Parliamentary Debate wins Varsity and Novice divisions at Vassar


Malhaar Agrawal

This Saturday, co- Vice President of Parliamentary debate George Loewenson (12) and Dalton senior Hart Rapaport faced off against Julia Robbins (10) and Amman Kejela (10) in the finals of the Vassar College Parliamentary Debate Invitational.

In a close 3-2 decision, Loewenson’s team won the Varsity division, while Nelson Gaillard (10) and Eli Bacon’s (9) team won the Novice division. Students also walked away with impressive individual speaker awards, with Robbins winning 2nd best speaker, and Bacon getting 3rd best speaker in their respective divisions.

The tournament featured teams from as far away as California, and teams argued topics ranging from regional independence to jail sentencing.

In the finals, the competitors experienced different atmospheres.

Robbins wanted to do her best, but did not want to feel too pressured, Robbins said.

Loewenson, however, found the environment “stressful,” he said. “It was in this auditorium where I could see all my friends; usually the audience members in rounds are only the judges,” Loewenson said.

Teams were selected for this Invitational based on their performance at an intramural hosted at the school earlier this year, as well as an earlier conference at Yale. Loewenson made selections for the tournament based on speaking skills as well as argument structure.

Loewenson was impressed by each teams’ growth from the conferences at the start of the year to this invitational, he said. “Especially impressive for me were the teams who were debating at an away conference for their first time. I was impressed and hopeful for the future of the club having a crop of such bright and powerful speakers.”

The school’s Parliamentary Debate club has helped organize a few local tournaments in the coming months, including a conference at a school in Queens in December which Loewenson is looking forward to competing in. With his win at Vassar, he had ranked 6th best in the nation in Parliamentary Debate, and hopes to qualify for the Tournament of Champions for next year through a victory at this upcoming conference.