The university’s decision to build a debate chamber in Scharbauer Hall, the building to replace the old student center, is laudable.
Nowell Donovan, provost and vice chancellor for student affairs, said the main goal of the chamber is to help students improve their debate skills. In this way, the chamber will create strong leaders who will be able to think through their ideas – a goal of higher education. In addition, students will learn how to properly form an opinion about a topic and appropriately and accurately defend it to the best of their abilities. It’s preparation for the real world. This is another way for the members of the community to exercise their minds and challenge themselves to do something that they will be faced with everyday after graduation. One of the greatest things about this is that students will be in a safe learning environment.
The space will be used for all types of debate including forensic and deliberative debate, thus fostering new ideas and views. The chamber may also expose students to viewpoints different than their own as all types of debates will take place. These may include debates between students and professors, Greek organizations or a debate series, Donovan said. The place will give students an outlet to express their opinions openly. University officials hope the various debates will bring the student body together.
The debate chamber may also make another program available to students. Peggy Watson, director of the Honors Programs, said the program is looking to establish a program geared toward public speaking and public debate. In any form, the debate chambers will be a positive addition to the university and its mission to graduate well-rounded students.
Associate editor Michelle Nicoud for the editorial board.