USM hosts Great Britain in debate
Published: Tuesday, November 6, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, November 6, 2012 00:11
Monday evening, a debate was held on campus on the topic of “Should Hate Speech be Protected?” between the Southern Miss Debate Society and the British National Debate team.
Ettie Baily-King and Willard Foxton of Great Britain and Brandon Hersey and Michael Sims of the University of Southern Mississippi discussed the topic. USM debated for the protection of hate speech and Great Britain for the banning of it. Who argued for each side of the issue was predetermined and did not reflect the views of the debaters.
The debate was done in British Parliamentary style, which is the world standard debate format, and judged by the audience. This style allows for one team to question the other side’s argument at any time between the first and last minute of the debate. The audience was also encouraged to participate in the debate by yelling “hear, hear” and “poppycock.”
“I think they hung with them and clashed and gave the audience a good show,” said Frankie Glennis, one of the debate coaches for Southern Miss. This year, USM began using Parliamentary style with the intention of competing with other schools. Recently, Hersey and Sims took first and third for best speakers at a competition at Louisiana State University - Shreveport.
Parliamentary style involves “a lot of defining and formalities,” said debate coach Stacy Ahua. Hersey held to this form by starting with a few pleasantries and outlining his points, but once that finished a very dramatic presentation began. Bailey-King and Foxton contested several of Hersey’s points, though USM managed to shrug off or refute their attacks.
After Hersey’s seven minutes were up, the floor went to Foxton, who discussed the issue in a larger context, while USM had a more focused approach. While Hersey tried to interrupt Foxton’s argument, Great Britain would not have it and blocked his attempts.
Next was Sims, who further focused his side’s argument on the keyword “liberty.” While he allowed Foxton to speak, Sims managed to control the use of his allotted time well. Shortly after, Baily-King spoke, and she chose to focus on “truth.” She was interrupted by USM but did not allow them to speak often.
“British Parliamentary debate bears as much of a resemblance to actual debate as Clue to murder mystery,” said Foxton before the event.
During this time, many verbal jabs and jokes were directed at the opposing teams, though competition did not stop the debaters to also make fun of their teammates and themselves.
“We wanted the debate to be audience friendly,” Glennis said.
After the debate, the audience was invited to ask their own questions and make their own points. The debate finished up with the audience standing up to vote for either side, which ended in a draw. While the event bounced between relaxed and melodramatic, both teams argued to the best of their abilities. Without a doubt, they managed to put on a show.