Whitman College Forensics

A Newsletter of the Whitman College Forensics Team, Vol. 3, No. 2, July 1997


Kristofer Peterson smiles for the camera while Dan Lair, Assistant Director of Forensics, wonders what is happening.

Whitman has a Great Season!

Whitman won many sweepstakes awards this semester. Most impressive was our 10th place in the nation in Parliamentary debate. In CEDA/NDT debate, the team placed 31st in CEDA points and 25th in NDT points. At the University of Utah, with only our CEDA/NDT teams to do the scoring, the team pulled in a 6th place finish. Whitman also took 6th Place at Regis and 16th Place at the NPDA National Tournament. At Willamette, the squad took second place overall. And at Whitman, the squad took 2nd overall and 1st in Parli. The second places at Willamette and Whitman, along with awards won in the fall at the Lewis and Clark tournament, gave Whitman a 2nd Place for Division One overall for the year, losing out only to the mighty Carroll. And yet, Whitman was closer to Carroll's point total than any team in recent memory at the last NFC tournament. Next year promises to be a tight race for first place (that's just for Brent Northup, coach at Carroll, and alumni of Whitman)!


A New Home for Forensics!

The entire college is looking forward to the completion of a new home for the forensics team as well as the writing center, Audio Visual Service, and the Rhetoric and Public Address Department. Construction is beginning this summer on the renovation of the Old Music Building, or Conservatory, into a state of the art facility which will be known as the Hunter Conservatory. The architects have designed the space with the team in mind, using much of the basement floor for offices, storage space, work rooms, and a classroom. The space will be equipped with video recorders for reviewing speeches, and all sorts of tables and workspaces for the squad. Completion is scheduled for September 1998, and we can't wait to make it our new home.


Whitman attends the NDT for the first time in over 40 years

For the first time since the 1950s, Whitman sent debaters to the very prestigious National Debate Tournament at Liberty University in Virginia this year. The NDT schools decided to use the same topic as the Cross-Examination Debate Association (CEDA) for the 1996-1997 season. That topic, by the way, was co-written by our own Sean Harris and Becky Galentine. Since there has not been an NDT circuit in the Northwest in over ten years, a group of coaches chose the most successful and competitive teams to attend. Whitman debaters Adam Symonds and Sean Harris and a team from Gonzaga were the only teams from the Northwest to attend this exclusive tournament. Without the massive resources of huge programs like Northwestern, Wake Forest, Harvard, Dartmouth, and Georgetown, Whitman's two debaters, accompanied by Assistant Coach Becky Galantine, proved to be tough competition for the big schools. Needing a 5-3 to advance into outrounds, Adam and Sean were 4-2 at one point. But the quality competition and the pressure got to our heroes and they finished 4-4. Nonetheless, they made a name for themselves and Whitman College in the process. Adam and Sean hope to attend the NDT next year at the University of Utah.


Bob Withycombe, Chair, Rhetoric and Public Address Department and Division II, Humanities.

Whitman's College Tournament

Whitman hosted its annual College Tournament February 14-15. Schools from six states attended, including Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, and California. This year we lowered entrance fees by giving out ribbons to each individual competitor and plaques for schools. Although this measure made Jim the butt of some jokes, all who attended were glad to save money on the tournament. The tournament saw some great competition and everyone had lots of fun. The squad from Carroll once again emerged as the overall victor in Division One, with strong performances in IE's and Parli. Whitman took 2nd Place with good showings in IE's and CEDA and Parli. Also becoming an annual tradition is the perennial shortage of judges for our tournament. Even though we had the assistance of Whitman debate alumnus and theater professors, the tournament was precariously close to running out of judges. But somehow we managed to pull it off for a fun tournament!


Thank you for contributions to the Walker Fund!

Thanks for your contributions to the Walker Speech and Debate Fund! Generous donors include Janice Berman, Erik Highberg, John R. Miller, Elizabeth Morrow, Jan and Bill Schnall, and Megan Medica. If we missed you, tell us because all contributions made to the Walker Fund are greatly appreciated!


David Kearney, dressed quite dapper, enjoyed incredible success including taking 9th in the nation with Kristofer Peterson.

Parliamentary Debate Success

The Parliamentary debaters had a very successful semester and year as they placed 10th in the nation! Jason Smith and Dave Perry, Whitman's twin towers, at a combined height of thirteen feet, intimidated many of their opponents on their way to a first place finish at both Pacific Lutheran University and the Whitman College tournament. Both times, Dave and Jason debated, outwitted and out-entertained Lewis and Clark College. At PLU, Jason practically brought the house to its feet with a pro-ebonics speech. At Whitman, Dave dazzled the judges with innovative arguments against term limits. At the Willamette University tournament, a very competitive Parliamentary tournament, Jason and Dave took 5th place, while Isaac Kamola and Akshay Garg took 3rd place in Junior division. Akshay so impressed the judges with his smooth and polished speaking skill that he took a first place speaker award. Kristofer Peterson collected a 7th place speaker award. At the Western Washington tournament, the team did well, with Kristofer and Isaac Kamola taking 9th and Jason and Dave taking 5th. At the Whitman Tournament, the squad took the opportunity to include as many Whitman students as possible in the debate experience. Former competitors, rhetoric students, and past intramural debaters all joined up for the weekend, and with some training from Dan and Jim, the enlarged squad did very well and had a lot of fun, taking first place in Parliamentary debate for the tournament. The winners included: Senior: Kristofer and David Kearney- 5th Place; Jason and Dave- 1st; Dave- 5th Speaker; Junior: Isaac and Akshay-5th; Courtney Whitmore and Vivian Beebe-5th; Tim Clairmont and Karen Skantze-5th; Courtney- 1st Speaker; Novice: Chiasha Dickens and Ryan Cooper- 2nd; Ashley Gelvin and Brett Kmiec-3rd; Paul Newell and Steve Putt-5th; Chiasha-1st Speaker.

At Regis University in Colorado, Kristofer and David showed they were ready for national competition with a 5th Place showing. Returning to Colorado for the UC-Boulder tournament, Dave Perry wowed the judges as he took first place in Lincoln-Douglas debate. Dave's victory in LD gave Whitman College a victory in all three types of Debate, CEDA-NDT, Parli, and LD, during the year. At Nationals in beautiful Colorado Springs, Kristofer and David put everything together, went 7-1 in prelims, breaking as the number four team! They advanced all the way to octo-finals, and took 9th place on a very close and somewhat controversial 3-2 decision. The controversy stemmed from the fact that one of their judges didn't pick up his ballot but watched the round. He would have voted for Kristofer and David and the judge who took his ballot voted the other way. Ouch! So close. Jason and Dave missed breaking by just one victory. David was 20th speaker and Kristofer was 7th speaker!


Snowed In Again

For the second year in a row, the team was snowed out of a tournament. One of the CEDA-NDT squad's favorite trips is the Southern California Swing, which takes place over New Years. As the squad was preparing to debate at these crucial and competitive tournaments, snow struck the Seattle area with a vengeance. Debaters were stranded in all sorts of locations. We were beginning to lose hope for making it to the airport. As the departure time neared, however, things began to look up. Erin Carlson was stuck in Spokane, but we were making plans to have her fly around Seattle and meet us in sunny LA. Adam had gotten stuck in the Newark, New Jersey, airport, but had managed to fly to San Francisco, and was ready to meet us in LA if we could make it. It would be tough, but we were ready to go. But there was one missing link. Our fearless leader, Jim, was stuck (with the airline tickets) at his house on Bainbridge Island with over a foot of snow blocking his driveway. There was no way he could make it, and the squad spent New Years in cold and soggy Seattle instead of beautiful and sunny LA. Oh well, maybe next year.


Evan and Leah smile for the camera while going over times to practice.

New Department Name, Minor, and Courses

Bob Withycombe and Jim are proud to announce the newly named Rhetoric and Public Address Department (formerly Speech). The name change is meant to emphasize the department's movement toward a focus on argumentation, rhetorical criticism and the study of public communication. In addition to the traditional "Fundamentals of Public Address" (the public speaking course), the department now offers courses in Social Movements, Argumentation, Free Speech, African-American Protest Rhetoric, Rhetorical Criticism, and more. In addition to the name change, the department will now offer a minor. Plus, this coming year, the department will have three members as Marilee Mifsud will serve as Johnstone Professor in Rhetoric. She will teach two sections of the Fundamentals course plus classes in Greek and Roman rhetoric, her specialty.


Dovell-Gose Speaking Contest

In this year's annual Dovell-Gose persuasive speaking contest, Karen Skantze dominated the Women's competition, taking first place with her speech on the unconstitutionality of the Communications Decency Act (which the Supreme Court, as Karen predicted, found illegal a few months later). The Men's side saw a wide variety of topics. Matt Carter used reading from the Core to show how Creationism and Evolution are not always opposites, and took third place. Kristofer Peterson delivered a well researched speech on the need for heart defibrillators and took 2nd Place. Matthew Johnson took 1st Place with his controversial speech on why the United States should eliminate the military. Even though the judging panel of Jim, Jared, and Dan, didn't entirely agree with his conclusion, they agreed that Matt had made a persuasive argument.



First year student Akshay Garg prepares a speech.

Individual Event Competitors win over 55 awards!

Whitman's individual events success this semester is bringing back memories of Whitman's tradition of IE glory! IE natural Chiasha Dickens took the Northwest by storm in her first year of competition, taking First Place in Senior Persuasion at three tournaments in a row: Pacific Lutheran, Willamette, and Western Washington. Chiasha's entertaining and pun-filled speech on the dangers of a new fat substitute planned for potato chips also earned her a 3rd Place at the Whitman tournament. Chiasha also took 2nd in Junior Impromptu at PLU and was a finalist in that event at Western Washington. Chiasha took 3rd at Western and 4th at the NIET Qualifier in Senior informative. Other Whitman IE success stories include Adam Symonds who took 2nd in Junior extemp at Whitman; Anea Barer, a finalist in Junior Prose at the Whitman tournament; and Dave Perry was a finalist in Junior Extemp at Willamette. David Kearney was a finalist in Senior Impromptu at PLU, 3rd in Junior Impromptu at Whitman, 4th at UC Boulder, and was a semi-finalist at Regis College. David also was a finalist in Junior Extemp at Willamette and Whitman. Isaac Kamola tried his hand at Poetry, and came away a winner, taking 2nd in Senior at Western and 7th at Regis. Jason Smith did very well in his prime event, After Dinner Speaking, a finalist at Willamette and 2nd at Western in Senior division. Whitman's other IE superstar, Kristofer Peterson, won in Senior Communication Analysis (a finalist at Willamette, 1st at Western, and 2nd at Whitman), Senior Extemp (2nd at Whitman, 7th at Regis, 6th at UC Boulder), Senior Impromptu (6th at Western), and the William O. Douglas speaking event at the Western Washington Tournament (finalist). He delivered a speech on why Whitman, William O. Douglas' alma matter, should host the event! Students who competed only at the Whitman tournament collected awards including: Stephanie Van Dyke, 2nd in Novice Informative; Lara Clarke, 3rd in Junior Dramatic; and Karen Skantze, 2nd in Junior Persuasion. At the end of the year, Kristofer and Chiasha traveled to Texas for the National Individual Events Tournament. They competed well and made many connections that will serve us well for the future. Most of all, they let everyone know that Whitman's IE's are back!


Amanda Elegant, Adam Symonds, Sean Harris, and Erin Carlson engage in the CEDA-NDT debate done for the reunion this year.


Jim thinks carefully about what assignments should be researched while Jared smiles in the background.

Whitman CEDA-NDT Debate Success

The CEDA/NDT Squad had a successful semester. At the Pacific Lutheran University Tournament, Sean Harris and Adam Symonds and Jessica Clarke and Jason Liu both tied for fifth place. The next weekend, however, was Whitman's first major experience with the NDT debate circuit. Both Matthew Johnson and Erin Carlson and Adam and Sean went 4-4, just one victory away from breaking. Jessica and Jason and Liz Briggs and Lisa Beyl tied for 9th Place in a very competitive Junior division. The team learned that we could compete with the national circuit if we had confidence and were ready. Soon, we would prove it. At Willamette University, with Northwest competition, the squad turned it on. In Junior division, Liz and Peter Stiffler took 2nd place. In senior, Matt and Erin had the record and points to break, but lost out on a tie-breaker. Jessica and Jason took 3rd Place, losing to Western Washington. Meanwhile, Sean and Adam advanced going 6-0. In the semi-final round against Western Washington, despite Sean's humorous challenge to a Western debater to fight it out outside (we all know he would have lost), reason prevailed and they advanced to finals. Against UPS, Adam was cross-examined by his old high school partner who was convinced that Adam was wrong about his data. However, despite all of the opposition's protests, arguments, and even maps, Adam and Sean managed to convince the judges that they were on the side of truth. The squad cleaned up the speaker awards: Liz took 1st in Junior. Matt took 5th, Jason 3rd, Sean 2nd, and Adam 1st in Senior.

Then, the squad flew to Southern Illinois University. Both the competition and hospitality were amazing. Sean and Adam and Jessica and Jason both tied for 17th, and impressed many on the national circuit. Jessica and Jason, first year debaters, lost a very close round on the negative to one of the best teams in the country, Michigan State. At the Western Washington tournament, the CEDA debaters were represented by Liz and Lisa, who took 3rd in Junior. Liz was 2nd speaker and Lisa was 8th. At the Whitman tournament, Matt and Erin finally broke and took 5th place, losing on the negative to a new case. Adam and Sean went 6-0, but lost to Gonzaga in quarterfinals and took 5th place. Liz took 5th speaker in Junior division. The Heart of America tournament would be the toughest competition the squad would yet face. Of the 32 teams advancing from the field of more than 80, only about 10 were traditional CEDA squads, the rest were NDT teams. All three teams attending went 4-4, each missing by one victory.

The CEDA debaters returned to the Northwest and competed in the very tough Northwest CEDA champs. Adam and Sean did very well and took 5th place, losing on a shaky 1-2 decision. But the story of the tournament was the amazing speaking of Liz Briggs. Competing in senior division, Liz floored the judges with her impassioned and honest debating. Liz took 3rd speaker in the tournament and Adam was 7th and Sean was 20th. Adam and Sean then traveled to the NDT, the first time since the mid-1950s and nearly broke.

Finally, we were ready for the CEDA National tournament in Wichita, Kansas. Jessica and Jason started the 8 round tournament off to a quick start, at one point holding a record of 5-1. They lost their outround (once again, on the negative) to a tough team from Emory. Adam and Sean debated a team from Webster in their first outround. Little did poor Webster know that Adam and Sean's affirmative case was the opposite of their's. Adam and Sean were ready with answers to everything and advanced on a 3-0 decision. Then came what observers will remember as one of the best debate rounds on record. Adam and Sean were on fire, but so was the affirmative-the top team from Northwestern University. But the missionaries did not shrink from the task. They argued a specific counterplan against the case. One observer said that it was the most specific negative strategy he had ever seen, and Northwestern was taken aback by Whitman's research. However, the very smooth and talented debaters from Northwestern were able to squeak out a 2-1 victory and went on to win the tournament. Adam and Sean's reputation as the team to look out for grew, and, since both debaters are returning next year, the nation had better look out!


The Coaching Staff Moves on

Whitman's large coaching contingent is undergoing changes as the year ends. Some are leaving, some staying, and others arriving. Staying around are Jim Hanson, Director of Forensics, who will be starting his 6th Year at Whitman this fall; Ryan J. Hagemann, Assistant Coach for IE's and Parliamentary Debate (and Admissions officer); Becky Galantine, Assistant Coach of CEDA/NDT Debate, and Abby St. Lawrence, Student Assistant. Abby will also be taking over graduating senior Kristofer Peterson's position as Intramural Debate Coordinator. Dan Lair, Assistant in Parli Debate, is returning to his native Montana to hunt, fish, and play in the woods. Taking Dan's place as Assistant Parli Coach will be Diana Thompson of the University of Nebraska. Also leaving the squad are Jared Phillips and Loan Lam. Jared was the Assistant Director of CEDA debate and Loan was the Assistant Coach for CEDA debate. He and Loan are moving to San Francisco, where Jared will be working for an investment company. Loan is excited about the move and the opportunities in a new city. Taking Jared's place will be J.P. Lacy, a NDT debater from James Madison University and a coach at debate powerhouse Wake Forest University. Jared and Loan will be missed by all, especially the many debaters to whom they provided jobs in the Library and the Annual Fund Office. Good luck to all!

Jared Phillips and Loan Lam climb the stairs of Olin. They have moved to San Francisco but the memories of their outstanding contributions to the team remain.


Send messages to the Team!

        Write to Jim Hanson
Director of Forensics
Whitman College
Walla Walla WA 99362

        Email Jim Hanson at hansonjb@whitman.edu

        Email the entire team at forensic@whitman.edu

        Call Jim Hanson at 509-527-5499


Courtney Whitmore was a semi-finalist in the IM Championship Debate tournament. She also was the number one Parliamentary Debater in Junior Division at the last Northwest Forensics Tournament.

Intramural Debate Grows!

At Whitman College there is a long history of Intramural Debate on Campus. This year saw an amazing resurgence in Intramural Debate participation, with more participants, more events, and more awards than in any time in recent history. Kristofer Peterson, coordinator this year, encouraged many campus groups to compete in the afternoon affairs. In the first Spring contest, Andrew Noble took home First Place in Experienced, while Karen Skantze and Derek Banducci tied for Second. In inexperienced debate, Harroon Ullah took first, Steve Putt took Second, and Paul Newell and Stephen Preikschat tied for third. The Shady Rill Street Gang of Steve Putt, Andrew Noble, and Paul Newell took home the first place group award, while the Rhetoric 380 class members, Karen, Derek, and James Kuwahara took 2nd.

At the second Spring contest, a packed field debated for their last chance to advance to the Champions tournament. Derek and Andrew Noble went head to head and Derek emerged the winner, taking 1st Place in experienced while Andrew "Fab" Noble took 2nd. With a huge novice field, three 1st Place awards were given out to Paul Newell, Steve Putt, and Justin Vitcov. 4th Place went to Stephen Preikschat. The Shady Rill gang once again took 1st Place in the group competition. 2nd Place went to Rhetoric 110, including Ernest Burgess, Scott Siler, Stephen Preikschat and Jeff Regelin, while Derek carried Phi Delta Theta including Ian Onizuka, Shane Milam, and Perry Garvin to a 3rd Place finish.


Whitman Debaters win awards

Sean Harris '98 and Adam Symonds '99, were honored at the CEDA national tournament for their participation in debate, academics, and their communities. Sean received the All-American Award for his outstanding debate ability and contribution to the debate community. Adam received the prestigious Scholastic Debater Award for being both an outstanding debater and scholar, maintaining a high GPA which is not an easy task for someone who spends so much of his time working on debate.

Then came the exciting Intramural Championships, at which all previous winners from the year were eligible to compete. The elimination style competition saw many crucial rounds in which the competitors showed their best stuff. Derek and Andrew once again went at it in the final round of Experienced division, and once again, "Fab" was to be disappointed. Derek took the 1st Place award, and Andrew settled for second. Third went to Courtney Whitmore and Peter Stiffler. Vivian Beebe received an honorary mention. In inexperienced division, Alan Averill brought a smile to everyone's face with his fun and furious delivery, taking home first place. Steve Putt took second, in a good showing. Justin Vitcov and Paul Newell tied for third, and Stephen Preikschat took home an honorary mention. Overall, after over 100 debates, it was a great year for Intramural debate!


Director of Forensics, James Hanson

Assistant Director of Forensics, Dan Lair

Assistant Director of Forensics, Jared Phillips

Assistant Director of CEDA Debate, Loan Lam

Assistant Director of Parliamentary Debate and IE's, Ryan J. Hagemann

Assistant Director of CEDA Debate, Becky Galentine

Intramural Debate Coordinator, Kristofer Peterson

Student Assistant, Abby St. Lawrence

Chair, Department of Rhetoric and Public Address Robert M. Withycombe

President, Whitman College Thomas E. Cronin

Competitors Whitman Forensics Spring 1997
Abigail St. Lawrence, Adam Symonds, Akshay Garg, Chiasha Dickens, David Kearney, David Perry, Erin Carlson, Isaac Kamola, Jason Liu, Jason Smith, Jessica Clarke, Kari Uhrich, Kristofer Peterson, Lea Rees, Lisa Beyl, Liz Briggs, Matthew Johnson, Peter Stiffler, Sean Harris