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Faculty joins debate to celebrate team’s centennial

In the second preliminary round of the Faculty Debate series, Jay Jones, professor of biology and biochemistry, passionately sides with the government on the motion, “This house should peg the retirement compensation arrangements of all company executives to the average wage of that company’s workers.” The event, Tuesday in La Fetra, was hosted by the debate team. / photo by Brittney Slater-Shew

Brian Velez
Staff Writer

As the centennial for the University of La Verne debate team approaches, assistant professor of speech and debate Ian Lising has organized a series of faculty debates to celebrate the milestone.

The debates will culminate on March 11 in the Morgan Auditorium, and all ULV faculty has been invited to participate.

In the first debate Feb, 21, Professor of History Kenneth Marcus and Professor of English Bill Cook debated against Associate Professor of Writing Sean Bernard and Assistant Professor of Writing Jolivette Mecenas in a heated and entertaining discussion on Roe V. Wade, the 1973 supreme court decision to legalize abortion.

“For me personally it was a great exercise to step out of my comfort zone” Mecenas said.

The topic was presented 15 minutes before the debate, forcing some of the faculty to defend ideas they do not believe in.

Aside from being entertaining, Bernard and Mecenas added that the debates created a sense of community within the faculty allowing them to interact in a different way.

“Its a great way to get to know other professors,” Bernard said.

After the faculty debate, the floor opened to ULV debate students to speak on either side of the topic.

In comparison with the faculty, ULV debate students have a better understanding of debate and argumentation.

The faculty spoke with a relaxed and slower pace while trained debate students fired off ideas and arguments at a rapid pace.

“You don’t have to use theoretical or philosophical jargon, just convey the argument in the audience’s language,” Rebecca Aguilar, speech communications major, said.

Lising says that the idea for these faculty debates has been bubbling in his mind for 15 years.

As a student and then faculty member at Ateneo de Manila University in the Philippines, Lising would engage fellow faculty in conversation during breaks and interest from students quickly developed.

“Our conversations were pretty complex, students were taking notes,” Lising said.

ULV has a long history within its debate team starting with the first debate in 1912 when the school was known as Lordsburg College.

Many students have been members of the team including television personality Ross Mathews, who was captain of individual events.

In 2000 the debate team reached the World Champion­ships finals, but lost to Monash University. In 2007 ULV won the United States National Championships.

To celebrate the teams centennial, a weekend of debate is planned with all events being held in the Morgan Auditorium.

The last debate in the faculty series will be held at 8 p.m. on March 9.

Guest debaters have been invited to participate in the debate at 8 p.m. on March 10.

On March 11, alumni will debate the topic of capitol punishment.

The final debate in the series is special for the university, because it will he held on the same day and use the same topic as did the first debate team 100 years ago.

Brian Velez can be reached at

In the story “Faculty joins debate to celebrate team’s centennial” in the March 2 issue of the Campus Times, Assistant Professor of Speech and Debate and Speech Communication department chair Ian Lising was wrongly referred to as “she” instead of “he.” Also, the debate team lost to Monash University, not Harvard University in the 2000 World Championships. The Campus Times regrets the errors.

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