Whitman Forensics Newsletter

Vol. 8, No. 1, December, 2001



Champions of the Northwest

     In his first year, Charles Olney did the unimaginable.  He was granted a first-round bid to the NDT.  If that was not amazing enough it looks like he and his partner Thad Blank may do it again this, their junior year.  Their secret is simple: lots and lots of hard work.  Together Thad and Charles have cut over 2,000 pages of evidence this year.  The hard work paid off as they won all of the Northwest Forensics Conference designated tournaments as well as the Gonzaga Warmup in September.  They have also performed well nationally beating such highly ranked teams as Berkeley and Dartmouth.  While Charles and Thad have always been celebrities on the Whitman team, they are now gaining celebrity status nationwide. Coach Jim does not want to jinx their chances at a first round bid but is secretly confident about their chances.  Charles and Thad however do not stand alone as the only team to win all of the Northwest Forensics Conference tournaments this semester.  Sophomores Samantha Howell and Dani Boucher won the first place trophy in Junior Parliamentary debate two times in a row.  While many believe Samantha and Dani are ready for senior division, they are happy continuing their junior-division winning streak.  Jim, of course, is fine with that as well.

Charles and Thad review arguments that won them three fall Northwest tournaments in a row. The duo have amassed a 39-6 record against stiff competition in the Northwest and nation.


Debate and the war on terrorism

            On September 11th students gathered in Hunter 107 to watch television news of the terrorist attacks and the United States response.  At first all of us asked how this horrific act could have happened in modern times.  Some students did not know how to go on with school asking themselves even broader questions of purpose.  Students involved in debate both at Whitman and nationally wrote in to debate related listserves with information and questions about the war.  Members of the national debate community had varying responses from wanting to change the national CEDA/NDT topic to terrorism for some tournaments to asserting that questions about the war be debated outside official rounds.  Many members of our team voluntarily organized speeches, debates, and forums on the war against terrorism both inside and outside an official forensics context.  Here are a few examples of our team’s efforts to educate, inform, and engage in dialogue about the war:

  • Gabe McGuire and Natalie Havlina upheld the topic “The United States response to the September 11th attack was appropriate” in the final round of the Great Alaska Speakout.  They argued that Bush’s multilateral agenda is appropriate since terrorism is a problem that extends beyond borders.
  • Emily Cordo, Beth Scheuler and alumna Jessica Clark organized a discussion at the Wake Forest debate tournament on the feminist response to the war on terrorism.
  • Bridget Kustin delivered an interpretation on retributive justice juxtaposing letters to the editor from around the nation with poetry from those who were in Hiroshima when the bomb was dropped.
  • Samantha Howell joined other students and Professor Timothy Kaufman-Osborn in leading a campus-wide forum on the Anti-Terrorism Bill passed by Congress.  Samantha discussed how the bill affected our civil liberties.
  • Chandra Carlisle, Bridget Kustin Todd Borden, and Gabe McGuire, spoke in a public debate at Whitman on the resolution, “The United States should give peace a chance.”
  • Scott Daniel debated Dr. Jim Hanson on the question of morality and war in front of the parliamentary debate team.
  • Carrie Hostleter worked with Julie Caton to arrange an interpretation on war.
  • Thad Blank kept the Whitman community informed by posting articles about the war on the forensics and club listserves that he found while researching for debate.
  • Dani Boucher and Samantha Howell won their final round debate at the Lewis and Clark tournament by arguing that the United States Congress should pass the Kennedy-Fiss Bill to increase research against bio-terrorism.


Debate and Leadership

            There is a long history of debaters in elected student government positions.  In just the past five years, debaters have been ASWC secretary, vice-president twice, president once, and twice the Chairperson of ASWC Congress.  This year is no different.  Keeping the tradition alive, first-year student Scott “Scooter” Thompson has won the election for ASWC secretary.  He promises to remain humble as he continues the debate-politics connection.



Emily Cordo and Beth prepare before a round at the Northwest Scrimmage where they went 6-0 in prelims.


David Guidry, Brian Simmonds, and Joey Bennett talk before their debate.


John Poor and Chris McCool discuss their strategy with coach Jim Hanson.





Jim, Keola, and Brian were a panel of judges in the quarterfinals at Gonzaga.



Emily Cordo listens to Brian Simmonds discuss strategies for her next debate.


Newlywed Julie Caton (formerly Miller) continues her work as Intramural debate coordinator and team student assistant.


Jim: “I am very pleased with the new students on our team this year. They are exceptionally talented and they are a lot of fun. They are a great addition to our team.”


Staff: Jim Hanson, Director of Forensics, Brian Simmonds, Assistant Policy Coach; Keola Whittaker, Assistant Parliamentary and I.E. Coach; Julie Caton (Miller), Student Assistant and Intramural Debate Manager; Bob Withycombe, Chair, Rhetoric and Film Studies; and Thomas Cronin, President, Whitman College.

36 Competitors, Fall 2001: Andy Monahan, Beth Schueler, Bridget Kustin, Brian Ward, Carrie Hostetler, Chandra Carlisle, Charles Olney, Chris Gorman, Chris McCool, Chris McManus, Dani Boucher, Darrell Miller, David Guidry, Emily Cordo, Emily Marr, Gabe McGuire, Jackie Baxter, Jackie Jenkins, Joey Bennett, John Poor, Katie Imbeau, Lauren Ritter, Mario Cava, Michael Winnike, Natalie Havlina, Nicholas Thomas, Nick Zifcak, Nicole Reynaud, Sam Spiegel, Samantha Howell, Sean Beaver, Scott Daniel, Scott Thompson, Thad Blank, Todd Borden, Zahava Wilstein.



The new assistant coaches don’t look so new!

     Known at times by his nickname “Grumpty McDumpty,” Brian Simmonds is doing an excellent job in his first year as the policy debate coach.  Brian, who hails from Portland, Oregon, spends most of his time strategizing new and creative ways to run tournaments, organize assignments, and of course, win rounds.  This year he has helped many fresh new faces on the team.  Brian took extra time to teach them about college debate in the Northwest something he should know about since he just finished three years of policy debating for the Whitman squad.

     The new parliamentary debate coach, Keola Whittaker, created a splash at the first tournament when he flowed every round on the team’s new laptop computer.  At every tournament since he gets asked at least once, “Why aren’t you flowing on your computer?”  Keola has created a stir on campus as well as he has started public debates at Whitman with the help of the team’s parliamentary debaters.  Now people at Whitman get exposure to the fun world of debate but some insist public debates are just an excuse for Keola to show off his new wardrobe despite his claims to the contrary. Keola just graduated himself, having competed four years for the team.


Is this year’s team the “best ever?”

      The faculty, staff, and students of Whitman College often hear about the team’s successes.  However this year, the college displayed their pride in the debate team over the college website.  The question posed by the article was: “Is this our best year ever?”  The article made arguments that it is. Jim noted the breadth of talent on the team but also pointed to the long tradition of excellence on the squad. “Saying this is one of our best--no problem. But, doing the history pages has convinced me more than ever that Whitman has had many ‘best-ever’ squads.”


Hey, what’s that bus doing there?

            With over 35 students and staff attending the Lewis and Clark tournament, Jim decided we would give a chartered bus a try.  With help from the college, the team was able to rent a comfortable bus to attend the first Northwest Forensics Conference.  Dr. Jim Hanson was happy that the team could all travel together but was even happier that he did not have to drive a van back after a long weekend of coaching.  As Dr. Hanson commented after the tournament, “Having a paid driver made the long trek back to Walla Walla a much easier ride.”  The bus driver did not seem too pained by the experience either despite having to deal with over thirty-five excited debaters who proved victorious and exhausted at the end of the tournament. Most of the team was asleep an hour into the drive home.


Another joyous holiday party

     “I want that piggy!” screamed Darrell Miller as he realized that Keola was taking home the prized electronic toy pig, a gift in the exchange game the team plays each year.  There were many other screams of joy and defeat at this year's holiday party.  Jim Hanson was stuck with "goo" before snatching up a comfy pillow.  Charles Olney went home with a Tickle-Me-Elmo and Scott Thompson cannot wait to show Jewett residents his new Exorcist poster.  Not surprisingly, Brian Ward took home the most scandalous gift, the contents of which remains a closely guarded secret.

     People come to the holiday party not just to take home gifts but also to enjoy each other's company and sample some treats.  As recent alumni know, Jim takes pride in feeding the people and this year was no different.  Among the fine treats were Jim's famous guacamole, steak, and shrimp.  Keola also cooked up some wassail and delicious curried pumpkin soup.  This year's party also served as a way to say goodbye to team friend Tyler Ross who graduates this semester.





Gabe, Katie, Darrell and Nick relax at Emily Cordo’s during the Lewis and Clark tournament.


Beth and Sam smile even though Sam can’t tie a tie.


Emily Marr carefully reviews her briefs.

Gabe wins a knife

Senior Gabriel McGuire was seen carrying around an ulu knife at his first tournament of the semester much to the shock of Dr. Hanson.  The sometimes outrageous McGuire who hails from Haines, Alaska is known for his acts of provocation.   It is no surprise then that he would show off his ulu knife, a rounded knife used by native Alaskans to cut salmon and just about everything.  However this knife was not something McGuire simply picked up in his backyard but instead is one of many awards he garnered this semester.  At his first tournament of the year he and his partner, Natalie Havlina, took first place at the selective Great Alaskan Speakout over highly ranked teams such as Carroll College and the United States Air Force Academy.  McGuire received his engraved ulu knife for being the fifth place speaker at the tournament.  “This is one of my favorite speaker awards ever,” proclaimed McGuire who was sure to take his coach’s advice to pack the knife safely in his checked-on luggage on his return to Walla Walla.  McGuire’s success continued at the very well attended Lewis and Clark tournament where he and his partner, Todd Borden, took second place above more than fifty teams.  At their most recent tournament in sunny Southern California, McGuire and Borden received an octa-finalist award.  While the ulu knife was one of McGuire’s favorites, he has not finished his pursuit for more awards.


The public is welcome at our debates!

            The parliamentary debate team started a new tradition this year that has the campus cheering: public debates.  Thus far the team has held three debates on a wide variety of topics from the war on terrorism to abandoning the grading system.  At all of the debates crowds of over twenty students from around campus laughed and cheered the debaters and many were impressed by their polished speaking ability.  One memorable moment in the second public debate came when Nicholas Thomas accused Sam Spiegel of coming to Whitman “just to meet girls.”  Sam had no retort but instead merely smiled as his face turned red.  The audience forgave him and in a slim victory Sam Spegiel and partner Darrell Miller beat Nicholas Thomas and partner Chris Gorman in a 7-5 vote.  After the debates many students asked for more information about the team.  The parliamentary team expects to continue this tradition next semester with debates on both local and international topics to entertain their friends and recruit more debaters!


Intramural debate

     The intramural debates were alive with over 30 debaters participating. The topic asked whether the United States should continue its war in Afghanistan. Students held strong opinions on both sides of the topic. Brett Pahler, Matt Singer, and David Grinder won awards in the experienced division while Beth Pearson, Ethan Place, Michael Won, Charlie Gardner, and Emily Stoll all went undefeated in the inexperienced division. Winners won cash prizes while all competitors received refreshments, t-shirts, and certificates.


Scooter and the Beav: Roommates, debate partners, and friends

      Scott Thompson and Sean Beaver share a lot in common. They both debated in high school in the Northwest. They both turned down offers from schools such as Dartmouth and Colorado College to join the Whitman College Forensics Team.  “We did not plan to go to the same college but I was glad that we both ended up at Whitman,” Beaver said. Finally, they both have Jim as their first year advisor and they have debated together this semester.

      Although they spend many hours working in Hunter Conservatory and living together in Jewett Hall, their friendship has not faltered.  Thompson and Beaver are affectionately known as “Scooter and the Beav” on the team.  As the only team on the Whitman CEDA debate squad made up of two first-year students, their record is exemplary.  At the first tournament of the year, Scooter and the Beav finished 3-3 in senior level competition.  At the next tournament, they went undefeated and took first place in junior division at the Lewis and Clark tournament, an impressive accomplishment for Whitman’s youngest team.  The whole gang is proud of Scooter and Beav!

Scooter and the Beav chill in one of the team’s “prep” rooms.





Withycombe and Walker Fund Contributions

We are grateful for your contributions to the forensic team! Generous donors May 21, 2001 through December 11, 2001 include: Helen Barron-Liebel in memory of Dan Henderson, Jennifer Becker and Andy Backlund, Dave Norelius, Janice Berman, Jessica Clarke, Jim Hanson, Bob Withycombe, Kelly and Mathew Cleman, Keola Whittaker, Brian Danielson, David Kearney, Abby St. Lawrence, and Steve Rowe. If we missed you, please tell us because we do appreciate your support!

Send contributions to the Walker Fund or the Withycombe Fund to:

            Annual Fund Office

            Whitman College

            Walla Walla WA 99362

Checks should be made out to Whitman College with a note that says to place the contribution into the Walker or Withycombe Fund.


1942-1943 Linfield tournament participants Harley, Webster, Callen, Martin, Ackley, Bond, Campbell, Farmer, Downey, Seebart, Brooke, Garrett. This and other pictures are featured on the team’s history web pages.

Check the History Pages: Are they Correct?

Check your years at The Team’s History Pages

E-mail additions and changes to Jim at hansonjb@whitman.edu


“WNDI” success continues!

“For the first time since Ernest Goes to Camp, a summer institute has managed to both be educational and unbridled wacky fun,” said Brian Ward describing the second annual Whitman National Debate Institute.  This summer, students came from around the nation from as far away as Vermont and Arizona.  The camp is known for producing a large amount of evidence in a short amount of time.  The camp was not all work, however.  The campers had so much fun that Brian Ward, Keola Whittaker, and Natalie Woodward ended up with red and blue hair by the end of camp!  Even the grouchiest member of the Whitman debate team, Nicholas Thomas, had a good time teaching LD debate to high school students.   As he so boldly says, “I couldn't have done any better were I doing it alone…maybe.”  The camp is not only important for improving debate skills and having fun.  It also gives some of the nation’s brightest high school students an early look at Whitman College.  Brian Simmonds puts it best saying, “WNDI is a great way for Whitman to support high school debate, and for high school debaters to become acquainted with the College.”


Charles researches at our debate camp. The camp brought in 50 students & coaches!

Policy Awards

Brian Ward and Mike Winnike, NW Scrimmage, 9th; Lewis and Clark, 3rd, U. Oregon, 1st

Charles Olney and Thad Blank, NW Scrimmage 1st, U. Kentucky, 5th, Lewis and Clark 1st, U. Oregon 1st, Wake Forest, 5th

Beth Schueler and Emily Cordo, NW Scrimmage 5th, Lewis and Clark 5th, U. Oregon 1st

Emily Marr and Scott Daniel, U. Oregon 1st

David Guidry and Joey Bennett, NW Scrimmage 9th, Lewis and Clark 9th, U. Oregon 1st

Sean Beaver and Scott Thompson, Lewis and Clark 1st

Chris McCool and John Poor, U. Oregon 5th

Parli Awards

Gabe McGuire and Natalie Havlina, Alaska Speakout, 1st

Gabe McGuire and Todd Borden, Lewis and Clark 2nd, CSU-Northridge, 9th

Chris Gorman and Mario Cava, U. Oregon 5th

Chandra Carlisle and Nicholas Thomas, U. Oregon 9th

Bridget Kustin and Natalie Havlina, Lewis and Clark 9th

Darrell Miller and Sam Spiegel, Lewis and Clark 5th, U. Oregon 9th, CSU-Northridge, 9thh

Dani Boucher and Samantha Howell, Lewis and Clark 1st, U. Oregon 1st

Individual Events Awards

Andy Monahan Nov. Impromptu, 4th, Lewis and Clark

Bridget Kustin Jr. Impromptu, 4th and Sr. Informative, 1st, Lewis and Clark; Sr. Informative, 4th, U. Oregon; Sr. Impromptu, Semis, CSU-Northridge

Charles Olney Nov. Impromptu, 4th, U. Oregon

Chris Gorman Jr. Extemp, 6th and Jr. Impromptu 2nd, U. Oregon

Dani Boucher Jr. Dramatic, 3rd, U. Oregon

Darrell Miller Sr. ADS, 2nd, and Jr. Prose, 4th, Lewis and Clark; Sr. ADS, 1st, Jr. Dramatic, 1st, Jr. Prose, 2nd, U. Oregon; Sr. ADS, 4th, CSU-Northridge

Gabe McGuire Sr. Impromptu, 5th, Lewis and Clark

Katie Imbeau Sr. Dramatic, 3rd and Sr. Duo with Sam Spiegel, 2nd, Lewis and Clark

Mario Cava Sr. ADS, 6th, Lewis and Clark; Sr. ADS, 4th, Jr. Impromptu, 5th, Jr. Poetry, 2nd; U. Oregon

Michael Winnike Nov. Impromptu, 1st, U. Oregon

Natalie Havlina Jr. Extemp, 3rd, Lewis and Clark

Nicholas Thomas Sr. Extemp, 6th, Lewis and Clark; Sr. Extemp, 1st, Sr. Forensic Criticism, 5th, U. Oregon; Sr. Extemp, 3rd, Sr. Impromptu, Semis, and Sr. CA, 2nd, CSU-Northridge

Sam Spiegel Sr. CA, 3rd and Sr. Duo with Katie Imbeau, 2nd, Lewis and Clark; Sr. CA, 1st, U. Oregon; Sr. CA, 1st, CSU-Northridge

Sean Beaver Nov. Impromptu, 3rd, U. Oregon

Todd Borden Jr. Impromptu, 2nd, U. Oregon

Zahava Wilstein Sr. ADS, 2nd, U. Oregon