Saturday, July 16, 2005

Good-Bye to the Red Hawk students and faculty

The first-ever group of students and staff at the Miami Debate Institute Red Hawk program left Oxford this morning, by car, bus and plane. I've learned from the dorm staff that all students left without a problem (except for Gabe, who I heard is still hanging out at the Cincinnati airport with Mr. Beisch!).

The Red Hawk participants finished up their experience yesterday with tournament elimination rounds (pictures coming), a rousing closing ceremony where every member was introduced and applauded individually, and a movie shown at Bachelor Hall.

Of course after that they had hours of room cleaning to do before checkout!

We would also like to recognize their dedicated and talented teaching staff: Todd Lantz (Iowa), Ed Lee (Emory), Nikhil Mirchandani (Harvard), Nicole Serrano (Lexington), Sarah Spring (Miami) and Paul Strait (George Mason). Every student I've spoken with said they found their experience here extremely educational - due to the efforts of their teachers.

We congratulate both the students and faculty on a successful inaugural workshop and wish them the best of luck this year. We hope to hear from all of them regarding their accomplishments this season.

Steve Mancuso

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Dallas Perkins: Workshop in a workshop

Dallas Perkins, coach at Harvard University, made his second visit to the Miami Debate institute this week. He lectured to both the three week and five week labs about debate theory. The lectures were not only about basic counterplan theory or topicality, Dallas gave his own unique insight into a larger topic: what is debate. Discussing some of the latest trends in high school and college debate, Dallas lectured to the campers about viewing debate as both a game and a social movement. “Is this real?” he asked the campers, “or is it just a game?”

Dallas covered other topics, such as if the affirmative should have to have a plan, disad and topicality theory and how to structure an effective affirmative plan. Dallas’ lectures were part of the workshop in a workshop experience at the Miami Debate Institute. Roger Solt will conclude the workshop series later this month.

In other news...

The debaters have been busy with practice debates this week, preparing for the Redhawk tournament starting Thursday and ending Friday. In the basement, there have been some intense ping pong matches. Here are some of the highlights of the week

Redhawk Demo debate reposted


Oxford, OH, July 6, 2005


In the first demonstration debate of the 2005 of the Red Hawk Miami University Debate Institute for the MSS Lab, lab leaders Sarah Spring, Wake Forest University, and Paul Strait, George Mason University, defended the affirmative, and lab leaders Sarah Spring, Wake Forest University, and Nikhil Mirchandani, Harvard University, defended the negative. Following the debate, lab leader Paul Strait, George Mason University, filed this report:

In the second demonstration debate of the 2005 Red Hawk Miami University Debate Institute, lab leaders Todd Lantz, University of Iowa, and Mike Tyson, Dartmouth "we invented ping pong" College (also Lexington High School, home of Harsha the wide eyed), defended the affirmative, while Sarah Spring, Wake Forest University, and Nikhil Merchant-whatever, Harvard University, defended the negative. Following the debate, lab leader Paul Strait, George Mason University, filed this report:

"The anticipation for this debate was great, as much trash had been talked prior to the start. The debate began as soon as all the students were present. All, with the exception of Harsha.... He was sighted leaving a bathroom with an unidentified female camper, or maybe he was 'sleeping.'

The debate was a clash of civilizations between those who like to not be topical and those who like to win on topicality. The first affirmative constructive suggested that the USFG release or charge all of the residents of Guantanamo Bay. They supported this plan with several unfortunately named advantages, like 'Advantage Two: Will you be my BFFL?' The entire time Todd read the 1AC, Sarah and Nikhil muttered 'STFU' under their breath repeatedly. 'STFU' is an acronym that was invented by Dartmouth College.

The first negative suggested that perhaps Todd and Nicole should have reconsidered relying on legal solutions to their problems. Additionally, they questioned the plan's topicality, arguing that it was a reduction in the exercise of authority, rather than an actual reduction of authority. They also reasoned that it wouldn't hurt to consult NATO about whether or not to do the plan (i.e., cheating).

The second affirmative constructive was good, by all accounts, yet one couldn't help but get the feeling that Todd and Nicole were being outcarded 8 to 4. Frustrated by this, Nicole began shouting obscenities and throwing little white balls at people. Dartmouth College, of course, invented obscentities, and she needed to demonstrate that no one else knew how to use obscenties 'the right way.'

The 2NC extended T and the CLS kritik (sans impact), while the 1NR persisted in the claim that we should consult NATO. In response, the 1AR said a couple of things, but it really seemed like Todd was just playing a round. Indeed, it was as if he were distracted by something-- certainly, the kat had his tongue.

In the 2NR, Klinger's partner went for Topicality, using the analogy that lab leaders could allow the lab to leave a few hours early, but just because they did that, it did not mean that they no longer had the authority to keep the kids the full time. He also insisted that "judge, what you are going to see here in today's debate is that I am going to tell you that you have to give me leeway because the 1A is taller, lives in a mansion, goes to a big school, is going to the ADI later, and forgot to question his tan privilege. Vote aff.... I mean neg." Nicole then determined it would be a good idea to use 95% of her preparation time writing jokes about merchant-whatever, and as a result had no time to perfect her punch. To rally support for the 2AR, she ran around the room punching everyone, but no one was sure what was going on, and more than once a student questioned out loud if a butterfly or mosquito or something were flying around the room. Apparently, punching was not invented by Dartmouth.

The decision was a 2-1 for the negative. Paul Strait and the students (by a margine of 19-11) voted negative, while Ed Lee (who footnoted his decision by announcing that he had not flowed the last four speeches) voted affirmative. Somewhat relevent to the decision was nikhil's visible 3NR, where he wrote arguments out on the chalk board. Todd tried to interfere, but apparently dartmouth college invented the 3AR, and he wasn't doing it the 'right way,' and so nicole began mocking him until he sat down. Cursing his luck, Todd checked the debate odds calculater online and discovered that they had been a 70-30 favorite after the 1AC. Leaving the room, he was heard saying 'stupid bad beat.'"


JW Patterson

Monday, July 11, 2005

Will Repko: Workshop in a workshop

Will Repko, coach at Michigan State University and the 2004 National Champions, made a guest appearance at the Miami debate institute this week. For two days he worked with the students on a wide range of debate arguments.

The opening lecture was entitled “how to win”. Will explained to the campers what his most successful teams have done to prepare for major tournaments. He went over pre tournament prep, how to use time at a tournament wisely, and most importantly, how to win on Monday.

Will is also known as one of the best framework coaches in the country. His lecture broke down negative strategies into four different mini debates. Will covered how to go for T against critical affirmatives, how to debate deontology and utility, how to impact turn kritical affirmatives and how to successfully execute a framework debate against critical affirmatives.

After each lecture, the lab broke into four groups where each camper was given the change to give speeches. The faculty rotated for each group so the campers received feedback from Steve Mancuso, Sherry Hall, Chris Lundberg and Will Repko.

Will’s visit was part of a three part workshop in a workshop experience at the Miami debate institute. Dallas Perkins,coach at Harvard and Roger Solt,coach at Kentucky, will be lecture later in the institute.

Here are some pictures from Will’s two day lecture series at Miami.


Lundy vs Cagefighter

I think this speaks for itself.

"Yes, I conceed I'm an idiot..."

Today the three week lab leaders decided to take off the gloves and play a few rounds of bare knuckle boxing. Ok, maybe it was just a practice debate. The trash talking started early and went something like this:

Nicole: the 2ac is going to spread you out of the block, and the 1ar is going to spread you out of the 2nr

Nikhil: Yeah, too bad we're still going to win.

Nicole: Sure, Nikhil Merchant-whatever.

Todd Lance and Nicole Serano defended the Guantanamo bay affirmative while Sarah Spring and Nikhil Merchant-Whatever defended the negative. During the round there were references to the Mike Tyson 2ac and Nikhil being denied authority to go for T because he didn't have Klinger's permission. Nicole showed how to cross-x when getting Nikhil to admit, "Yes, I conceed I'm an idiot".

In the end, all the campers got to see a great debate between some of the best debaters out there. After the ballots were in, the negative team was victorious on an 18-12 decision. Here are some pictures of the debate.


Team Teal trying for extra style points. Apparently Alec has been coaching them to coordinate outfits

Ed Lee before the debate, (OK, can anyone guess what is on Aaron's computer with Phil's reaction??)

The audience waiting for the debate

Sarah giving the order of the 1NC

Todd before the 1AR

Nikhil telling the students why he was going for Topicalty. Something about clubs and baby seals.

Nikhil writing out the topical version of the plan after being called on it in the 2AR

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Happy Birthday Victoria!

On Saturday, the Mancuso-Cunningham lab celebrated a very happy birthday for Victoria. Everyone helped out for the birthday party. In attendance was a clown, Gabe the Referee, (red card...).... Here are some pictures from the party. Happy 17th Victoria!

Oxford Drills

Do you want to improve your speaking skills? If you want to be both faster and clearer at the camp tournament and at your first tournament of the year, take advantage of this opportunity.
Starting Monday July 11 (tomorrow) we will have camp wide speaking drills in the Reid Hall classroom each evening of the week. From 9-10 pm you can come and join the fun! As a bonus you will see some of your lab leaders (top college debaters next year) also trying to improve their skills.

Come and join us,


PS - This opportunity is voluntary for everyone in the camp (3, 4, and 5 weekers), but the individual who asked "what is Rehnquist?" is required to attend every day. :) - see you there!