Debate Team Takes First Place in Championship

California Lutheran University Debate Team Members Jewel Soiland and Kaitlyn O’Gara took first place at the Pacific Southwest Collegiate Forensics Association League Championships at California State University, Long Beach in Varsity Parliamentary debate. In the finale, they won 2-1 against Point Loma Nazarene University.

The Cal Lutheran Debate Team discussed various topics with seven teams. They debated whether Japan should develop a nuclear program, if a constitutional convention should be held and if colleges should declare themselves sanctuary campuses in California.

The fill-in-the-blank resolution stood out to Soiland.

“The government team picked something to fill in the blank and it was, ‘This house believes that blank is the most dangerous secretary in Trump’s cabinet,’” Soiland said.

Since the government team chose a topic with a person who has not yet been confirmed, Soiland and O’Gara said they were not debating the topic.

“This is called topicality. If they are not actually debating the resolution they lose the round. So because it wasn’t a current active member of the cabinet, they could not validly pick that option,” Soiland said.

Soiland and O’Gara won after they suggested a different way to achieve the same result. The opponents proposed that health care should be given to the states through the 28th Amendment via Constitutional Convention. Soiland and O’Gara had three different contentions for disadvantages as well as a counterplan.

“We were basically saying, ‘Do not bother with the problems and issues that could arise with the Constitutional Convention, just do it via Congress.’ That is what we ended up winning on,” Soiland said.

Jennifer Marshall, adviser of the Cal Lutheran Debate Team, said she believes the team’s success at the PSCFA will encourage them to continue debating.

“This is something that they do because they love to debate and love to speak. For them it really means that all of their work paid off. As a faculty adviser and as a coach, its always very rewarding to see that because it can be really motivational for them to keep on debating,” Marshall said.

Since Soiland and O’Gara have been involved in debate for many years, they have learned how to succeed as members on the Cal Lutheran Debate Team.

“Both of us came into CLU and entered the debate program knowing a lot already. We did not have to be taught in college [anything] other than the specific differences between high school debate and college debate,” Soiland said. “There are a lot but you can pick it up especially when you have debate experience. You can just pick up through rounds watching people and doing it in the next round.”

Soiland encourages people who want to be lawyers or politicians to join the debate team so that they can become stronger communicators and learn how to create policies in a short amount of time.

“Regardless of your major, what is nice is debate teaches a very logical line of thinking. In addition, you have to be able to think on your feet and work with a partner. So those are skills that can benefit anyone,” Marshall said. 

Junior Kyle Tamkin, majoring in communication, also participated in the debate. He hopes that this win will inspire students to become a part of the debate team.

After being a member for one semester, Tamkin has learned how to speak publically, think on his feet and organize his thoughts in a timely manner.

“It is not very well known that we have a debate team. It’s just a club right now, but it is going to be a class next year so we are hoping to broaden it,” Tamkin said.

Kate Artmann
Staff Writer