Whitman Debate Case Published

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The Faculty


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John Ackley

John William Ackley, A.M. Assistant Professor of English, A.B., University of Redlands; A.M., University of Southern California, Instructor, and Director of Forensics


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Edith Blackman Merrell Davis, A.B. (Mrs.) Assistant Professor English, A.B. Ripon College; started in the English department in 1924 (she taught Latin as an instructor prior to that).

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W. R. Davis, DSR Faculty Advisor


Whitman News

I.                 Whitman College in 1938-1939

A.     W. A. Bratton was the college president.

B.     Bill Pugh was the student body president.

C.    Ten new faculty members were added, including Arthur Remple and Thomas Howells.

D.    John W. Ackley was the debate coach.

E.     Dick Eells was the debate manager.

F.     Ninety-nine seniors graduated at Whitman’s 80th commencement.

G.    The Sigma Chi house was built at a cost of $20, 000.


Varsity Debaters

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Whitmanites who have merited recognition •for their work in oratory, debate, or public speaking are rewarded by membership in Delta Sigma Rho, the national forensic honorary. To be eligible a student must have participated actively in inter-collegiate debate. A local debate society established the Whitman chapter of Delta Sigma Rho in 1922. The informal initiation of new members in ASWC meetings was discontinued this year. Delta Sigma Rho sponsored a high school forensic extemporaneous speaking contest here April 14 to which representatives from Washington, Oregon and Idaho participated.

The men's debate squad deserves much praise for a busy season marked not by individual achievements, but a generally high average. Highlight of the season was its capture of the triangulars in Pullman last fall against W.S.C. and Idaho. Debating on the question of the United States' stand on strict isolation, the squad took seven out of eight debates, thus making Whitman the first name to be inscribed on the new Frank Fielding Nalder trophy. Whitman's outstanding accomplishment for individual effort was Ed Adams' first in junior oratory at Stockton on Thanksgiving. Jack Edwards and Adams climbed to fourth in junior debate, and Lloyd Benedict and Merlin Young participated in a progressive discussion of the United States' attitude in the international crisis. At the Linfield tournament four teams placed in the semi-finals, and Benedict, Stafford and Waters placed in extempore and impromptu finals. At the annual Pacific Forensic League meet at Corvallis the only placement was made by Jack Edwards who received a fourth in after-dinner. Coach Ackley was manager of Linfield oratory and P.F.L, extempore divisions this season. Four active seniors, including Dick Eells, manager, are graduating, leaving heavy work to the rest of the squad which includes several underclass debaters expected to be future forensic champions.

The Women's varsity debate team won the annual triangular till with Pullman and the University of Idaho winning 7 out of 8 debates with Pullman second and the University of Idaho third. Betty Jean Dyksra and Faith Peringer went to the underclass-men's tournament at the University of Idaho and made a good showing. Betty Jean Dykskra and Ruth Van Patten journeyed to Linfield and did well although they brought home no trophies. Varsity women debaters are: Ruth Van Patten, Janette Moses, Renata Thomas, Florence Martin, Betty Jean Dykstra, Faith Peringer, Mildred Smith and Esther Hagberg.

Not only have the Ye Talke Shoppe members ushered at a football game and the freshmen plays, but they have sold Yeast and have kept a calendar of the meetings of the week on the main bulletin board. Both this and last year's Arrows were their dinner guests. At all the meetings speeches have been given by the members. Officers are Barbara Barnes, president: Cleo Gordon, vice-president and Marilyn Scott, secretary-treasurer.



Speech Courses within the English Department

ENGLISH 1 or 2. Orientation and Discussion, A writing and speaking course.

ENGLISH 15 or 16. Orientation and Discussion, A public speaking course with a diction emphasis.

ENGLISH 17 or 28. Interpretation of the Printed Page.

ENGLISH 46. Oral Interpretation.

ENGLISH 47. Argumentation and Debate.

ENGLISH 56. Public Speaking.

ENGLISH 57-58. Dramatic Interpretation

ENGLISH 75 or 76. Advanced Public Speaking.



Delta Sigma Rho, national honorary forensics fraternity, established a chapter at the College in 1922. Membership is earned in part by participation in at least two intercollegiate contests.

The John Brining Prizes in Extemporaneous Speaking of $20 and $10 are awarded at Commencement to winners in a speaking contest open to members of the freshman class.

The Delta Gamma Reading Prize of $25, $15, and $10 are awarded at Commencement to the students who read during the year with intelligence and appreciation the largest amount of good literature, apart from their required college work.

The Dovell-Gose Prizes in Oratory of $30 and $20 are awarded at Commencement to students upon the basis of a contest in oratory. The contest is open to sophomores, juniors, and seniors.


The John Brining Prizes in Freshman Extemporaneous Speaking

First: Elizabeth Clark Davis, Class of 1941

Second: Stanley Marion Jennings, Class of 1941


The Dovell-Gose Prize in Oratory

First: Ross Reid, Class of 1938

Second: Robert Otis Kenyon, Class of 1940


World News

·        William O. Douglas was appointed to the Supreme Court to replace Louis Brandeis.

·        The average salary for a 30-year-old male college graduate was $2, 383.

·        “Germany seizes Austria – ‘Anschluss.’”

·        “The Czech Crisis began in March 1938, when Hitler promised protection for German minorities living outside the Reich. Czechoslovakian Premier Hodza responded that Czechoslovakia would defend itself.”

·        “In a desperate attempt to avoid war, the leaders of Great Britain and France met with Hitler in Munich at the end of September. During the meeting, they acceded to Hitler's demands to cede the Sudetenland to Germany, as well as to most of his additional demands .”

·        “On June 7th, Douglas Aircraft unveiled their new plane– the DC-4.”

·        “The Fair Labor Standards Act was signed by President Roosevelt on June 25th.”

·        “In a one-night spree, Nazis burned synagogues, destroyed Jewish shops and killed Jews at random. The night became known as ‘Kristallnacht.’”

·        “On December 31st, Boeing Aircraft flight-tested its newest aircraft– ‘The Stratoliner.’”

·        “Douglas “Wrong-Way” Corrigan flies from New York to Dublin.”

·        “Orson Welles's radio broadcast [of] War of the Worlds caused a national stir that aliens had invaded earth.”


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Team News and Awards

I. Debate at Whitman

A.     Intramural debate

1.     Fifty-three members participated, including 13 returning students, among whom were senior intercollegiate debate team members Joe Wilson, Baker Ferguson, and Ruth Van Patten.

2.     Jim Hovey and John Meek beat the Phi Delt team for the men’s championship.

3.     The Alpha Chi team of Faith Paringer and Betty Jean Dykstra were undefeated in the women’s championship.

B.     Ye Talke Shoppe, a women’s public speaking group, and the intramural oratory program were also active on campus.

C.    The WCTU sponsored an oratory contest on the topic of the value of total abstinence from alcoholic drinks.

D.    Intercollegiate debate

1.     The men’s topic was “Resolved: That the government should cease spending public funds for the purpose of stimulating business.”

2.     The women’s topic, which became the men’s topic in 1940, was “Resolved: That the United States should follow a policy of isolation toward all nations engaged in internal and international conflicts.”

3.     The speech team was relatively small, with only about 18 members each with an average of two years’ experience.

4.     Tournaments

a.     Joe Wilson, Baker Ferguson, Merlin Young, and Lloyd Benedict attended the Western Association of Teachers of Speech tournament in Tacoma. The men competed in symposium and Oxford debate, and in extemporaneous, after dinner, impromptu, and oratory speaking.

b.     In the 102nd triangular debates, the women competed at Whitman where Janette Moses and Van Patten won four rounds and had their affirmative case published in Intercollegiate Debates. The women won 7 of 8 debates and swept the tournament. The men met in Pullman where the University of Idaho won, but Wilson and Ferguson defeated Washington State in a debate carried on the radio.

II. There were a variety of intramural speech activities:

A. Intramural debate attracted 53 new members in the fall, adding to the 5 males and 8 females who were returning. Among these were Joe Wilson, Baker Ferguson, and Ruth Van Patten who were all seniors, and they were also the only seniors on the intercollegiate debate team. An interesting note: In 1937, the intramural debate team of John Snoody and Ross Kit won 4 debates but on a “technicality,” the Beta team of Jim Hovey and Baker Ferguson received a rematch and beat the independents on a 3-2 decision and were declared the winners. In 1939, Hovey teamed up with John Meek and beat the Phi Delts for the championship. Faith Paringer and Betty Jean Dykstra for the Alpha Chi’s were undefeated.

B. There was also an active intramural oratory program, and the Ye Talke Shoppe, a women’s public speaking group.

C. The WCTU sponsored an oratory contest and the topic was the “Value of total abstinence from alcoholic drinks.”


III. Debate Topics

A. Men, Resolved: that the government should cease spending public funds for the purpose of stimulating business.

B. Women, Resolved that the United States should follow a policy of isolation toward all nations engaged in internal and international conflicts.

C. Interestingly, in 1940, the women’s topic became the national topic for men.


IV. Schedule:

A. Western Association of Teachers of Speech in Tacoma

B. Both the women’s and men’s Triangular debates. The women met at Whitman and the men were at Pullman.

C. Moscow Idaho in January

D. Linfield in February

E. Pomona California in April


V. The speech team was relatively small, with only about 18 members and an average of only 2 years experience. But there was considerable success. Joe Wilson, Baker Ferguson, Merlin Yound, and Lloyd Benedict attended the Tacoma tournament and competed in Symposium debate, Oxford debate, Extemporaneous speaking, After dinner, Impromptu, and Oratory.

A. Drake University sent a debate team on a 6, 000 mile trip, and in November, Joe Wilson and Baker Ferguson debated them on the negative side and won.

B. At the women’s triangular debates, Janette Moses and Ruth Van Patten won 4 debates and had their affirmative case published in a volume called Intercollegiate Debates. The women won 7 out of 8 debates and swept the tournament.

C. At the men’s triangular debates, U of I won but Joe and Baker defeated Washington State in a debate that was carried on the radio.

D. The most interesting tournament seems to be one at Pomona. The team sent a special delivery letter to the Pioneer newspaper, explaining all of the interesting things they say in Los Angeles, but neglected to report the results of the tournament.


VI. Interesting information:

A. In 1939, 102nd triangular debate.

B. In 1939, Whitman attended 6 tournaments in 4 states.