Speakout showcase Seawolf skills

Debate teams from all over the nation converged in Anchorage on Sept. 28-29, competing in the fourth annual Great Alaska Speakout. The Speakout is the only intercollegiate debate tournament in Alaska and only a handful of top teams are selected.

“We like to keep the tournament exclusive, inviting only nine teams,” said Seawolf speech and debate co-captain Shawnalee Whitney.

“The Speakout is exciting because we get some of the top teams in the nation, some that we have never been exposed to before,” Schultz said.

This was the second year in a row that Garcia has been part of the Seawolf team at the Speakout. He says he is proud of his teams performance.

“I like the Speakout because it shows that UAA can breed excellence in competition,” Garcia said.

The topic selected for the final round dealt with the events of Sept. 11, letting teams argue about the subject that has dominated the news. Whitman College defended the resolution “ The United States Federal Government has responded appropriately to the attack on America,” while Lewis and Clark opposed it. Whitman won the match in a 4-1 decision, taking home the first-place gold pan.

“In light of recent events, this is in people's minds, and it's what they are talking about right now,” Whitney said of the topic choice.

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Resolutions in the semifinal rounds dealt with the opening of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil exploration and extraction, and the United State's need to build a national missile defense system.

The semifinal and final round debates were both held in the Art Building's recital hall. The auditorium seemed well suited for the large scale implications of the discourse taking place and also provided plenty of seating for the audience.

The Great Alaska Speakout follows the rules of the National Parliamentary Debate Association, allowing onlookers to pound on their desks in response to points. UAA students made a good showing and rewarded their team with a cacophony of pounds and shouts.

“The average student can sometimes be surprised to see the level of confidence debaters can express themselves with,” Whitney said.

Also appearing at the Great Alaska Speakout were teams from Albertson College, Carroll College, Claremont College, Oregon State University, Pacific Lutheran University, US Air Force Academy and Willamette College.

Students wanting more information about the Seawolf speech and debate team can contact the communication department at 786-4397.