The UTM Debating Club held its first debate tournament at UTM on March 15 and 16.
Students from UTM, St. George, and Ryerson participated in the event, which was hosted in collaboration with UTMSU.
The tournament consisted of five rounds in the traditional British Parliamentary style of debate, as well as a public speaking competition. The topics included legalizing drugs, granting government access to text messages and social media accounts, banning religious schools, and mandating vegetarianism.
UTM student Salma Chaudhry, a legal studies specialist, won the public speaking competition, the topic of which was “The Deadliest Thing on the Planet”.
“What an incredible, life-changing experience,” Chaudhry said. “The experience I gained is impeccable [sic]. I was so proud of everybody because everyone did a good job. I made a lot of new friends and connections.”
Chaudhry also finished third in the debate tournament, along with partner Shabnam Malekzai.
“We learned each other’s flaws and tried to perfect them. We grew together as a team,” said Chaudhry. “I had no idea what debating was before I walked in. From round one to round five, every single team improved.”
The first-place and second-place winners of the debating tournament were Victor Ouyang and Michael Chen from St. George.
After the tournament, Tuneer Mukherjee, this year’s president of the Debating Club, expressed his excitement for the club’s future. “Debate is part of everyday life,” he said. “We debate everything under the sun—including the sun.”
Talha Mahmood, the club’s vice-president of finance, added that holding the event was a huge achievement for her and her team.
The Debating Club has participated in tournaments at Harvard and Oxford University, and has been invited to other tournaments across North America and the world.
The tournament was funded by the Ian Orchard Student Initiatives Fund.