Debating with dignity

Students gather to discuss controversial topics

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If one expected stories of strife and anger amid conflict, they were not to be found at the Lane Community College third annual speak out on Feb. 2. The morning was spent with organized discussion addressing polarization in America; everyone spoke in turn, while discussing their beliefs on various subjects, such as cultural conditioning, toxic language and the need for limited campaign funding. Daniel Lee Henry, communication instructor and debate coach, said “he wanted an activity on campus to bring people together to strengthen their communication skills; by forming debates, using both schools of communication to aid students the ability to speak their minds more effectively.”

The morning session focused on the Kettering Institute’s Deliberative Dialogue technique led by longtime LCC Communication instructor Karen Krumrey, PhD, along with Daniel Lee Henry and Laura Pelletier. As explained by Henry, “It’s a non-threatening process in which each person gets to state their opinion without fear of judgement. The idea behind deliberative dialogue is to give everyone a chance to be heard.” As with the debates, both sides calmly and respectfully discussed opposing opinions without conflict.

After a catered lunch, participants were invited to enter a two-person flash debate on topics related to media ethics. Given many phenomenal arguments, there were no losers, with all teams scoring points. The final deciding debate, over whether or not Facebook is a legitimate news source, was strongly defended with a convincing argument heard from Bryant Everett and Nick Keogh; however, Chavon Wright and Dan Good went on to win first place with their outstanding facts for why it is not a legitimate news source. Each of the four finalists received a $25 gift certificate to Market of Choice.

Daniel Henry has formed a debate team that meets at 2 p.m. in the Center Building, Room 437 on Wednesdays and Room 432 on Thursdays. There is an upcoming debate at the University of Oregon on Feb. 23 and 24. For more information, interested parties can contact Daniel Henry at henryd@lanecc.edu.