Today's debate class was different because there were actual Cornell University debaters who were coming to stage a mock debate for us! There were eight debaters total, and they were taking part in a World Schools format. (where there are four teams, two arguing for the proposition and two arguing against it) The debate topic, which they did not have time to plan for in advance, was whether the United States Government should sponsor Twitter to liberalize oppressive societies.
The order of the debate is as follows: 1st speaker of the government (pro side), followed by the 1st speaker of the opposition. Then the 2nd speaker of the government, followed by the second speaker of the opposition. Then the 3rd speaker of the government, and third speaker of the opposition. Finally, there is the reply speaker of the government, and the reply speaker of the opposition. Speakers have seven minutes to talk, and after the first minute and before the last minute, the opposing side can stand up to offer a point of information, which may or may not be taken. Basically, a member can stand up and the speaker has the choice to either motion them to sit down, or to take their question. Their question is generally less than 15 seconds long, and the speaker during his speech will usually take one or two total points of information.
For this debate, Rodney was judging along with two other students from our class. When the debate was over, they left the room for 15 minutes to decide while the rest of the class and the debaters came up with their own decision. A third of the class, including me, picked the fifth and seventh speaker (one team) as the first place winners, but interestingly enough when Rodney and the others came in, they placed them as 4th place. As everyone discussed afterwards, 15 minutes isn't always enough time to completely dissect the arguments and rebuttals of each team so there are differences of opinion, as we found out today.
It was really great to watch these debaters debate for us. They are really just creating whole arguments and sentences out of one idea they think up beforehand, and their speeches actually sound like they had hours to prepare. Throughout the debate, the general outline of the debate shifts as well too, so the speakers have to be able to alter their points to keep the debate on track with the speakers that went before them. It's definitely something that takes a lot of skill.
This evening was also the first day of the intramural ultimate frisbee group. It is the same amount of time as soccer, from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM. There were about 25 - 30 students in the beginning, but after some left to go get dinner there were about 20 players left. The frisbee was really fun. There were only a few people who knew the rules of the game, but a lot of people had good throws even though they had never played before. An RCA, (Residential Community Advisor) named Adam, was good and he played most of the game. The unfortunate thing about that is that he is about three or four inches taller than I am which is a distinct disadvantage in ultimate frisbee! It was really fun though and everyone who played was a good sport and was serious about the game.