Tacoma, WA – This country is incredibly polarized after the 2016 Presidential election. Nonetheless, our voting district has consistently the lowest voter turnout in the state. Given our current political climate, should we try to work across the aisle, or should we focus on our own narrow political agenda?
Members of the Pacific Lutheran University Debate team will partner with local politicians to answer these questions on Tuesday, October 3rd in the fifth annual Ruth Anderson Public Debate. Washington State Senator Hans Zeiger and team captain Mariah Collier 18’ will speak for the proposition, “democracy requires compromise.” Dr. Matt Manweller, a member of the Washington House of Representative and professor at Central Washington University will partner with Tate Adams 19’ to oppose.
“The Ruth Anderson Debate series is a unique opportunity to showcase the relevancy and value of public debate.” Collier stated. PLU Director of Forensics Dr. Justin Eckstein said “The RAPD gives access to the lowest voting district in the state!” The Ruth Anderson Public Debate offers comprehensive discourse opportunities to the surrounding Tacoma and Parkland areas. Collier agreed, voicing she believed it is important to create a platform conducive to critical thought and civil discourse; to encourage engagement between opposing viewpoints.
“I commend the PLU speech and debate program for continuing to organize this debate series — it’s a valuable forum for important civic topics. Organized debates can provide structure for our disagreements and deepen our understanding of the issues. In times like these when soundbites and slogans allow us to avoid substantive dialogue, we would all benefit from a revival of traditional public debates.” Washington State Senator Hans Zeiger stated.
The Ruth Anderson Public Debate represents an opportunity for students to engage with community leaders while providing a platform for opposing parties to host a dialogue on the importance of compromise; specifically compromise related to our political climate. The debate brings an opportunity for civil discussion over the importance of bipartisanship within the context of our polarized society. An opportunity that Collier describes as definitely worth witnessing. “Never before has our country been so divided and we must ask how to deal with such polarization,” Eckstein said.
“Congratulations to Justin Eckstein and PLU for organizing this exciting debate. It’s content and format offer all of us the opportunity to consider timely, important questions at the heart of our democracy. This program is a model of the critical civic education students need,” Diane Douglas, Executive Director of Seattle CityClub stated.
The Ruth Anderson Public Debate represents an opportunity for students to engage with community leaders in a timely policy discussion — an opportunity that Eckstein believes is a rarity in local and national civics.
7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2017 at Xavier 201, Pacific Lutheran University
Admission is free, and the program also will be streamed live online via www.plu.edu/lutecast.
The debate will occur in three rounds. In the first round, each debater will give a seven-minute speech. The second round will be a 20-minute question-and-answer session. In the third round, each speaker will deliver a three-minute closing speech. The audience will vote at the beginning and the end of the program. Whichever side persuades the most people wins the debate.
About the T.O.H. Karl Forensics Forum
T.O.H. Karl Forensics Forum’s mission is to provide undergraduate students a democratic laboratory to craft and test arguments, explore new literature, hone critical reasoning, practice public speaking, and develop leadership skills. The T.O.H. Karl Forensics Forum balances competition with service to the local community through forensics mentoring programs and public debates.
The T.O.H. Karl Forensics team is housed in the Department of Communication and Theatre at Pacific Lutheran University, which offers approximately 3,500 students a unique blend of academically rigorous liberal arts and professional programs. Students develop skills in decision-making, analysis, communication and reasoning that prepare them for a lifetime of success – both in their careers and in service to others.