Whitman Forensics Newsletter

Vol. 15, No. 1, December, 2008

 

 

 

 

Chris, Mike, Paul, Joel, and Nigel show their Pacific hardware

 

 

Stuck in Sacramento

What is California doing to the team? Last year, it was the fires at Pepperdine. This year, the Parli debate team’s trip to the University of Pacific finished on a high note as the team advanced to elimination rounds in both debate and individual events. The return trip, however, left a lot to be desired. The team arrived early to the Sacramento airport after a late night trip to the campus of Stanford University only to find that their flight had been delayed because the plane was missing its “O-Ring.” After a few hours of waiting in the lobby and about thirty games of ‘twenty questions’ the team was informed that the delay would be permanent because although an “O-Ring” had been flown in, it was, unfortunately, not union-made and therefore unacceptable. As a result, the team was informed that it would have to fly from Sacramento to Seattle over Portland and finally return back to Portland, its final destination.

 

During the time that was spent waiting, however, the team managed to be stopped by security (twice), open an emergency exit causing an ear piercing siren, and we got a man to play a traditional Chinese wind instrument for our amusement. Long story short: the Parli team prefers safe flights even if they are very long; we just have fun along the way.

 

 

 

 

 

Winston Cup Announced

            Eric Chalfant and Mike Meredith became the first winners of the Winston Cup, a stunning crystal award for being the top policy debate team for the 2007-2008 year. The Cup is named in honor of James Albert and Bertha May Steers Winston, grandparents of David Allard, a Whitman debater who graduated in 1951. David, along with his wife Hildred, generously endowed the Winston Cup to inspire new generations of Whitman debaters.

            Jim emphasized the importance of this award. “The Winston Cup is a wonderful contribution to our program. David and Hildred have given our students renewed reason to excel and succeed. Thanks to them and to everyone for their support of our program—from donations, to judging, to calls and emails.”

            Jim noted: “I’m very proud of Eric and Mike. During the year, Eric struggled with a tumor in his eye including surgery. He and Mike valiantly persevered and finished the year ranked 27th in the nation and received honors in both of their majors. Today, both are continuing their work for the team,

 

Eric and Mike holding the beautiful Winston Cup.

 

serving as coaches and doing a fantastic job.”

            Nate Cohn and Daniel Straus were a close second after advancing to octas at CEDA Nationals and doubles at the NDT. Nate and Daniel are favorites for this year, having already made it to elims at 5 tournaments including Georgia State, Kentucky, and Wake Forest.     Cup Info at: http://www.whitman.edu/rhetoric/56-winston-cup.htm

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jason on a ship.

 

 

Jason Smith: Back to Liberia

            Jason Smith ’97 is returning to Liberia to conduct humanitarian operations like he did earlier this year. He wrote to Jim to say, “I am actually pretty excited about the mission, and it will be a nice change from Iraq or Afghanistan. It will be tough and sucks to be away from the family, but I feel I will actually have a direct impact.” Best wishes Jason.

 

 

 

 

The End of Paper Debate

 

            Debate using paper has ended at Whitman. With some programming help from Aaron Hardy and a willingness to try, we are now debating off laptops. The switch is saving trees, saving us printing costs, cutting back on rental vehicle costs and plane baggage fees, and is making getting to and from tournaments much less of a hassle. And, it is helping our students in their debating. Allison Humble said, “it is easier to put together speeches during the round.” Nate Cohn noted that it is “easier to move to rooms and setup with laptops versus tubs giving us more prep time.” Alex Zendah stated that paperless debating gives more time for research instead of mindless filing because you do the research and the filing all at the same time.”

            Our students and school aren’t the only ones impressed. We've taken many questions and requests for moving to paperless debating from other programs. To see how it works, go to: http://www.whitman.edu/rhetoric/tech/paperless.htm

 

 

 

 

   

Allison and Nate empty expandos; Ali recycles; Tom at a laptop.

 

The old paper files were taken to recycling.

 

 

 

 

 

  

Jim Hanson        Aaron Hardy

 

 

Mike Meredith    Eric Chalfant

 

     

Christine Simbolon Navdeep Aujla

 

Staff: Jim Hanson, Director of Forensics, Aaron Hardy, Policy Coach; Mike Meredith, Parliamentary and I.E. Coach; Eric Chalfant, Assistant Policy Coach; Christine Simbolon and Navdeep Aujla, Student Assistants; Bob Withycombe, Professor, Rhetoric and Film Studies; Lori Bettison-Varga, Dean of Faculty, Chuck Cleveland, Dean of Students; and George Bridges, President, Whitman College.

 

33 Competitors, Fall 2008: Adam McKibben, Alex Zendeh, Ali Edwards, Allison Humble, Blake Barnett, Brett Konen, Brian Cole, Carson Booth, Charlie Weems, Chris Fleming, Daniel Straus, Dave Mathews, Drake Skaggs, Galen Phillips, Geni Venable, Harry Hixon, Joel Wilson, John-Henry Heckendorn, Jon Riley, Kyle Moen, Lewis Silver, Michael Bell, Nate Cohn, Nick Griffin, Nigel Ramoz-Leslie, Paul Wyatt, Peter Quattere-Burcher, Sara Rasmussen, Sarah Golden, Spencer Janyk, Roman Goerss, Tim Wilder, Tom Friedenbach.

 

 

Harry and Sarah

 

 

Paul                       Joel

 

Anjali Makes Treats

Anjali Vats, who helped out the team during the past two years, cooked up some delicious treats for the team for Halloween including a great rendition of Jim.

 

Jim amid Election year, Washington state, and Space Needle cookies.

 

This year’s coaching staff

            Jim Hanson returns for his 17th year of coaching; Aaron Hardy is the Policy Coach for a fourth year; Mike Meredith ’08 is now the Parliamentary-Individual Events Coach; Christine Simbolon and Navdeep Aujla, remain as Jim’s assistants; and Eric Chalfant ‘08 is now the Policy Assistant. Nice group.

 

   

Alex, Ali, Brian

  

Blake, Adam, Dave

 

Indoor picnics

The prep rooms have been turned into an impromptu kitchen during the first semester! After discovering a stack of unused crockpots leftover from the WNDI, Aaron, Allison, and Ali decided to put them to good use. They set them up on the desks of 307, where they can be smelled livening up the atmosphere in Hunter, usually leading to dozens of “Is it done yet?” queries ringing through the halls.

Things started small, with the trio preparing a large pot of chile on Halloween. Everyone on the team agreed it was excellent, and pushed for further crockpot exploration. Since then, Allison and Ali have taken the lead, preparing enchiladas, minestrone soup, baked apples, hot cider, and even hot cocoa. All this home-cooked food was supplemented by the arrival of several very large boxes of cookies and other goodies from first-year Brian Cole’s mother, a much appreciated (and quickly consumed) generosity. The Whitman debate team is looking into starting a cookie jar in 307 to fund large-scale cookouts. Recipe suggestions are also highly encouraged.

 

Lewis, Nick, Allison, Tom.

 

Flag football

While the debate team spends most of its time indoors in front of a computer, time is occasionally made for more active pursuits. This fall, a number of team members played on an intramural flag football team under captain Lewis Silver. While Lewis was also busy coaching a girl’s flag football team, he made time to be a formidable force on the offensive line, as well as to teach team members Blake Barnett, Nate Cohn, and former Whitman debater Luke Sanford the ropes.

With the addition of sophomore Nick Griffin, the team had a lot of potential. Lewis even convinced Aaron to come play several games with the team. Alas, despite the assembled football expertise with competitive experience totaling at least one quarter of a football game during middle school recess, the team failed to make the intramural playoffs . . . or win more than one game when the other team forfeited. Maybe next year . . .

 

  

Jon and Nick                       Spencer pouting and Blake

 

Galen, Carson, Roman and Paul.

 

 

 

 

Tom

 

Aaron, Nate, Daniel

 

 

Megan and John with most of the team.

 

Megan and John Visit

Megan Salzman Medica and John Medica visited the team this fall. Megan and John have been very generous supporters of our squad. We talked politics, had a great dinner at the Withycombes, and the team got to ask questions such as what the team was like when Megan competed. A good time was had by all.

 

 

 

 

The 2008 WNDI

The 2008 Camp was another success. With over 120 participants, the camp brought in students from all over the United States. Students and coaches attending praised the individual attention provided and were especially pleased at the improvement and learning. The camp was held July 20 through August 8, 2008.

 

 

 

 

Geni, Tim, and Kyle joined the team after taking the 121 class.

 

Flash Games as Debate Practice?

        The internet is a constant force encouraging non-productivity in the debate preparation rooms. In the parliamentary debate room this year, that force took the form of ‘Pandemic 2’ – a rather morbid internet flash game in which the player attempts (in the form of a virus or bacteria) to infect the entire world. It is more difficult than you might think; it is hard to spread a virus to remote countries and pesky politicians always ‘close the borders’ or ‘invent cures.’ The desire to infect the world was so strong, however, that students spent many hours in the prep room perfecting viruses while promising that debate assignments would be completed ‘as soon as I infect Madagascar.’

        The one benefit that came of the ‘Pandemic 2’ phenom was an intense knowledge of just how difficult it is for a disease to cause human extinction. This argument came in surprisingly handy when debate teams claimed that the influenza virus would result in the end of civilization.

 

The Flash game the team is playing.

 

The Holiday Party

            Well, Jim forgot his camera at both the Policy and Parli-IE parties but the team was still served up some delicious beef, green beans, mashed potatoes, fettucini, salad, and desserts. Everyone got a stocking stuffed with Dollar store goodies including a candle, pens, candy, stuffed toy, and rubber ball. We also did the traditional gift exchange. Daniel complained about receiving dog food but didn’t even win the worst gift award. Nick Griffin’s cookie won that award.

 

 

Brie shows cash!             Ali and Eric. 

 

  

Allison and Dave.                 Nick and Brian—no more paper!

 

Team Nicknames

            Nigel Ramoz-Leslie has taken it upon himself to provide nicknames to a number of new additions to the team – many of them made up on the fly but still instilled with amazing staying power. For example, freshman Paul Wyatt has been tagged by Nigel with the moniker ‘pendant kid.’ While it was assumed that it was because Nigel once saw Paul wearing a pendant, a late night car trip finally brought out the truth- it is because he thought that Paul looked like the kind of kid that would wear a pendant.

            Other nicknames have sprung up organically. Perhaps the best come from the debaters themselves. Junior Galen Phillips was a little upset by a judge who commented that he was ‘a bit mumbly.’ Reclaiming the criticism, Galen self-applied the nickname ‘Mumbles’ and to get at his partner, frosh John Henry Heckendorn, he began calling him ‘Big Dog.’ The names have stuck and team Mumbles/ Big Dog has been succeeding admirably.

            On the Policy side, teams with nicknames include “Big Foot-Little Foot” for tall frosh Alex Zendah and short frosh Brian Cole and “Humblebee” as a play on Allison Humble’s last name. Additionally, frosh Jon Riley is called “Marx” for his “socialism” arguments and sophomore Nick Griffin is called “Baby Wipes” but his nickname’s origins shall not be stated in this Newsletter by decree of Jim.

 

 

Allison cleaning and enjoying the prep room.

 

Cleanliness is next to . . . productivity . . .

            The main policy prep room in Hunter has received a major facelift. While in years past, Hunter 307 has frequently degenerated into a cesspool of messy papers, old socks, and days old food, it is now a sparkling example of hygienic work-space. The arrival of first-year Allison Humble created a critical mass in favor of cleanliness, and she and Aaron made it a mission after the Kentucky tournament to set things right. Tables were moved, floors were vacuumed, walls were scrubbed clean, trash was thrown out, and the whole room was given the full treatment from top to bottom. It is now barely recognizable. To ensure things stay more or less clean, several changes have been made. The shelves have been converted to individual “cubbies” where people can store schoolwork and other items. Allison even purchased a hand-vacuum for the prep room. She can be seen several times a day vacuuming up crumbs Nate has thrown on the floor or chastising Eric for leaving sweatshirts scattered across the room. She’s even begun the long-term project of converting the other policy prep room to the new way of life–starting with cleaning their refrigerator, pro bono. Jim is very, very pleased.

 

 

 

 

    

Brian and Ali                              Lewis                        Sarah               Galen                  Blake

 

 

 

 

 

Contributions to the Team

We are grateful for your contributions to the forensic team! Generous donors May 20, 2008 through December 15, 2008 include: Rose Kuriappan Alappat, Janice Sandra Berman, James R. Carlson, Robert Travis de Grouchy III, Rebekah Johnson Foster, Lanora and David Hackett, Ryan James Hagemann, James B. Hanson, Daphne Teals and Drummond Kahn, Jared Phillips and Loan Lam, Jay McEntire, John R. Miller, Charles Edward Olney, Kristofer Noel Peterson, PG&E Corporation Foundation, Jason P. Smith, Abigail St. Lawrence, Eric Suni, Adam Clinton Symonds, and Robert M. Withycombe. If we missed you, please tell us because we do appreciate your support!

 

 

Send contributions to

The 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 one of the Debate Team Funds (Salzman-Medica, Withycombe, Walker, or just say “For Debate”).

 

 

 

 

 

     

Roman, Chris, Paul, John-Henry    Spencer, Lewis    Sarah, John-Henry, Paul          Jim

 

 

 

 

 

An unhealthy Election Obsession

While many people around the country followed the recent presidential election closely, junior Nate Cohn elevated election-mania to an art form. It’s fortunate that his debate assignment was cutting an elections disadvantage because it’s likely that he didn’t read an article on any other subject between September and election day. There wasn’t a moment of the day that Nate’s computer didn’t have an electoral map of some kind on the screen, whether a projection or historical results. He made a point of treating the entire prep room to online videos of every single campaign ad, political show, Obama speech, or Palin spoof. Things truly reached a head the week before election day, when Nate created a county-by-county election map projection for the entire United States. This level of attention to detail paid off, however, as Nate’s official projection was

 

 

Nate, Election mastermind

 

 

more accurate than almost every single political pundit, including Nate Silver, the much-lauded statistician responsible for fivethiryeight.com. The only state which Nate got wrong was Missouri – he can still be heard periodically grumbling under his breath about inaccurate tracking polls, underestimated rural turnout, and the reverse Bradley effect.

 

 

 

 

 

The Policy Team: 1st row Adam, Lewis, Allison, Blake; 2nd row Ali, Nick, 3rd row Dave, Brian, Tom, Alex, 4th row Daniel, Eric, Jon, Nate, Aaron (not pictured, Spencer).

 

 

Policy Awards

ADAM MCKIBBEN AND TOM FRIEDENBACH: Idaho State FIRST JV, WNPT SECOND JV.

ALEX ZENDEH AND BRIAN COLE: UNLV OCTAS, Idaho State OCTAS.

ALI EDWARDS AND DAVE MATHEWS: UNLV DOUBLES, Idaho State, OCTAS.

ALLISON HUMBLE AND LEWIS SILVER: Idaho State, OCTAS, WNPT Quarters.

BLAKE BARNETT AND SPENCER JANYK: UNLV, DOUBLES, Idaho State, QUARTERS, WNPT, SECOND (Spencer solo).

DANIEL STRAUS AND NATE COHN: Gonzaga, QUARTERS, Georgia State, SEMIS, Kentucy, OCTAS, Idaho State, SEMIS, Wake Forest, OCTAS.

JON RILEY AND NICK GRIFFIN: UNLV DOUBLES.

 

View our new Awards Page: http://www.whitman.edu/rhetoric/000sweeps.htm

 

 

 

 

 

The Parli Team: 1st row Paul, John-Henry, Sarah, Roman; 2nd row Harry, Carson; 3rd row Chris, Nigel, Joel; 4th row, Mike, Drake, Galen (not pictured, Tim, Geni)

 

 

Parli and IE Awards

ALI EDWARDS AND BRIE COYLE: PLU, OCTAS.

CARSON BOOTH, Lewis and Clark, Jr Extemp, FOURTH.

CARSON BOOTH AND SARAH GOLDEN: Lewis and Clark, SEMIS, JV.

CHARLIE WEEMS AND MICHAEL BELL: PLU, SEMIS Novice.

CHRIS FLEMING AND PAUL WYATT: PLU, OCTAS, UPS, OCTAS.

CHRIS FRYEFIELD: Lewis and Clark, Sr Extemp, SECOND.

DAVE MATHEWS AND CARSON BOOTH: PLU, OCTAS.

DRAKE SKAGGS AND ROMAN GOERSS: Lewis and Clark, QUARTERS JV, UPS, FIRST JV.

GALEN PHILLIPS AND JOHN-HENRY HECKENDORN: PLU, FIRST Novice, Lewis and Clark, FIRST Novice.

GENI VENABLE AND TIM WILDER, PLU, SECOND Novice, UPS, QUARTERS JV.

HARRY HIXON AND TOM FRIEDENBACH, Lewis and Clark, FIRST JV.

JOEL WILSON, Pacific, Sr Impromptu SEMIS.

JOEL WILSON AND NIGEL RAMOZ-LESLIE: Pacific, DOUBLES.

NIGEL RAMOZ-LESLIE, Lewis and Clark, Jr Impromptu, SECOND.

PAUL WYATT, Pacific, Sr Extemp, SEMIS.

PETER QUATTERE-BURCHER AND SARA RASMUSSEN: PLU, QUARTERS Novice.

 

View our new Awards Page: http://www.whitman.edu/rhetoric/000sweeps.htm

 

 

 

 

 

  

Harry and Carson                   Mike and Brie                         Geni, John Henry, Drake

 

 

   

Christine                               Nav                                    Allison                   Daniel

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks for Reading the Newsletter!