Debate Team Reaches Quarterfinals at World Debate Championship

During IAP, the MIT Debate Team reached the quarterfinals of both the World Universities Debating Championship, held in Ireland, and the North American Debate Championships, hosted by Amherst University in Massachusetts. This accomplishment represents MIT’s best finish ever at the World Championships, a tournament normally dominated by international competition.

Representing MIT in the field of over 300 teams at the World Championships were Adam J. Goldstein ’10 and William H. Magnuson ’09. Nine preliminary rounds were held over the course of three days to determine the top thirty-two teams which would advance to elimination rounds. The team from MIT finished the third day in 19th place, placing them in an octofinal round with teams from McGill University, Hart House and the University of Cambridge. Other American teams that reached elimination rounds included Princeton, Harvard, Yale and Stanford Universities.

Goldstein and Magnuson were eventually eliminated in quarterfinals after a tense debate of the motion: “This house believes that the international criminal court should prosecute crimes against the democratic process.” Other topics for debate included the banning of gambling, allowing soldiers to sue their government for negligence and the arming of local militia in Afghanistan. The final round was a debate on the prohibition of abortion and was won by a team from the University of Oxford.

Shortly after returning home from Ireland, the MIT Debate Team attended the annual border battle between Canada and the United States known as the NorthAms. Using a format which represents a combination of both the American and Canadian parliamentary styles, NorthAms is an exciting challenge for teams from both countries.

MIT was well represented, making up four of the 93 teams in attendance. They included the team of Sharmin Karim ’10 and Peter F. McKee ’11 as well as the team of Goldstein and Magnuson. In addition, two former members of the MIT Debate Team, Adam Groce ’07 and Michelle Zimmerman ’07 competed under the banner of the University of Maryland, where they now attend graduate school.

Groce and Zimmerman ended the tournament in fifth place while Goldstein and Magnuson finished seventh. In addition, Goldstein received the third place speaker award and Groce the sixth.

The MIT Debate Team will be attending a number of tournaments this spring in preparation for the American National Championships at Mount Holyoke in April. In addition, after success at Worlds and the Cambridge IV held earlier this year, the team of Goldstein and Magnuson has been invited to the Hobart and William Smith Colleges Round Robin in early April to compete against the top British Parliamentary teams in the world.