On Wednesday, February the 14, UTM’s Debate Team hosted its first CUSID (Canadian University Society for Intercollegiate Debate) style public speaking tournament. This tournament consisted of thirteen student participants; two student judges and a third judge, economics professor Gordon Anderson.
The tournament was divided into three rounds. In each round the speakers were given three minutes to impress the judges with their rhetoric on a random topic. The first round included all thirteen participants, four of which were eliminated at the end of the round. In the second round three more students were cut, leaving six competitors. The final round was a tough match between the top six speakers, and after six terrific speeches, the top three were announced.
Three points separated the first and third place competitors. Third place went to Hassain Bukannan, Alex Tkachuk took second place, and Philip Matsi was awarded first place.
The tournament used official CUSID rules for judging the competition. Competitors were judged in on their abilities in nineteen areas of speaking including flow, pace, coherency, grammar, emotion, humor/seriousness and originality.
One of the unique features of the CUSID style of public speaking is, how it encourages its participants to “squirrel”. Squirreling refers to the practice of twisting or changing the topic given into a topic the speaker is more knowledgeable about. This allows any topic to be changed into any other topic as long as there is a coherent link between the beginning and end of the speech. This made it possible for the official topics, which range from “What I would do if I won the lottery” to “Attention deficit disorder”, to morph into obscure themes and motif’s such as pets, unicorns and colonizing mars.
The UTM debate team is in its second year of existence. Though this isn’t the first Major event the club has hosted, being responsible for the last three “Great professor debates”, it is the first competitive event the debate team has hosted.
Over all, the event was a great success, and the growing club hopes to turn it into an annual event.