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Bard College Hosts 7th Annual Middle and High School Debate Tournament

Student debaters from Bard Early Colleges in Manhattan, Queens, and Harlem.
On Friday, March 2, Bard College welcomed 48 students and 12 faculty members from the Bard High School Early College (BHSEC) network for the 7th Annual Middle and High School Debate Tournament. Despite the nor’easter that caused all of the local Hudson Valley schools to close, BHSEC students from Manhattan, Newark, Queens, Harlem, Cleveland, and Baltimore (who had arrived the night before) spent the day competing in three rounds of debate. Members of the Bard Debate Union, which helped organize the event, coached the younger students throughout the day.

Groups of three students from each school debated on three topics: a proposal to require voters to pass a civics test, public funding of universal higher education, and the risks versus benefits of artificial intelligence. Students are given the topics a month in advance but are not told which side they are on until the day of the debate, so they have to prepare to argue both sides of every topic. Ultimately, the student teams from Manhattan and Queens were pronounced tournament champions for scoring the highest in all three rounds, but students from the other campuses, particularly BHSEC Cleveland, put in an excellent showing.
“The annual Middle and High School Debate Tournament is one of our favorite events of the year,” said Ruth Zisman, assistant professor of social studies and faculty adviser of the Bard Debate Union. “Not only does it give us the opportunity to watch some very eager and bright young minds take the stage, but it also gives students at Bard College Annandale the chance to serve as teachers and mentors to younger students who are new to debate, allowing them to see the significance of debate beyond their own competitive success—to see the real power of public discourse and civic education.”

Post Date: 03-12-2018