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Debate Society Celebrates Centennial Debate with Pitt

Debate Society Celebrates Centennial Debate with Pitt

Louie Levin (PSU), Joshua Nelson (Pitt), Jordan Todd (PSU), and Olivia Cypher (Pitt)

On April 16, the Penn State Speech and Debate Society hosted the University of Pittsburgh for the 100th anniversary of the first debate between the two schools. Students from the two schools debated whether colleges should pay student athletes. The debate was part of a recently renewed rivalry between the two schools. “The debates between Pitt and Penn State have chronicled important points in history, and we need to continue this legacy, especially in this public forum,” said Jordan Todd, the society's president.

Two guest judges adjudicated the debate. Stephen F. Ross, professor of law, and R. Scott Kretchmar, professor of exercise and sport science, provided commentary about the debate and the broader issue surrounding student-athletes following the debate. They highlighted larger implications on Title IX, health concerns and competitive equity among schools. With the audience also voting, Penn State was successful and defeated Pitt on a 2-1 decision.

Keystone Crossroads Forum Held in Altoona

Keystone Crossroads logo

On October 7, the Center for Democratic Deliberation collaborated with the University of Pennsylvania’s Project on Civic Engagement to help stage a Keystone Radio Forum in Altoona. The theme, "Rust or Revival," focused on the tension in Pennsylvania cities that are "full of promise, but plagued with problems." Working with WPSU, the CDD provided moderators, consisting of affiliated faculty and graduate students, to guide deliberations with community members in a town-hall style forum. Kyle King, a former CDD research assistant and Ph.D. candidate in English, the the forum did a "great job of letting Altoona community members offer contextualized perceptions of themselves and their communities in the broader context of the state" and assisted "local media outlets toward the types of stories that are under-covered in their communities."

CDD Hosts Conference on Speech & Debate as Civic Education

CDD Hosts Conference on Speech & Debate as Civic Education

Professor Craig Smith delivers the keynote address. Photo Credit: Ben Firgens

Last weekend, the Center for Democratic Deliberation along with the Department of Communication Arts & Sciences hosted the Speech and Debate as Civic Education conference at the Nittany Lion Inn on March 5-7, 2015. The conference featured a keynote address by former debater and presidential speechwriter, Craig R. Smith, along with a luncheon address by another former debater, David Zarefsky, dean emeritus of the School of Communication at Northwestern University. Over 70 published scholars and leaders in the debate community attended the conference, representing 43 institutions ranging from major research universities (e.g. Northwestern, USC, Kansas) to small liberal arts colleges (e.g. Wabash, Mary Washington, Davis & Elkins) and even high school debate programs. Participants also came from a HBCU (Howard), charter schools that emphasize debate education, and one international debate organization (the National High School Debate League of China). Featuring a mix of invited plenary panels and competitively selected papers, the conference explored a variety of topics, including the history of debate education, debate across the curriculum, connections between competitive debate and civic culture, and international and intercultural debate.  The conference was supported by an Advancing the Discipline grant, courtesy of the National Communication Association.