Debate Team Competes at Oxford University
The Loyola Debate Team took its second dip in international waters, competing in the Oxford Inter-Varsity Tournament in Oxford, England on Nov. 4-9 with 100 teams from countries which included South Africa, Romania, Russia and the Netherlands and US teams which included Harvard and Princeton.
It was the team’s first British Parliamentary style tournament.
Loyola’s team, with senior Philip Kraft and sophomore Joe Carroll, was invited to participate in the Oxford Inter-Varsity Tournament. “When we received the invitation, we jumped at the chance,” said David Romanelli, Director of Debate.
The team was fresh from an international debate last spring, and welcomed the opportunity for another multi-national experience. Kraft and Carroll participated in the Elysee Treaty Debate tournament at George Washington University and American University, which was sponsored by the French and German Embassies. They advanced to quarterfinals in the event and were invited to a 10 day expenses-paid educational study of Europe in May.
The Oxford debates focused on resolutions such as gender testing of athletes, compulsory education of children of traveling communities, and national war memorials.
“The interesting aspect of these topics is that they did not come from a United States perspective,” said Romanelli, who attended the tournament as the team’s coach. He noted that the majority of topics the LUC debate team debates focus on U.S. federal government action. The international resolutions encouraged Kraft and Carroll to broaden their perspective.
“I'm proud to have had the opportunity to experience first-hand that debate and intellectual rigor are cross cultural, universal human values. I especially enjoyed the emphasis they place there on debate as a mechanism for community building,” said Kraft.
Not only were the resolutions different, but the style of debate was unlike what the LUC debate team is used to. “We encountered a multitude of styles of argumentation that were fresh and informative. While the experience did affirm how much I enjoy the parliamentary debate that we do, I have no regrets about the education in trying out this new event,” said Carroll.
Their education went beyond debate. The team learned about the English university system and appreciated the loyalty British students have for their individual colleges.