Debaters capture second place team finish at Smoky Mountain tourney

Northeast State debaters recently scored second and ninth place team finishes at the Smoky Mountain Debate Tournament at Walters State Community College. The College – only one of two community colleges in the debate – competed against 18 teams in the novice category.

Courtney Davis, Hannah Davis, Joseph Hicks, and Paul Taylor represented Northeast State, debating topics that ranged from UN travel bans to countries suffering Ebola outbreaks to quelling violence between the U.S. Border Patrol and illegal immigrants. In addition, Dr. Ruth Livingston, a Northeast State associate professor of Speech, helped the teams prepare their cases and judged at the tournament.

The format for the event was two-person parliamentary debate using National Parliamentary Debate Association rules. Basically, teams study each round’s topic for 20 minutes and then develop a case with one team in support and the other in opposition. Courtney Davis paired with Paul Taylor while Hannah Davis teamed with Joseph Hicks.

Hannah and Joseph won two of their three preliminary rounds, defeating teams from Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) and Carson Newman University. They missed getting into the quarterfinals by one point, finishing the day in ninth place. Joseph was named the 10th place speaker out of 36 participants.

Northeast State Debate Team winners.
Northeast State Debate Team winners.

Courtney and Paul also won two of their preliminary debates, defeating Middle Tennessee State and Walters State. They ended the preliminary rounds in sixth place and secured a spot in the quarterfinals. In that round, they competed against Tennessee Tech University on the topic “self-expression is more important than uniformity in conflict.” Courtney and Paul won their quarterfinal round on a 2-1 decision.

In the semifinals, the duo debated against MTSU regarding the proposition that “the U.S. Federal Government should take action to stop violence between the U.S. Border Patrol Agents and illegal immigrants.” The pair won the round on a 3-0 decision.

The final round was a debate about the proposition that “there should be legislation enacted to combat abstinence syndrome.” Courtney and Paul argued for the proposition. They lost the round to a hybrid team from East Tennessee State University and Berea College on a 2-1 decision. They ended the day in second place and Paul earned the sixth place speaker award.

The team will participate in the Tennessee Intercollegiate State Legislature (TISL) event in mid-November. In the coming weeks they will be working on bills to present at the event held in the State Capitol building in Nashville. They will also be attending the TISL Caucus hosted by Northeast State on Oct. 9.

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