‘Give us your hot takes’: Debate team kicks off season


Tate Weston, Contributing Reporter

The Tulane University debate team started its season off this weekend at Rice University.

The traveling squad consisting of two, two-person teams, left early morning Friday and returned to campus early Sunday morning. At the tournament, the squad competed against teams from schools across the country, notably UC Berkeley, Texas Tech and University of Minnesota.

Tulane competes in parliamentary-style debate under the National Parliamentary Debate Association format. This style involves two sets of partners debating a topic they are given an hour before each round. 

Each team is assigned either “government” — in favor of the topic, or “opposition” — against the topic. After each side has had the opportunity to give three speeches, the judge considers the arguments made and decides the winner. 

Chris Hoffler, president of the Tulane debate team, was one of the debaters in attendance at the tournament. Hoffler has been involved with debate for the past three years and is now serving as president for his senior year.

Eager to introduce new students to debate at Tulane, Hoffler noted how debate is a tight community and that he is always happy to welcome new members. 

“I feel like the draw is that it’s a tight community. You can talk about anything anytime — there’s a lot of people really interested in politics — but I think at the debate you can always talk about what you want to talk about that might not resemble other spaces outside of debate,” Hoffler said. 

Hoffler said he enjoyed the intensity of the topics debated at Rice. His favorite topic concerned whether the international community should pressure China to end human rights abuses. Hoffler his partner argued for the resolution that the U.S. should put sanctions on China.  

“I just find the whole topic kind of interesting. I liked it because we got to discuss international politics in a much more intense way,” Hoffler said. 

At the tournament, both of Tulane’s teams made the top 25, which, according to Hoffler, was a good start to the season. He noted, however, that the team is currently focused on development. 

“Right now we are focusing more on emphasizing how students engage in rounds and learn from their experiences [rather than competitive success],” Hoffler said. 

His favorite part of the tournament? Saturday night. 

“We went to IHOP and just chilled. We had nice conversation, nice food. It was just an all-around good time” Hoffler said. 

As Tulane debate starts preparing for the next tournament in early November at the University of Northern Georgia, the team will be holding bi-weekly meetings in Newcomb Hall on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7-9 p.m. Hoffler emphasized that Tulane debate is open to all students regardless of experience or skill level. 

“We have great people and conversation — give us your hot takes and we will listen.” 

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