Debate team secures spot at national competition

Photo by Sarah Thorne
Photo by Sarah Thorne

Organ sales, prostitution  and legalization of marijuana are all heavily disputed topics with arguments from multiple viewpoints. However, one thing that cannot be argued is the Trinity debate team’s success in recent competitions, where they have debated these and other hot topics—and earned a spot at the national competition next week.

The debate team has traveled to competitions around the country since September and has had a season of success and improvement from past years under the direction of William Mosley-Jensen, assistant professor of human communication and theatre and director of debate, who began coaching Trinity debate this year.

“The team is doing better this year than in the past four or five years,” Mosley-Jensen said. “The students are really committed.”

The team proved their commitment when members of the debate team spent their spring break at Trinity doing research to prepare for the upcoming national competition.

“We spent the entire spring break here and did research from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. every single day,” said junior Maggie Solice. “Right now we practice for about five hours a day, every day, except Thursdays.”

The research that the team is doing covers some of today’s most controversial topics and is important for success at competitions.

“We have been researching consensual crimes, like legalization of marijuana, physician-assisted suicide, organ sales, prostitution and online gambling, to list a few,” said junior Nathan Rothenbaum.

The team is excited about the number of times they have “broken,” or landed a spot in the top 32 teams in this year’s competition season. Some highlights of the season are the team’s finishes at competitions in Georgia, Miami and at the University of Texas. In addition, team growth and dedication are among this season’s successes.

“One of our biggest successes has been the sense of team and community that has really grown, over this year,” Solice said. “We’ve got really great coaches with lots of enthusiasm who have helped develop a vision for the team.”

Rothenbaum attributes this year’s improvement from previous years to hard work.

“We have put in more effort and there has been better coordination this year,” Rothenbaum said.

The national competition takes place on April 2 in Iowa City, Iowa, at the University of Iowa. Trinity hopes to finish in the top 30 and will continue to prepare and work toward success in the future.