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Cal Poly Debate Team receives national recognition

By Sophia Lincoln

Cal Poly’s Debate Team has recently received some acclaim for both ranking in the top five teams at the Schuman Challenge and finishing the Social Justice Debates Opener as semifinalists.  

The Schuman Challenge is an annual contest hosted by the European Union’s Washington, D.C., Delegation wherein undergraduate students in the U.S. present and defend transatlantic policy initiatives before transatlantic experts, according to Cal Poly Debate Team member and political science junior Parker Swanson.  

This year’s contest was carried out from October 28 to 30 via Zoom, and the topic focused on how the European Union and United States should respond to China’s alternative models of governance.  

Swanson, along with Cal Poly Debate Team members, Isabel Barbee (History) and Rory Dinkins (Environmental Earth and Sciences) put together a policy proposal for the contest and ultimately placed within the top five out of more than 25 teams that participated.

They were recognized with an honorable mention for their written proposal and competitive oral defense.  

At the Social Justice Debates Fall Championship, two Cal Poly Debate Team students placed within the top four teams. The championship, which was hosted by George Washington University, included 35 debate teams from across the country.  This year, teams engaged the question of whether social justice movements should make abolition of the police their top priority.

Communication studies major Matia Mathes and computer sciences major Julian Rice finished as semifinalists. Additionally, Swanson and communications major Carly Peeters finished within the top 10 teams, with Swanson being ranked the eighth best overall speaker at the event.  

The next event in the series will be the Social Justice Debates National Championship, hosted by Morehouse College January 16-17.  

In the video below, Debate Team members Barbee, Dinkins and Swanson discuss what being on the team has meant to them. 



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