The Great DebateGAMBIER, Ohio (October 14, 2005) The British are coming, and if the past six years are any indication, the results will be entertaining although not necessarily pretty, at least for the members of Kenyon's debate team.
On Thursday, October 20, at 8:00 p.m. in Rosse Hall, Britain's top two collegiate debaters will showcase at Kenyon their rhetorical flair, and their biting wit, as they wind their way through an American tour. As in past years, the debate will most likely play to a packed house.
So far, the British have gone undefeated against Kenyon. They usually win over the audience, not only with their debating abilities but also with their humor. "They always show up with scripted jokes to lighten up an audience that is probably already on their side anyway," laments David Flaherty, Class of 2007, a debate moderator and leader of the Kenyon Debating Society.
This year, Kenyon's team, Harry M. Clor Professor of Political Science Fred Baumann and Sarah Culpepper, Class of 2006, will attempt to capture the hearts of the audience and the blessings of the judges. They will be up against Si ô n Owen, a student at Oxford University, and Kenneth Fleming, who attends Glasgow University. Owen and Fleming are winners of the British Mace, awarded each year to the top two collegiate debaters in the English Speaking Union.
The overwhelming success of the British team does not discount the skills on Kenyon's side. Each year, the British debaters take on one faculty member and one student. They have even prevailed against such intellectual heavyweights as Professor of Humane Studies Timothy Shutt and President S. Georgia Nugent.
Regardless of who wins, the evening's atmosphere will remain light. "We continue to bring the British debaters to campus to provide enjoyable entertainment for the community and to help our club's members, particularly first-years, learn about and get excited about debate," says Flaherty.