broke at HWS!

After five preliminary rounds of debate, the teams of Rachel and Curt and Michael and Takreem had enough points to compete in the semi-final! They debated the motion “This house would all violent criminals to choose to undergo the Ludovico technique in exchange for a significantly reduced sentence.” After a spirited and challenging round, neither team moved on to the final. However, both teams gained valuable experience and had a really fun debate! Michael also won the second place novice speaker award! Additionally, Melissa broke as a judge, and judged in both the novice final and the final round of the tournament. Overall, all teams and judges did an excellent job at HWS. Great job, Colgate!


Colgate Debate Travels to Canada to Compete in the North American Universities Debate Competition!

On the weekend of October 18-20, the debate team traveled to Toronto, Ontario to compete at a debate tournament at the University of Toronto.

Colgate brought three teams and one judge to the tournament. The teams consisted of Melissa Haller ’16 and Emily Luba ’16, Julia O’Neil ’16 and Ieva Steponviciute ’17, and Rachel Neal ’16 and Bryan Dewan ’17. Ben Rangler ’15 attended the tournament as a judge.

Colgate Debate at the banquet on Saturday night

The teams had the opportunity to debate interesting and exciting topics such as whether all criminal defendants should use a government provided lawyer, if the state should withhold funding from indigenous councils and bands that do not have democratic government, if the posting of female diplomats to countries with poor women’s rights records should be aggressively pursued, if Pakistan should pursue peace talks with the Pakistani Taliban, and if developing countries should be granted the right  to host international sporting events.

Colgate visits Niagara Falls!

Although no Colgate students made it beyond preliminary rounds, the team had an amazing experience at the tournament. The opportunity to debate with high-quality competition from the United States and Canada, to work with some of the best judges in North America, and to explore the city of Toronto as well as Niagara Falls made the trip worthwhile for all who attended.


Colgate Successfully Competes At University of Binghamton!

During the weekend of September 20-22, 16 Colgate students traveled to compete in the Northeast Regional Opener tournament in Binghamton, New York.

Our successful Colgate team!
Our successful Colgate team!

The teams consisted of Julia O’neil ’16 and Maddie Allen ’16Javed Narejo ’14 and Anindya Guha ’15, Lorelai Avram ’16 and Takreem Siddiqui ’14Matt Reed ’17 and Adam Buys ’17, and Emily Luba ’16 and Ieva Steponaviciute ’17.  Judging at the tournament was Melissa Haller ’16, Bryan Dewan ’17, Michael Chavinda ’17, Rachel Neal ’16, and Vaso Papadopoulou ’16. 

The teams debated exciting and thought-provoking topics such as encouraging global nuclear proliferation, aggressively pursuing green energy, dropping the charges against  Edward Snowden, preserving the relationship between the Mets and radio, and allowing individuals to sell personal information on the internet for a profit.

Colgate teams in the final!
Colgate Teams in the Final!

After six preliminary rounds of debate, the teams of  Maddie Allen and Julia O’neil, Javed Narejo and Anindya Guha, Adam Buys and Matt Reed, and Takreem Siddiqui and Lorelai Avram all had enough points to make it to the Semi-Final round, in which they debated the motion”This house would aggressively fine news stations for publishing false reports.” After intense competition, Lorelai and Takreem, Maddie and Julia, and Adam and Matt all made it to the final round, where they had to debate whether or not morality could exist without a god. Colgate did not win the round, but everyone performed really well. To add to Colgate’s widespread success, Javed Narejo won the top speaker award for the whole tournament! Even our judges performed well, as Melissa Haller chaired the novice final with Michael Chavinda and Bryan Dewan breaking as wing judges. Great job, Colgate!

Javed and Annindya with their awards!
Javed and Annindya with their awards!


Tough Competition at the Debate Society’s 2013 Class of 1884 President’s Cup Tournament!

During the weekend 27-28 April, the Colgate Debate Society held its annual Class of 1884 President’s Cup Intramural Debate Tournament.  All the two-person teams competing were made up of one novice debater and one experienced debater. This levels the tournament’s playing field and gives the Society’s novice debaters an opportunity to learn from their more advanced peers.

The teams competing were: Alexa Windsor ’13 and Maddie Allen ’16, Anindya Guha ’15 and Julia O’Neill ’16Jack Holland ’13 and Justin LoScalzo ’16Javed Narejo ’14 and Yusra Siddique ’16, and Srikar Gullapalli ’13 and Lorelai Avram ’16. The tournament was chaired by Melissa Haller ’16 and paneled by Emily Luba ’16 and Kevin Costello ’16.

Lorelai & Srikar: The Winners!
Lorelai & Srikar
The 2013 Winners!

On Saturday, the teams competed in two preliminary rounds of debate, arguing topics such as punishment through exile, the influence of video games and, the limit on how many times a candidate can run for the same office.

On Sunday,  championship round’s motion was: This House would allow women and only women to bear arms. Srikar and Lorelai won first place, Alexa and Maddie won second place, and Jack and Justin came in third.

With this, the debate season ended!

We look forward to next year to another great year!


Colgate Competes in 2013 US Universities British Parliamentary Debate Championship

From April 10-15, eleven members of the Colgate Debate Society traveled to the University of La Verne in La Verne, California to take part in the US Universities National British Parliamentary Debate Tournament. There were 160 two-person teams competing, or 300 competitors overall.

This must be the place!
This must be the place!

Jack Holland ’13 and Alexa Windsor ’13, Javed Narejo ’14 and Kevin Costello ’16, Julia O’Neill ’16 and Maddie Allen ’16 and Lorelai Avram ’16 and Anna Proios ’16 debated, while Emily Luba ’16, Yusra Siddique ’16 and Melissa Haller ’16 served as judges

The teams debated a wide range of motions: they debated whether extremist speakers should be allowed on college campuses, whether people should be allowed to sell their own citizenship and buy somebody else’s, whether ‘anglicizing’ cosmetic procedures should be banned, whether campaign funding for pro-capitalist candidates should be provided in emergent democracies, whether female vigilante groups should be legitimate in oppressive patriarchal societies, and whether the Pope should be considered persona non-grata in all countries but the Vatican until the Catholic Church opens itself to external investigation.

Jack and Alexa Ready for the California sun!
Jack and Alexa: Ready for the California sun!

Emily and Melissa chaired some of the preliminary rounds. In addition, the Colgate debaters enjoyed sunny California, and became very motivated for future tournaments; watching the more experienced debaters in the Nationals break rounds.

In the break rounds, we heard very compelling arguments as to why the U.S. should provide South Korea with nuclear weapons, why the separation between church and state should not be allowed in emerging democracies’ constitutions, why the U.S. should favor environmentally friendly foreign companies over non-environmentally friendly domestic companies.

All Colgate!
All Colgate!

After the break rounds came the Championship Round where Yale University won the tournament by beating Loyola Marymount University, Carroll College, and Stanford University debating the motion: “Whilst accepting that life begins at conception, this House supports a woman’s right to abortion.”

Colgate’s novices fared well in the individual speaker rankings. There were 113 novices competing and Julia, Maddie, and Jack were ranked 21, 25, and 28. In addition, Julia and Maddie ranked 16 out of a field of 58 novice teams!

We’re already looking forward to next year’s Nationals!


Colgate Reaches Novice Finals at Northeast Regionals

During the weekend of February 23-24, ten members of the Colgate
Debate Team traveled to Danbury, CT, for the Worlds Regional
Championship, held at Western Connecticut State University.

The novice teams Julia O’Neill’16 and Justin LaScalzo’16Madeline
Allen’16 and Jack Holland’13 and Lorelai Avram’16 and Kevin
Costello’16 debated in the competition, while Melissa Haller’16,
Lillie Laiks’15Anna Proios’16 and Yusra Siddique’16 judged.

Colgate at Regionals
Colgate at Regionals

The three teams debated topics such as imposing economic sanctions on
Saudi Arabia, allowing vigilante justice, permitting racist political
parties to stand for election, eliminating “the sin tax”, and obliging
countries to restore peace in their former colonies.

After six rounds, Kevin Costello’16 and Lorelai Avram’16 broke into
novice finals with 10 points, and had to argue against the motion that
police officers should receive harsher punishments for breaking the

In addition, Melissa Haller’16 and Anna Proios’16 broke as judges: they
were wing judges in one of the regular semifinals, and judged teams debating
whether the governments should give free drugs to those who are
already addicted.

Colgate’s off to the tournament at Ithaca College next weekend! Wish us luck!


Colgate Wins Novice Division Championship at the 2013 Empire Debates

The weekend of February 2nd and 3rd was an exciting one for the Colgate Debate Society, as they attended the 2013 Empire Debates at The King’s College in New York City. Three Colgate teams competed; Alexa Windsor ’13 and Jack Holland ’13Madeline Allen’16 and Melissa Haller ’16, and Anna Proios ’16 and Lorelai Avram ’16. Julia O’Neil ’16Lillian Laiks ’15Yusra Siddique ’16, and Asabi Rawlins ’16 also represented Colgate as judges.

Colgate's Finest!
Colgate Debate at King’s College

After six great rounds, including the motions “This House would lift all sanctions in North Korea,” “This House would donate luxury wealth to the poor” and “In the event of a zombie apocalypse, This House would leave the weak behind,” all three Colgate teams finished strong.

Madeline and Melissa broke first to novice finals with 10 points. Madeline also was the fifth novice speaker for the tournament.

Maddie & Melissa
Maddie & Melissa

Anna and Lorelai also broke to the novice finals with 8 points, winning the novice championship on the motion: “This house would ban all civilian gun ownership.”

The Empire Debates were a great experience for all of the debaters and judges who participated.

Loralai & Anna
Lorelai & Anna

WUDC 2013: Berlin

WUDC is the pinnacle of all British Parliamentary debate tournaments. It draws teams from around the world and is held in a different country every year.  This year it was held in Berlin, Germany. Last year it was held in Manila, Philippines. Next year it will be held in Chennai, India.

The Berlin tournament drew 387 two-person teams and 334 judges.  Including observers, there were well over 1,000 attendees representing more than 60 nations from every continent except Antarctica!

Colgate at Worlds
Colgate at Worlds

All debates are held in English, with three divisions: (1) Open, (2) English as a Second Language (ESL), and  (3) English as a Foreign Language (EFL). This year’s Open world championship team consisted of Nita Rao and James Beavis from Monash University (Australia). The ESL world champions are Aaqip Farhan Hossain and Ratib Mortuza Ali from BRAC University (Bangladesh). The EFL world champions are Tiago Vieira Laranjeiro and Ary Ferreira da Chuna from the University of Porto (Portugal).

Colgate held its own, but didn’t win any awards. Nevertheless, everybody had a great time and gained valuable experience.

Below, Anna Proios ’16 writes about her and her fellow students’ participation in Worlds:

As a First-Year and brand new member of the Debate Society, I never imagined that I would have a chance to go to the World Universities Debating Championship in Berlin, Germany and adjudicate debate rounds with some of the world’s best debaters. Thanks to the Debate Society’s initiative to bring two First-Years to Worlds every year to introduce them to the art of world-class debating, after tryouts, I was selected to attend as a judge. It was a great experience!

Colgate brought three teams and two judges to Worlds: Jack Holland ’13 and Alexa Windsor ’13Javed Narejo ’14 and Sebastian Chan ’14Curt Mahoney ’14 and Julia O’Neil ’16, and judges Dan Li ’14 and me, Anna Proios ’16. Never before have I been to a debate tournament where college students from Japan debated their counterparts from China on whether Japan should have nuclear weapons; where students from Pakistan, Israel, Austria, and Canada debated over what to do about Greece’s sovereign debt, or where debaters from the Philippines and Jamaica, Peru and The Netherlands, India and Chile, Vietnam and Poland, Zimbabwe and Romania, Greece and Germany, Hungary and Sri Lanka, Venezuela and Malaysia, France and Australia, and the UK and US be judged by a multinational palette of judges from all over the world.  Debate topics included overpopulation, religion, war, and economics. It was truly an eye-opening experience, to be able to see how these students from around the world viewed and debated about the world. In the end, we saw Portugal win the English as a Foreign Language final, Bangladesh win the English as a Second Language Final, and Australia win the Open final.

This year, for the first time, the Colgate Speaking Union used Livestream and a smart phone to webcast some of Colgate’s debate rounds live from Berlin. Stay tuned for the upcoming National BP Debate Tournament where we hope to webcast Colgate’s debaters live from California!

Now, Colgate is looking forward to hosting its own international invitational in March, and we hope to bring a slice of the experience back home from worlds.


Cambridge University IV!

Colgate Debate Society team members flew across the pond to compete in the Cambridge IV, from November 15th-17th, 2012.

The teams of Jack Holland ’13 and Sebastian Chan ’14, and Julia O’Neil ’16 and Madeline Allen ’16, along with Alexa Windsor ’13 as a judge, did very well in both teams’ first international tournament.

Happy Debaters!
The Happy Debaters!

Teams debated motions about living wages for stay-at-home parents, development aid in Rwanda, and the global economic crisis. For round 4, both Colgate teams ended up debating against each other and 2 other teams. They debated the motion, “This house believes that democratic reform is more important than economic growth for China.”

Sebastian and Jack, and Madeline and Julia finished the tournament solidly with 5 points.



USU National Open Debate Tournament in Sunny California

From October 5-7, the Colgate Debate Team traveled to California to take part in the 2012 USU National Open Debate Tournament, hosted by Claremont McKenna College.

Colgate sent three teams comprised of Alexa Windsor ’13 and Srikar Gullapalli ’13, Julia O’neil ’16 and Javed Narajo ’14, and Jack Holland ’13 and Sebastian Chan ’14. Melissa Haller ’16 and Anindya Guha ’15 judged at the tournament.

Hello Claremont!
Hello Colgate!

The team enjoyed the warm California weather and participated in spirited debates on topics such as truth commissions for indigenous peoples, excise taxes and the millennium development goals, restricting the migration of science and technology professionals into developed nations, and imposing quotas on minorities represented in government.

Overall, it was a great tournament to help start off the year.  Next up, Yale!

Colgate Takes Europe Part 1: The Oxford IV 2015

Over the weekend of November 11-15, the Colgate Debate Society traveled overseas to compete at the Oxford IV in the UK. Colgate brought three teams and one judge to compete. Oxford is one of the most challenging tournaments that Colgate attends, and is an incredible opportunity for Colgate Debaters to debate against and judge some of the best teams in the world.

The teams of Melissa Haller ’16 and Adam Buys ’17, Kevin Costello ’16 and Alex Taylor ’18, and Rohan Chaudhari ’19 and Matt Kato ’19 competed for Colgate as debaters. Shemuel Malave ’18 attended the tournament as a judge.

Colgate in the Oxford Union

Colgate had the opportunity to debate some interesting and challenging motions, including, “THW Ban Religious Primary and Secondary Schools,” “THBT US immigration policy should only prioritise merit-based standards of acceptance over the reunification of families,” “THW end penalty enhancements for hate crimes,””THBT Western Liberal Democracies should boycott the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia,” and “THW allow opponents of abortion to sign legally-binding contracts with pregnant women, in which they pay those pregnant women not to have an abortion.”

Although no Colgate teams broke, Oxford was an excellent opportunity for Colgate students to practice their debate skills in a competitive, international setting. We also had the opportunity to explore Oxford and get to know debaters from all over the world, a truly unique opportunity. Overall, it was a fantastic and valuable weekend, and we hope that Colgate has just as great of an experience in Cambridge next weekend!


Colgate Debates in Vermont!

On the weekend of November 6-8, the Colgate Debate Society traveled to Burlington, Vermont to compete in the University of Vermont’s Huber Debates. Colgate brought one team and three judges.

The team of Daniel Messner ’17 and Madeline Allen ’16 debated for Colgate. Melissa Haller ’16, Siena Frost ’19, and Faith Ruppert ’18 attended the tournament as judges.

The Colgate Team

The team had the opportunity to debate exciting topics, including “THW end all programs aimed at preserving endangered languages,” “TH regrets the strong promotion of people declaring their sexual orientation (e.g. National Coming Out Day) as an advocacy strategy by LGBTQ movements,” “THBT, following the resolution of domestic armed conflicts, prominent members of groups who fought against the state should be prohibited from running for public office,” “TH regrets the inclusion of religious symbols in memorial sites,” and “TH supports the universal legalization of polyamorous unions.”

Colgate AM

After five competitive rounds of debate, Daniel and Madeline broke 12th at the tournament, debating in the quarter final round. They debated the topic, “TH, as a progressive judge, presiding over the Marine Le Pen trial, would adopt reasoning that was plausible, but which you believe to be unsound, in order to justify a conviction.” After a challenging debate, the team did not move forward; however, everyone involved had a great tournament and we’re incredibly proud of our performance during the course of the weekend. Keep up the good work, Colgate!

Colgate Competes at Yale!

Over the weekend of October 2-4, the Colgate Debate Society traveled to New Haven, Connecticut to compete in the Yale IV Debate Tournament. Colgate brought four teams and three judges to the tournament.

The teams of Daniel Messner ’17 and Kevin Costello ’16, Julia O’Neil ’16 and Alex Taylor ’18, John Eddins ’18 and James Hurst ’18, and Matt Kato ’19 and Marlynna Blumer ’19 debated for Colgate. Maria Amorosso ’18, Hayley Arlin ’18, and Siena Frost ’19 attended the tournament as judges.

All teams had the opportunity to debate exciting and challenging motions, including, “THW ban religious K-12 schools,” “THBT voters should be able to override the votes of their elected representative on individual bills by two-thirds or greater referendum,” “THBT developed nations should pay reparations to developing nations that have experienced significant adverse consequences from climate change,” “TH rejects the media’s intentional humanization of those responsible for heinous acts or crimes,” “THBT the US should join the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank,” and “Given the existence of a drug that dramatically increases mental capacity, THBT universities should ban and test for student use of the drug.”

Yale is one of the most challenging and competitive tournaments in the United States, and is a great opportunity for students to practice their debating skills and learn from some of the best debaters in the world. Although none of our teams broke, it was a fantastic experience for everyone involved. We’re looking forward to putting our newly honed skills to the test when we compete at HWS next weekend!

The Class of 1884 Debate Prize: 103 Years of Debate Competition

The Class of 1884 Debate Prize: 103 Years of Championship Debate Competition

Founded with a gift of $500, “the Class of 1884 . . . established a fund the annual income of which will maintain a public prize debate, to be held during commencement week.” By 1916 the prizes were “$40 and $20.” Colgate University Catalogue (1916: 112).

There were seven founders: Edward Grout ($100), Chas. Van Kirkland ($50), Dewey Martin ($50) Marion Brown ($50), James C. Colgate ($100), Albion Dyer ($100), and Herbert Gibbs ($50). Four of the original seven are identified below. Since there are seven people in the photograph below, the unidentified people could very well be the remaining founders.

Things have changed since its inception, but the Class of 1884 Debate Prize continues. Eight years ago it was re-named the President’s Cup, although the prize name remained the same. In 2011, the tournament’s reference to the Class of 1884 was restored: “The Class of 1884 President’s Cup Intramural Debate Championship.” Additionally, the top prize continues to retain its name: “The Class of 1884 Debate Prize”

This year’s first prize is $800, which is evenly divided between the two members of the winning team. Overall, $1800 will be awarded, including a $200 prize for the tournament’s top novice speaker. From $20 to $1800, the Class of 1884’s gift to Colgate, and its annual prizes, has grown; a tribute to the Class of 1884’s foresight and Colgate’s perpetuation of its legacy.

The Trophy

The four two-person teams competing will consist of one senior debater and one novice debater in celebration of the Society’s solidarity among its members: from the least experienced, to the most experienced, united by their common interest in debating as an extracurricular activity.

The competitors are all members of the Colgate University Debate Society, a Colgate club open to all Colgate University students.

Live-streamed: April 27 at 6.45 pm EDT. This year’s Chief Adjudicator is Gavin Isley, a world-renowned debater and judge. He will be joining us via Skype from the UK.