“East Coast Swing” a success for UAA Debate Team

The East Coast Swing, two of the biggest debate competitions in North America were held at the University of Toronto and Yale in October. The UAA debate team traveled with Coach Steve Johnson to compete with over 120 teams over 30 universities in Canada and the U.S.

UAA entered two teams into the competition. Michaela Hernandez and Colin Haughey had earned nine points in the preliminary rounds. In the five preliminary rounds teams with similar records are grouped together. Hernandez’s and Haughy’s were one point shy of progressing on to the next round.

Michael Imeson and James Kilcup entered into the elimination rounds as the top-seeded team in the tournament. Competing in the preliminary rounds, Imeson and Kilcup did not lose a single point.

Imeson and Kilcup proceeded through the quarterfinal and semifinal rounds. They debated topics such as paying punitive damages from civil lawsuits directly to the government and a complete withdrawal of Israeli settlements in West Bank.

After entering the final round by a unanimous decision, Imeson and Kilcup were the only remaining American team in the competition.

In the finals Imeson and Kilcup opposed a motion that supported reform to laws protecting endangered species. The team that placed second in the preliminary rounds behind UAA won the debate.

“Their performance was extraordinarily impressive,” Johnson said.

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Imeson and Kilcup were recognized as the fourth and third speakers, respectively, at the tournament.

Other debates in the competition considered the U.S. and NATO withdrawing troops from Afghanistan and Medicare funding abortions.

In 2002 the UAA debate team won the national championships.

“The debate team has a very solid history of doing well,” Johnson said.

In 2007 UAA placed in the world championships.

The UAA debate team currently includes 22 students. Later this month seven teams will be traveling to Canada for another competition.