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'13-'14 Purdue USUDC
Seawolves earn accolades, and 2015 hosting rights, at the 2014 U.S. Universities Debating Championship

April 15, 2014

More than 180 teams gathered from across America to compete in the national debate championship this past weekend at Purdue University. The Seawolf Debaters once again proved themselves as serious contenders in their last competitive tournament of the season. The team brought home numerous trophies, and the privilege of hosting the 2015 championship here in Alaska.

Topics up for debate ranged from the morality of art consumption, Israel-Palestine, and validity of pre-nuptial agreements. After six preliminary rounds, the team of Matthieu Ostrander and Jonathan Taylor advanced to elimination rounds as the 12th seeded team overall.

Having made it successfully through the octofinal round, Ostrander and Taylor were asked to oppose the assassination of political leaders as a legitimate tactic of war. At the end of debate the Seawolves would have to settle for Quarterfinalist awards, placing them in the top 16 of the 181 teams who competed. In addition, Ostrander was recognized as the 10th place overall speaker of the 362 speakers present, and Taylor in his first year of intercollegiate debating also ended up in the top 10% of the field taking home the Top Novice Speaker award.

Beyond the competitive success of current Seawolves, alumni of the program who traveled to the US Universities Debating Championship as independent adjudicators also excelled. Brittany Bennett and Colin Haughey advanced to the semifinal round of the America’s Cup, a tournament that takes place just before USUDC for debate alumni coming to USUDC to serve as judges. Brett Frazer advanced to the final round. All three Seawolf alums, along with the program’s current assistant coach Amie Stanley, were selected to judge elimination rounds of the national championship based on their quality ranking from debaters and co-judges. Director of Debate, Steve Johnson, also received the Top Judge award, an honor determined by being given the highest score from debaters he judged over the weekend and his fellow panelist judges.

The next US Universities Debating Championship will occur in April of 2015, right here in Alaska. The Seawolf Debate Program successfully bid through a competitive process to host the tournament, which will bring upwards of 100 of the best debate teams in America to UAA next spring in one of the largest-scale intercollegiate activities to be hosted at UAA in recent history.

For more information, please contact Steve Johnson at (907) 786-4391 or visit the Seawolf Debate website.
'13-'14 Seattle IV

Seawolf debaters make waves on the West Coast

December 11, 2013

Members of the Seawolf Debate Team traveled to Seattle to compete in the Seattle University Intervarsity debate competition Dec. 7-8. The competition featured 32 teams from the Northwestern U.S. and Canada, with the Seawolf Debate Program standing out as one of the strongest.

After five preliminary rounds of competition, half of the Seawolf debaters found themselves advancing to the next phase of competition. As the top-ranked team in the entire competition, Seawolves Andrew Kerosky and Hannah Foreman earned themselves a spot in the semifinal round, where they faced tough competition and were charged with debating whether or not the state should financially incentivize women to not have abortions.

Although Kerosky and Foreman put up a strong argument, they did not advance and topped off the night with semifinal trophies. A second team from Seawolf Debate, Johanna Richter and Jonathon Taylor, advanced to the final round and, on the same motion, won the title of Novice Champion. Both Richter and Taylor are in their first semester of intercollegiate debate.

Other topics debated throughout the weekend ranged from whether or not online currencies like Bitcoins should be prohibited to whether parents should be held liable for the serious injuries their children receive playing dangerous sports.

The team is now preparing for its final and most challenging competition of the year, the World Universities Debating Championships to be held in Chennai, India at the end of December. Upon their return, the debate program looks forward to hosting the Ninth Annual Cabin Fever Debates, UAA’s intramural tournament for students not actively involved in the competitive debate team. For more information, please contact Steve Johnson at (907) 786-4391 or Amie Stanley at (907) 786-4354. You may also visit the team’s website at
'13-'14 Cambridge IV
UAA debaters step up at the Cambridge Intervarsity 

On November 16-17th, 2013, the contingent of UAA debaters made another appearance in

Europe at the Cambridge Intervarsity debate competition. The team of Matthew Fox & Matthieu

Ostrander along with Matthew Stinson & Sarah Elton demonstrated their strength as a team

against 260 of the world’s top debaters. Topics for debate ranged from US involvement in the

targeted killing of the Tehrik-i-Talibani of Pakistan to whether religious charities should be

banned from proselytizing. Both teams were within striking distance of breaking to elimination

rounds. After five preliminary rounds of competition, the team of Fox & Ostrander missed the

elimination break by a single point while Stinson & Elton missed it by two points of the 15

possible. Next the team splits as they travel debaters December 6th-8th to Boston and the Seattle

University Worlds Debate tournament. For more information, please contact Steve Johnson (786-4391)

or Amie Stanley (786-4354).


Read more about the team on the Seawolf Debate blog.