Seawolf Debate Team earns international kudos

by Kathleen McCoy  |   

The University of Alaska Anchorage Seawolf Debate Team extended their record of international success this weekend with their trip to the Canadian University Society for Intercollegiate Debate's (CUSID) National British Parliamentary Debating Championship tournament hosted by the University of Alberta in Edmonton.  

The tournament, sponsored by the governing authority for intercollegiate debating in Canada, featured competition from both Canada and the United States in the British Parliamentary style, the format of debating used at the World Universities Debating Championships. Canada produces some of the best debaters in the world, with the World Champions from 2005 and 2006 and the 2007 Top Speaker at the World Championships all from Canadian universities. In other words, the competition at this tournament is first class.


The Seawolves entered two teams in the tournament. Both teams squared off against teams from the University of Toronto, McGill University and Claremont University and others in five preliminary rounds of competition. Tackling topics ranging from whether binding faith-based arbitration should be an acceptable alternative to civil courts to how to respond to China's increased investments in African nations, the team of Michael Rose (Senior, Political Science) and Ben Ferguson (Junior, Philosophy) accumulated enough points to advance to the semifinal round of the competition.

In that round, the Seawolves faced Toronto, Carlton and the University of British Columbia on the motion "This House believes the United States should sever ties with the Musharraf regime." Arguing that Musharraf's increasingly autocratic rule has made him more of a liability than an asset to the U.S. in its fight against radical Islamist terrorists, Rose and Ferguson were selected to advance to the final round. In the final, the Seawolves argued fervently against requiring that public funding be used to provide fertility treatments to those who can't afford them. Unfortunately, the panel of adjudicators ultimately were convinced by the opposing side and voted against the motion. The Seawolves had to content themselves with finalist honors.

The Seawolves next travel to the Mahaffey Invitational hosted by Linfield College in McMinville, Oregon. The team will soon announce its delegates to the 2008 World Universities Debating Championships to be hosted by Assumption University in Bangkok, Thailand in January. For more information please contact Steve Johnson at 786-4391 or Shawn Briscoe at 786-4354.

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