Steve Johnson deftly penciled a sheet of paper into eighths, and then methodically filled each eighth with lines of diminutive hieroglyphics—each section represented a position, each line of Steve’s code represented a tiny bone in the skeleton of a debate.
“It’s an outline of a speech, the interrelation of ideas, proof for claims and the argumentative basis for the side assigned,” said Steve, director of UAA’s Seawolf Debate Program and assistant professor of Communication and Discourse Studies.
Bringing that skeleton to life with passion, intellectual precision and tactical wiliness is the task of nearly 30 people who participate in the program, for which the Seawolf Debate team provides a competitive nucleus.
Team members attack or defend sensitive questions of public policy in their competitions against other universities. This month, UAA competes in an exhibition debate against Yale University.
“No public funds should go to support competitive athletics in public education” will be the topic—or, in debate lingo, “motion”—the teams will dissect and argue at the debate, scheduled for 7:30 p.m., March 20, at the East High School Auditorium, 4025 E. Northern Lights Blvd. Brittany Bennett and Matt Stinson will represent UAA.
Each of the four debaters will deliver a speech. Then, people in the audience can take a minute each to speak for or against the motion. Five-minute rebuttal speeches follow.