By Lauren Lapinski
Debaters from across the country gathered at Loyola University Chicago Corboy Law Center this weekend for the Rambler Debate Tournament.
The Loyola Debate Team hosted two back-to-back tournaments, lasting from Friday afternoon through Sunday night.
“Hosting the tournament gives the students the chance to debate with students around the country with leaving Chicago,” said David Romanelli, Director of Debate and Loyola professor.
The tournament, honorably named the Jen Danish Tribute Tournament, after debate team alum and longtime judge, attracted teams from DePaul University, Purdue University, the University of Texas at Tyler, and five other universities.
“[Debate] was a great experience,” said Jennifer Danish, lawyer at Dailey, DeBofsky, and Bryant, and 2003 Loyola graduate, who regularly judges the Loyola tournament. “Not just for law school, but also for public speaking, being comfortable thinking on my feet.”
“All the rounds I’ve seen Loyola compete, they’ve been well prepared,” she said. “These are people they normally compete with so they’re in their element.”
In the first tournament, Andrea Schmidl and Phillip Kraft qualified for the elimination rounds, and top varsity team Nicholas Locke and Elvis Veizi were undefeated in the preliminary debates.
McKendree University won the tournament over the University of Texas at Tyler.
In the second tournament of the weekend, three of the four Loyola teams qualified for the elimination debates. Sophomores Jack Wolf and Roger Bond-Choquette were octo-finalist, and Wolf was a sixth place speaker.
“All of Loyola’s teams were successful, which is good because we were also hosting the to,” said Wolf, 19, sophomore international studies and philosophy major. “We had a lot of administrative work to do while debating which could have easily distracted us.”
Also in the second round, Schmidl and Kraft were semi-finalist, and Locke and Veizi defeated Cedarville University to win the tournament.
The tournament followed the National Parliamentary Debate Association guidelines and featured debates on the President’s job plan, Chinese currency values, abortion, Syria, alternative energy, trade with South Korea, and other domestic and international current topics and events. Debaters receive a topic 20 minutes before a round and must construct a debate in either favor or opposition of the topic.
“We’ve had some problems because it’s not the kind of debate we’re use to,” said Anna Biela, 19, Purdue University debater and sophomore nuclear engineering major. “[It’s] our favorite type of debate but overall we’ve done pretty well.”
The team generally competes in Parliamentary Debate because it is the “best form for students with other forensic experience to be integrated in,” Romanelli said.
Romanelli said the Loyola Debate Team allows any student to join the team, regardless of debate experience, which makes the tournament a valuable learning experience for the debaters.