Tuesday, April 28, 2015

[347] MTSU debaters hope to thwart ‘luck of the Irish’ in April 1 debate

MURFREESBORO — The best of the Emerald Isle will take on the best of the Blue Raider Nation in what promises to be a rollicking talkfest.

Members of the MTSU Debate Team will test their mettle against the three individual winners of the 2015 Irish Times Debate Championship at 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 1, in the State Farm Lecture Hall of MTSU’s Business and Aerospace Building.

This event is free and open to the public. For a campus parking map, go to http://tinyurl.com/MTSUParking14-15.

The subject for the noncompetitive exhibition is “Resolved: The United Nations has an obligation to protect.”

It is up to the debaters themselves to decide whether that topic will focus on the intervention of the U.N.’s blue-helmeted, armed peacekeeping forces in conflicts around the world or include a discussion of the U.N.’s overall mission.

MTSU’s debaters will be Leigh Stanfill, a junior communication studies major from Soddy-Daisy, Tennessee; Haley Lawson, a senior psychology major from Smyrna, Tennessee; and Alvin Loyd, a senior political science major from Memphis, Tennessee.

The backup debater will be Michaela Edwards, a senior dual major in industrial/organizational psychology and communication studies from Madison, Tennessee.

Ireland will send Eoin MacLachlan of University College Dublin and Ronan O’Connor and Hugh Guidera, both of Trinity College Dublin.

The three Irishmen emerged victorious from the 55th annual debate competition sponsored by the Irish Times newspaper in February. The three MTSU debaters were selected by Dr. Pat Richey, director of forensics and mentor to the debate team.

Richey, who also is an assistant professor of communication studies and organizational communication, said the tone of the debate will be different from what the Americans are accustomed to seeing in collegiate competition.

“Sometimes it’ll be referred to as ‘pub debate’ … because, in Ireland and Britain, they enjoy debating in the pubs,” Richey said. “It’s a pastime for them.”

While it is a formal parliamentary style of debate, the use of topic-related humor and sarcasm is characteristic of the style. However, said Richey, no personal attacks are allowed.

Which team will argue for or against the debate topic will be determined by a coin toss on the night of the contest. Richey said.

“A good student and a good debater is holistic,” Richey said. “So they’ll watch the BBC. They’ll watch Al-Jazeera. They’ll watch Fox News. They’ll watch CNN. Because, between all those, you get a more realistic picture of what’s going on.”

For more information, contact Richey at 615-898-2273 or patrick.richey@mtsu.edu.

Richey’s interview about the upcoming debate can be heard at www.mtsunews.com/ontherecord. The program originally aired on “MTSU On the Record” on WMOT-FM (89.5 and www.wmot.org).

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