Whitman Forensics Newsletter

Vol. 19, No. 2, December, 2012



Click the Stories that interest you

New policy team members mistake Hunter for their dormitories. 2

Whitman has big IE success. 3

Winston Cup Trophy. 3

Settlers of Catan. 5

Vegetarians, Vegans, and Speaker Points Oh My! 6

Marten King Draws Significant Attention. 6

Success in the Midwest 7

Team has a bad dining experience. 8

2012-13 Coaching Staff 8

2012-13 Student Assistants and Helpers. 9

Fall 2012 Participants (43 students) 11

Whitman Administrators and Program Colleagues. 11

Fall 2012 IM Tournament 12

New Rhetoric Studies Professor 12

Team Pets. 13

Parli Team: Headed to a 4th National Championship in a row?. 14

The Winter Party. 16

Contributions to the Team.. 17

The Policy Team.. 19

2012-13 Policy Awards. 20

The Parli-IE Team.. 21

2012-13 Parli and IE Awards. 21

Thanks for Reading the Newsletter! 24





New policy team members mistake Hunter for their dormitories

Emerging only to seek occasional sustenance at Reid cafeteria, first-year policy team members Emma Thompson, Meritt Salathe and Andrew Durand have likely spent more time researching in Hunter than in their respective residence hall rooms.

Constituting half of the policy squad, this year’s new team members have proven their research skills and dedication to the team.  Any given weeknight, all three are typically hard at work developing their own skills – from speed drills in the third floor closet-kitchen to finalizing research before a tournament. 

Emma, Meritt and Andrew have also spent four weekends at debate tournaments while managing full academic course loads.  They have competed successfully at Gonzaga, Idaho State, Emporia and our own November tournament, the WNPT.

Our younger policy debaters have had several impressive appearances in elimination rounds this season already, but perhaps most impressive is their shared work ethic.  Along with sophomore Jonathan Barsky, the first-year debaters have consistently supported Juniors Ben Menzies and Sean Mulloy during elimination rounds, cutting essential last-minute evidence to give Whitman the edge against much larger squads.  These three are truly a testament to the adage, ‘quality over quantity.’

Even though winter break has just begun, a brief respite from the demands of academia, the three policy teams are preparing for the Cal Swing, which starts at the beginning of January. Keep up the good work!



Whitman has big IE success

Whitman’s Individual Events program started the year off in strong form. At the season opener, The Northwest Parli-IE Warmup held at Bellevue College, Whitman took first place in Impromptu, Extemp, and Platform speaking (an event combining persuasion, informative, and after dinner speaking). Extemp speeches were given on many important contemporary topics, including whether or not military intervention is necessary in Syria as well as the effects of new technological developments in operating systems. Platform speeches were conducted on numerous topics including Chinese missile development, Donald Trump for President, Aaron Burr’s treachery, and a humorous take on the role of North Korea’s great leader in the ‘ascendancy’ of his country.

The success continued at Lewis and Clark where Whitman speakers shined. First-years Margaret Rockey and Kyle Hendrix managed to win their respective divisions of Extemp speaking presenting speeches on the contentious 2012 presidential election. Zac Parker, a sophomore, also managed to win his division of Impromptu speaking by philosophizing on questions about the human condition. Many other Whitman students have vowed to continue the Whitman tradition of Individual Events in the spring, promising victory across divisions at the Western and Whitman tournaments where IEs will be offered.



Winston Cup Trophy


Ben Menzies and Sean Mulloy, headed to the Winston Cup!

Ben Menzies and Sean Mulloy, both juniors, have compiled a solid record this fall. They were in octas at Gonzaga, semi-finals at Idaho State, and finals at the Emporia state tournament. They are headed to the Cal Swing (USC and Fullerton) in early January as they head onward toward CEDA Nationals and hopefully the NDT.

Ben Menzies wrote this:

Seeing my mentors Alex Zendeh and Allison Humble recognized for their hard work through the Winston Cup inspired me to succeed them. It's more than just another piece of hardware: it's a public testament to the tremendous amount of hard work necessary to succeed in policy debate and the way that labor always bears fruit. During some long nights working in Hunter, it's awfully easy to feel like your work is hidden from the world. It's nice to be able to look at the Winston Cup when you enter and leave Hunter every day and say to yourself "I earned that."

We are deeply appreciative of David and Hildred Allard for their support of the program and the vision of the Winston Cup.


You can view more about the Winston Cup at: The Winston Cup Page



Settlers of Catan

Games have always been a means for debaters to take a break from their rigorous academic studies. There have been numerous crazes across different generations of Whitman debate, including Pet Dragons, Online Scrabble, Risk, Pinochle, and Magic the Gathering. One particular game, Settlers of Catan, seems to have taken a stranglehold over team get-togethers. The game features three File:Settlers of Catan mid-game.jpgto four players who engage in development, expansion, and trade over resources on a gameboard. The closest analogy is to the game Monopoly, though this game takes less time to complete and is not stalled by people who refuse to trade New York Avenue or Marvin Gardens.

The game has successfully integrated several years of students, from first-years Duy Tran and Emma Thompson, to seniors Carly Johnson and Mitch Dunn. Debaters like the competitive nature of the game especially its focus on strategy and long-term planning.

Some individuals, like Carly and Mitch, have gotten so into the game that they have begun playing online against virtual opponents. “One time I had three games of Catan going at once,” says Mitch. “One on my phone, one on my Ipad, and the one I was playing with other real people.” Mitch claims his playing is not harming his school work however he has not posted his grades in any public area.

Picture: Arbitrarily0, http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Settlers_of_Catan_mid-game.jpg



Vegetarians, Vegans, and Speaker Points Oh My!

This year the Whitman debate squad (predominantly meat-eaters), welcomed two women who make an ethical choice to avoid meat.

Much to Jim’s eating dismay, the loss of avid vegetarians Aaron Hardy (coach from 2005-12) and Allison Humble (debater from 2008-2012) has not meant a year of burgers and steak. Merrit Salathe and Emma Thompson have kept alive the veggie lifestyle on Whitman’s squad just in time to meet with a meat-eating controversy that hit the debate community nation-wide.

This semester, a coach from Binghamton University in New York decided that he would take an ethical stance against the consumption of large factory produced meat products at debate tournaments. This coach says that he will reward students for agreeing to move toward a vegetarian or more ‘ethical toward animals’ diet with higher speaker points. The decision to award speaker points based on a vegetarian lifestyle was quite controversial, many arguing that students should not be judged on the basis of their eating habits, while others argued that it makes us think about our choices in food. Needless to say, the CEDA Forums were filled with comments.

Still, with the team eating both vegetarian and meat items, Emma had this to say: “I found Peter Singer’s argument on the utilitarian value of vegetarianism compelling, and I figure that it's not worth killing potentially conscious beings when I don't need to eat meat.”

Jim responded in typical fashion, “I just want to eat.”



Marten King Draws Significant Attention

Team gatherings at Jim’s house are often a cause for celebration. Whether it’s starting the year at the prep session, watching the Presidential debates, or receiving stockings at the Holiday party, debaters look forward to the festivities.

This year, junior Marten King decided to establish a name for himself at one of the get togethers. Connect-Four, a game where individuals attempt to line up four checkers of the same color in a grid, is an activity that most students participate in at least once during their tenure on the debate team. Marten, after playing a particularly spirited game with Miranda, boasted that he could fit 12 Connect Four checkers into his mouth and was willing to go the distance. After getting 6 checkers into his face, Jim quickly intervened realizing the silliness of the challenge.

“At most, he could have done 7, maybe 8,” said Miranda. “Anything beyond that was a fool’s errand.”

Marten proclaimed that he could have done it but, recently under fire for his courageous and outspoken stances on controversial political issues, Marten finally revealed that he has been engaged in a years-long performance of hyperbole.

True to form, the masterful rhetorician admitted the real purpose behind his challenges and countless three-hour arguments with teammates by shouting ecstatically, “Breaking the fourth wall! BOOM!”

The team was shocked by Marten’s admission; his revelation proved to be even more unsettling than that time Jim forgot to order a second tray of Panda Express orange chicken. 

With a tone of previously-latent empathy, Marten addressed the team. “No apologies necessary, folks!  I know you all feel pretty silly for assuming I was engaging you earnestly.”

“But no need for embarrassment; if not for my unparalleled skill, I would’ve fallen for it too,” Marten proclaimed triumphantly.

“In fact,” Marten continued, “all I ask is that we use this experience of collective humility as a teaching moment.  So, who wants a lesson in rhetoric?”

Marten fielded his first question from an eager Paige Joki: “Marten…Marten… Wake up, it’s 3 A.M., you fell asleep at your desk again.  Do you need a ride back to your apartment?”

“Oh…yeah,” sighed Marten, emerging from his gentle slumber.


Success in the Midwest

This October, Whitman cleaned up in Emporia, Kansas with Juniors Sean Mulloy and Ben Menzies taking 2nd place. They overcame tough competition and a ‘challenge’ elimination round system. The challenge system allows higher seeds to pick who they want to debate against allowing them to select who they think they will have the best shot against.

In every elimination round, Whitman was challenged by a higher seed, and in all of them besides finals, Whitman won. This made us a persistent and loveable underdog. After the finals decision was announced against Whitman, Sean and Ben received a standing ovation by observers for their tenacity

In addition to a strong showing by Sean and Ben, the rest of the team performed admirably with Sophomore Jonathan Barsky and First Year Andrew Durand making it to Octa-finals and first years Merrit Salathe and Emma Thompson debating in close rounds.



Team has a bad dining experience

Travel tournaments are frequently very difficult for competitors, particularly the return flight home. The relative remoteness of the Pasco airport coupled with long travel delays means that most debaters are physically and mentally exhausted. On top of this, because long hours are spent in airports, the relative eating options are limited to whatever is in the terminal. While debaters are accustomed to sometimes not always being able to eat ideal foods, the Parliamentary competitors attending Washburn experienced a new low in taste. While returning from Topeka, Kansas, several members of the team had a layover in the Minneapolis airport where a local recommended they eat at a Grill.

“It was far and away the worst food I have ever had while on the team,” claimed Senior Carly Johnson. “It was literally mayonnaise, cole slaw, and a giant piece of undercooked salmon.” This was not her idea of a salmon Caesar salad.

Junior Paige Joki was incapable of eating anything on the menu as literally everything contained meat. “To be honest, I am kind of glad I didn’t have to eat anything, especially when I saw everyone else’s faces at the end of the meal,” said Paige.

Needless to say, most everyone on the team was grateful to return to the comforting menus of Tacqueria Yungapeti and Graze, two Walla Walla favorites.


2012-13 Coaching Staff


Jim Hanson, Director of Forensics (21st year), Chair, Rhetoric Studies

Nigel Ramoz-Leslie, Parliamentary-I.E. Coach (2nd year)

Zach Tschida, Parliamentary-Policy Coach (1st year)

Alex Zendeh, Policy Coach (1st year)


2012-13 Student Assistants and Helpers


Olivia Kipper, Student Assistant

Satinder Haer, Student Assistant

Carly Johnson, Student IE Coaching Assistant

Adam McKibben, Judge




Andy Larson, Paige Joki, Olivia Kipper, Mitch Dunn, Shanglun Wang, Logan Emlet, Carly Johnson, Ben Menzies, Speech and Debate Program Writing Fellows


Fall 2012 Participants (43 students)


·        Andrew Durand

·        Andy Larson

·        Ben Menzies

·        Carly Johnson

·        Duy Tran

·        Elana Simon

·        Emma Thompson

·        Jonathan Barsky

·        Kyle Hendrix

·        Logan Emlet

·        Madeleine Kemme

·        Margaret Rockey

·        Mari Sanchez

·        Marten King

·        Meritt Salathe

·        Michelle Flores

·        Miranda Morton

·        Mitch Dunn

·        Noah Stern

·        Paige Joki

·        Satinder Haer

·        Sean (Shanglun) Wang

·        Sean Mulloy

·        Tom Shellum

·        Yajun ‘Draco’ Liu

·        Yonah Biers-Ariel

·        Zac Parker

Plus Arden Robinette, Caitlin Griffin, Cat Mulanax, Catherine Qu, Elissa Picozzi, Emma Nye, Emrys Dennison, Gladys Gitau, Jacob O'Connor, Lauren Hauck, Marla Harvey, Paul Eschbach, Rania Mussa, Sean Lyndes, Vicky (Ziyi) Su, William Moriarty (121 students).

And Nick Budak, off campus.


Whitman Administrators and Program Colleagues

Bob Withycombe, Professor, Rhetoric Studies

Patrick Belanger, Visiting Assistant Professor, Rhetoric Studies (Social Justice Rhetoric)

Matt deTar, Visiting Assistant Professor, Rhetoric Studies (Discourse and Rhetorical Theory)

Dan Terrio, Chief Technology Officer

Rebecca Hanrahan, Humanities Division Chair

Chuck Cleveland, Dean of Students

Lisa Perfetti, Associate Dean of Students

Tim Kaufman-Osborn, Provost and Dean of Faculty

George Bridges, President, Whitman College



Fall 2012 IM Tournament

This year’s fall tournament included some 30 debates discussing whether “The United States federal government should substantially increase its support for Palestine.” We debated a similar topic last fall. Jim noted “The students voted again for this topic area. Give the people what they want!”

Students won cash prizes up to $30 plus t-shirts for their involvement. They also enjoyed delicious snacks brought in by team members and IM Debate Assistant, Olivia Kipper.

Full Info is at: http://www.whitman.edu/debate/imdebates/index.htm


·                                      In experienced division, Ellen Ivens-Duran and Tia Butler received Top Honors.

·                                      In the intermediate division, William Moriarty, Jacob O’Connor, Sean Lyndes, Paul Eschbach, and Woodrow Jacobson received Top Honors.

·                                      In the inexperienced division, Robyn Metcalfe, David Burt, Cory Rand, and Joel Ponce won Top Honors.



New Rhetoric Studies Professor

We are excited to announce the hiring of the Neilen-Anderson Rhetoric Professor, Heather Hayes. Heather comes to Whitman from the University of Minnesota’s Communication Studies department. She is energetic, smart, and a former debater and coach! Heather debated at Trinity University and coached at a San Antonio high school for five years.

During her interview, she presented on the Rhetoric of Drones and on ‘uncivil’ rhetoric used by Frederick Douglass. Her presentations met with high approval from students and faculty alike.

Jim noted: “This hire is thanks to the incredibly generous donation that Megan Salzman Medica and John Medica gave to honor their mothers and to help insure we have a strong rhetoric program. Heather is hard working and very engaged in her scholarship and teaching. She is going to make a great contribution to Whitman College. We are thrilled to have her joining us.”

Heather will be teaching courses in social justice rhetoric and she will be helping in an effort to provide oral and written skills.



Team Pets

http://sphotos-b.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash3/p206x206/564142_4308482314887_1572511990_n.jpgAlthough the Whitman Speech and Debate team does not have an official mascot, two team members’ pets have been adopted as unofficial morale-boosters.

Senior Parli-IE team member Carly Johnson’s dog has grown to be a favorite among team members over the past year. A noble pit-boxer mix, ‘Biggy’ is well known for his energy, playfulness, and frenetic tail-wags that knock over anything in his wake.  Biggy can also be “people” on command, imitating human behaviors and postures.

Coach Alex Zendeh and former team member Tia Butler recently welcomed a dachshund named Jenna to their family. Jenna has bravely ventured to Hunter on several occasions, much to the glee of the team. Jenna is well-mannered and adorable. The new six inch tall teammate is a five year old longhaired piebald dachshund. Her hobbies include eating, playing with tennis balls, and cuddling debaters spending long hours in the prep room.

These canine companions undoubtedly help to supplement the occasionally-lackluster social lives that result from binge researching and tournament weekends away from Walla Walla.

But the addition of a new pet raises several questions for the team: What will happen if and when the two debate team dogs meet?  Will they become friends? Will they vie for affection?

Tune in this June for the unlikely, but nonetheless possible, follow-up article!



Parli Team: Headed to a 4th National Championship in a row?

We were asking about a 3rd championship last year at this point and we may be headed for number 4 this year. NPDA rankings were released days ago placing Whitman as number one in the nation, a solid 11 points ahead of William Jewell at second. Whitman has had impressive performances this fall–with 12 teams breaking at the Northwest Warmup and with Whitman teams in all 8 quarterfinal rounds in both junior and senior division at the national circuit UPS tournament.

Above, the 221 members of the team.

While rankings can and will change as second semester results come in–there is no question that Whitman has put itself in good position for another repeat of its national championship status.



The Winter Party

Held at Jim’s, the team enjoyed a scrumptious meal of roasted beef, ham, baked vegetables, mashed potatoes, along with bread and humus, chips, salad, and some delicious desserts.

This year’s stockings came out in full force with plastic flutes, candies, bubbles, and neon colored slime play-doh. “I don’t want that in my carpet either. Why do you folks always want stocking gifts that damage my home?” Jim was heard complaining at the dollar store.

The gift exchange brought out some neat items and some really bad ones. First year Duy Tran picked a frozen burrito and empty glass bottle. Zach Tschida, coach, noted sadly that he received “an alternative rock mix CD, originally a birthday gift to somebody else (whose name was crossed out), and a chocolate Santa.”

Tia Butler received a pair of novelty gloves called "Handerpants" from Inland Octopus.  They were fingerless gloves styled in the fashion of underwear (briefs).  This present was from Andrew Durand, first year, who has a passion for gloving but not good gifts.

Zac Parker received a tube sock and a bag of rocks. He was heard crying when leaving the party.




Contributions to the Team

We are grateful for your contributions to the forensic team! Generous donors May 1, 2012 through December 8, 2012 include:

·       Aaron P. Forsberg

·       Beth Elyse Schueler

·       Charles Edward Olney

·       Charlotte K. Main

·       Daphne Teals and Drummond Kahn

·       James B. Hanson

·       James R. Carlson

·       Janice Sandra Berman

·       Jason P. Smith

·       John P. O'Steen and Lindsey K. Gehrig

·       John Ross Miller

·       Microsoft Corporation

·       Nancy and Robert M. Withycombe

·       Nicholas J. Griffin

·       PG&E Corporation Foundation

·       Ryan James Hagemann

·       Samantha Howell

·       Scott Gordon Thompson

·       Stephen Charles Rowe


·        If we missed you, please tell us because we do appreciate your support!


Send contributions to

The Annual Fund Office

Whitman College

345 Boyer Avenue

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, Hanson, or just say “For Debate”).




The Policy Team


The Policy Team, Fall 2012.

Front Row: Jonathan, Ben, Meritt, Emma, Zach (coach)

Second Row: Alex (coach), Andrew, Sean, Andy (part time), Mitch (part time)

Third Row: Logan (part time), Marten (part time)


2012-13 Policy Awards


     Andrew, 10th speaker, WNPT

     Ben and Sean, Octos, Gonzaga

     Ben and Sean, Second Place, Emporia

     Ben and Sean, Semis, Idaho State

     Emma, 17th speaker, WNPT

     Emma and Meritt, Quarters, WNPT

     Jonathan and Andrew, Octos, Emporia

     Jonathan and Andrew, Quarters, WNPT

     Jonathan, 5th speaker, WNPT

     Logan solo, Quarters, WNPT


View our new Awards Page: http://www.whitman.edu/debate/results/index.htm




The Parli-IE Team


The Parli-IE Team, Fall 2012.

Front Row: Michelle, Duy, Paige, Margaret, Carly, Rania, Yajun.

Second Row: Elana, Satinder, Noah, Madeleine, Andy

Third Row: Yonah, Kyle, Shanglun, Mari, Miranda, Mitch, Zach (coach)

Back Row: Zac, Tom, Nigel (coach), Logan, Marten

Missing: Nick Budak abroad.



2012-13 Parli and IE Awards

  Andy and Paige, Octafinals, Washburn

  Andy and Paige, Octos Open, Lewis and Clark

  Andy and Paige, Semis Open, UPS

  Andy, 11th Speaker Open, NW Parli-IE Warmup

  Andy, 5th Platform, NW Parli-IE Warmup

  Carly and Logan, 2nd Open, NW Parli-IE Warmup

  Carly and Logan, Octos Open, Lewis and Clark

  Carly and Logan, Octos Open, UPS

  Carly and Logan, Quarters, Washburn

  Carly, 2nd Extemp, NW Parli-IE Warmup

  Carly, 7th Speaker Open, NW Parli-IE Warmup

  Draco, 6th Speaker Novice, NW Parli-IE Warmup

  Duy, 10th Speaker Junior, NW Parli-IE Warmup

  Elana and Duy, First (tie) Junior, Lewis and Clark

  Elana and Duy, First (tie) Junior, UPS

  Elana and Duy, Semis Junior, NW Parli-IE Warmup

  Elana, 3rd Novice Extemp, Lewis and Clark

  Elana, 5th Extemp, NW Parli-IE Warmup

  Elana, 5th Speaker Junior, NW Parli-IE Warmup

  Elissa and Rania, Quarters, Junior, UPS

  Elissa and Will, First (tie) Junior, Lewis and Clark

  Elissa solo, First Junior, NW Parli-IE Warmup

  Elissa, 3rd Speaker Junior, NW Parli-IE Warmup

  Gladys, 8th Speaker Novice, NW Parli-IE Warmup

  Kyle, 1st Extemp, NW Parli-IE Warmup

  Kyle, 1st Junior Extemp, Lewis and Clark

  Kyle, 4th Speaker Novice, NW Parli-IE Warmup

  Kyle, 5th Junior Impromptu, Lewis and Clark

  Logan, 8th Speaker Open, NW Parli-IE Warmup

  Madeleine and Gladys, Quarters Novice, NW Parli-IE Warmup

  Madeleine and Sean, Quarters Junior, UPS

  Madeleine, 6th Extemp, NW Parli-IE Warmup

  Margaret and Alex, First (tie) Junior, UPS

  Margaret and Alex, First Novice, Lewis and Clark

  Margaret and Kyle, First Novice, NW Parli-IE Warmup

  Margaret, 1st Novice Extemp, Lewis and Clark

  Margaret, 1st Speaker Novice, NW Parli-IE Warmup

  Mari, 5th Speaker Novice, NW Parli-IE Warmup

  Marten and Shanglun, 2nd Open, UPS

  Marten and Shanglun, Octos Open, Lewis and Clark

  Marten and Shanglun, Octos Open, NW Parli-IE Warmup

  Marten and Shanglun, Quarters, Washburn

  Marten, 2nd Junior Extemp, Lewis and Clark

  Marten, 6th Speaker Open, NW Parli-IE Warmup

  Michelle and Yonah, Octos Open, NW Parli-IE Warmup

  Michelle and Yonah, Octos, Washburn

  Michelle, 30th Speaker Open, NW Parli-IE Warmup

  Michelle, 3rd Impromptu, NW Parli-IE Warmup

  Miranda and Mitch, First Open, NW Parli-IE Warmup

  Miranda and Mitch, Octafinals, Washburn

  Miranda and Mitch, Semis Open, Lewis and Clark

  Miranda and Mitch, Semis Open, UPS

  Miranda Morton, 5th speaker, Washburn

  Miranda, 1st Impromptu, NW Parli-IE Warmup

  Miranda, 2nd Speaker Open, NW Parli-IE Warmup

  Mitch Dunn, 24th speaker, Washburn

  Mitch, First Speaker Open, NW Parli-IE Warmup

  Noah and Zac, Doubles, Washburn

  Paige and Andy, Semis Open, NW Parli-IE Warmup

  Paige Joki, 1st speaker, Washburn

  Paige, 4th Extemp, NW Parli-IE Warmup

  Paige, 9th Speaker Open, NW Parli-IE Warmup

  Satinder, 2nd Platform, NW Parli-IE Warmup

  Shanglun, 10th Speaker Open, NW Parli-IE Warmup

  Yonah, 1st Platform, NW Parli-IE Warmup

  Yonah, 26th Speaker Open, NW Parli-IE Warmup

  Zac, 1st Junior Impromptu, Lewis and Clark

     Zac, 5th Impromptu, NW Parli-IE Warmup


View our new Awards Page: http://www.whitman.edu/debate/results/index.htm



Pictures from the Prep Session





Thanks for Reading the Newsletter!


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