MACON – Mercer’s debate team made its first-ever trip to the annual Yale Inter-Varsity Parliamentary Debate Tournament in New Haven, Connecticut, Oct. 26-28 and came away with a win over Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s top team.
Mercer was one of 46 institutions, including Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard, Stanford, Princeton, Cornell, Columbia and Brown, to compete in the 11th edition of the debate tournament, which was conducted in British Parliamentary (BP) style.
Mercer was represented by four teams composed of senior Cassie Malcolm, senior Garrett Williams, junior Taylor Cole, junior Eduardo Rubio, sophomore Yasmeen Hill, sophomore Cameron Dawkins, sophomore Ashley Pettway and freshman Shreeya Singh.
The Bears defeated debaters from the likes of Bates, Vassar, the University of Vermont, Middlebury, Fordham, Amherst and Swarthmore, but the biggest victory of the tournament was earned by Pettway and Singh, who defeated MIT’s top team.
“While Mercer did not win this tournament, the schools we competed against and, at times, defeated speak to the intellectual accomplishments of our students,” said Dr. Vasile Stanescu, director of debate. “This experience also speaks to the quality of our faculty in successfully training our undergraduates to not only outspeak but outthink other top undergraduates in the nation.”
Dr. Stanescu said the team is exceedingly grateful for the faculty and administrators who have personally supported each of its members.
“Mercer only wins because the entire Mercer family supports us. The simple truth is that Mercer not only can compete against the very best, we can beat them,” he said.
Based on the response from the public debate Mercer hosted against the Rwandan national team on Oct. 19, which was attended by more than 300 people, Dr. Stanescu said his team is in the early stages of planning a similar event next year to include one or more of the top U.S. universities on the national debate circuit.