Rutgers Debate Union hosts Henry Championship Invitational


Armed with arguments, vocal chords and a lot of attitude, visiting students from across the country convened at Scott Hall last weekend to argue with each other.

The Rutgers Debate Union hosted the Henry Rutgers Championship Invitational of the American Parliamentary Debate Association at Scott Hall on the College Avenue campus on Feb. 6 and 7.

“We have 106 teams, 212 speakers representing over 25 colleges throughout the country,” said Nick Hansen, housing director of the invitational.

The tournament concluded with David Israel and Juliana Vigorito from Johns Hopkins University ranking first, with Aaron Murphy and Jerusalem Demsas from College of William & Mary taking second place.

Rutgers did not participate in the tournament even though it was the hosting institution, Hansen said.

The University holds an unopposed status, said Victoria Disla, treasurer of Rutgers Debate Union.

“Every weekend there are two to three ADPA tournaments going on,
she said. “Since Rutgers is unopposed, we are the only scheduled tournament of the weekend, and ADPA also holds its board meetings here.”

Each team participating in the tournament went through five preliminary rounds of debate on Friday and Saturday morning, said Naeem Hossain, a member of Rutgers Debate Union and judge in the tournament.

The teams were given a record after the preliminary rounds, such as 3 to 2, meaning three wins and two losses, he said.

A tabulation room sorted out the records of the teams and put the best 16 teams into a bracket system where they would debate against each other in octofinals, Hossain said.

After this, the winning teams went on to quarterfinals, semifinals and finals. Those were outrounds, or elimination rounds, he said.

“Speaker points also helps us make the decision when there’s a substantial number of people who have broken into the 4 to 1 spectrum,” Disla said. “Not all of them will make into the elimination rounds. Some get cut out based on that.”

Rutgers Debate Union E-board and tournament staff members were responsible for smooth event operations during the tournament, Hansen said.

“We have 60 judges and over 100 teams. There is one judge for inrounds and three for outrounds,” Disla said

Alumni who are no longer eligible to participate in the tournament, called “dinosaurs” or “dinos,” stay involved as judges, Hansen said.

“A lot of dinos end up becoming really influential in government or finance,” Disla said. “It’s a great chance to bond with people who have long been known in the circuit for great argumentation. ”

Judging in the debate tournament is based on the substance of one’s argument, according to the APDA website.

Deepta Janardhan, alumi coordinator for Rutgers Debate Union, said she judged rounds based on how compelling and logical the arguments were.

“You can’t just explain your own ground,” she said. “You also have to engage in conversation with the other side of the round, and explain why helping the rest of the world is a more valuable way to spend your time and resources.”

Janardhan said she saw interesting topics being debated in the tournament, and gave the highest scores she ever gave.

Speaker points can range from one to 30, but most speakers are in the range of 25 to 26.75, Disla said.

“Anything greater than that, you have to be Jesus Christ for, but it is not impossible,” Disla said.

Disla said the APDA tournaments allow for the Government side to choose topics based on their interests. The Opposition side does not know the topic in advance, and attacks based on case statement and the Government’s arguments.

“A great thing about APDA is that you get to present things you truly care about and arguments that are exciting, innovative, intelligent and intelligible to both sides,” Disla said.

Rutgers ranks ninth for College of The Year, and the University’s top team Quinn Maingi and Sean Leonard ranks sixth for Team of the Year, said Matthew Maddex, Director of Rutgers Debate Union.

Weini Zhang is a School of Arts and Sciences first-year student majoring in economics and mathematics with a minor in Italian. She is a staff writer for The Daily Targum. Follow @WenergyZplus for more stories.


Weini Zhang

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