Students Confront Fears, Tackle Complex Issues in Speech and Debate

Students in instructor Katie Hagel’s Speech and Debate class are currently working on “Public Forum” debate: what that looks like, what that entails and how to be successful at it. 

First, students must learn the fundamentals of the style. To do so, they are using past topics such as, “The benefits of protecting First Amendments’ anonymous speech outweighs the harms.”

“So far speech and debate has been an exciting venture outside of my comfort zone. I joined this class to help challenge my fear of conflict. I feel like I have already begun to see an increase in my confidence when speaking,” said senior Gabbard Herring.

Soon, students will move into participating in their own public forum debate using the September/October resolution from the National Speech & Debate association: “The United States’ federal government should substantially increase its military presence in the Arctic.” Students will then be assigned to be “For” this Resolution or “Against” it and will debate each other. 

“It has been really exciting to see students so actively excited and engaged in such high level topics and questions as these, and I have already been so impressed by their ability to think critically about these complex issues from multiple perspectives,” Hagel said. 

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