Tuesday, March 8, 2016

The Rupp Debate Society Debates an Emotional Topic --Immigration Reform

Mike Chen and Nathan Graves
POCATELLO—The majority of audience members at a public debate about immigration reform on February 9 at Idaho State University rejected the motion that the United States should deport nearly all illegal immigrants, but the affirmative team arguing for the motion still won by shifting audience opinion in its direction.

Michael Mares, Ethan Likness, Mike Chen, Nathan Graves
Michael Mares and Ethan Likness
In a vote taken before the debate, zero percent of audience members supported the motion, 71 percent rejected it, and 29 percent were undecided. 
Audience Vote Prior to the Debate
Following the debate, 29 percent supported the motion, 69 percent rejected it, and zero percent were undecided.
Audience Vote After the Debate

The winner of the debate was decided by which team had most swayed audience opinion.
Voting Breakdown
"In a sense, both teams won. One team was supported by a majority of the audience while the other team changed more minds,” said Sarah Partlow Lefevre, ISU Director of Debate.
Erik Ekstrom, a new ISU debater, was in the audience.  He said, "This was one of the first debate events that I experienced at ISU, and it was good enough to make me want to debate more"  

The affirmative team, arguing in favor of the motion, included Senior Michael Mares and Freshman Ethan Likness, both of Pocatello. The negative team, arguing against the motion, included Junior Mike Chen, of Casper, Wyo., and Senior Nate Graves, of Arco.

Nathan Graves
Nate Graves said, "For me. the success of the public debate could be mesaured in how the audience reacted. Not so much in the way they voted for the winners and the losers, but, in their response to the topic. It was a controversial topic, one where discussion is desperately needed in public discourse.  The fact that there were more questions directed at the debaters than time alotted for answering questions is a clear indicator that the topic was appropriate and is one that people care about. The overall objective of debate as a practice is to open up the communication channels on sensitive or controversial topics that might not otherwise be discussed in a public forum. This is what we accomplished with our public debate on immigration reform in the US." 

The debate was sponsored by The James M. and Sharon E. Rupp Debate Society, an ASISU organization sponsored by K-ISU Radio. For more information about the debate program at ISU, contact Partlow Lefevre at partsara@isu.edu, or Assistant Coach Casey Santee at santcase@isu.edu.

Michaal Mares

Ethan Likness and Michael Mares

Mike Chen