Whitman College Forensics

A Newsletter of the Whitman College Forensics Team, Vol. 4, No. 2, May, 1998

The Team That Bonds Together Wins Together



Team members Carrie Mitchell, Tony Torres, Aaron Walters, Kristen Weaver and Akshay Garg smile for the camera.

What do Disneyland, bowling, and the game of Risk all have in common? These three experiences and many more are just a few of the good times which the team has spent together. What better way to celebrate a job well done than to spend even more time together?

Over the winter holiday, the CEDA/NDT team spent nearly two weeks at the USC-Long Beach swing tournament. Understanding the importance of having fun, the team dragged Dr. Jim to Disneyland… or was it the other way around? ? Everyone had a blast and came home with plenty of souvenirs.

On weekends during the regular school year, the team also takes time to unwind by hitting the bowling alley, watching movies, and playing Risk, a game where players try to take over the world.

Schoolwork, practicing speeches, and preparing for debate are all important, but relaxing and getting to know each other is also time well spent. After all, the team that bonds together celebrates wins together!

Aaron Walters enjoys being on the speech and debate team at Whitman


Whitman Establishes New Travel Safety Standards

After the team's brush with danger this past October, the college has set strict measures for travel to ensure passenger safety. New driver standards require anyone behind the wheel of a Whitman vehicle to complete an extensive driver orientation program involving a three-hour class focusing on defensive driving, preventing fatigue, and learning about emergency procedures. Van speeds must not exceed 60 mph, less depending on weather conditions. Drivers must also stop every two hours to avoid fatigue, and on any trip longer than five hours, there must be at least two qualified drivers.

Improved transportation safety includes the purchase of five new vans and a Suburban. The school will replace these vehicles on a three-year cycle with yearly general inspections & monthly tire inspections by an outside agency. Specific weight and load restrictions will also be enforced.

The goal of these new requirements is to provide a safe learning environment for academic and co-curricular programs. Coaches and students are pleased with the quick and thorough nature of new measures, especially the new standards for tire safety! Since the van accident team members have recovered and look forward to traveling in brand new, comfy vehicles!

Abby, Claire Cowen, Adam, Jim, Ryan, and Sean Collins eat Chinese food following a hard day's work!

Dovell-Gose Speaking Contest

At this year's annual Dovell-Gose persuasive speaking contest, Dr. Jim and Diana had a very hard time deciding who deserved gold! After the votes were counted, the team's very own Jessica Clarke spoke with enough gusto and conviction to dominate the women's competition. Jessica's award-winning speech discussed how cultural relativism hampers the way countries interact. Jessica argued that action is warranted in troubling situations because we should recognize an individual's humanity before ethnicity. Second place went to Karen Skantze who discussed the Communication Decency Act and censorship in the U.S. Third, but by far one of the more outspoken contestants, team assistant Abby St. Lawrence, left an impression on the audience with her stunning analysis of "hello communication."
The men's competition was just as gripping while surprisingly enlightening! Tony Torres captured everyone's attention and first place with a speech about a male contraceptive pill, similar to a female birth control pill, being developed in Scotland. Taking second David Pietka explained how problems associated with alcohol are more damaging than smoking, yet tobacco receives more attention than other legal substances. Third place went to Derek Banducci for discussing government bureaucracy and ineffectiveness. Congratulations to all of the winners!

There's a Doctor in the House!

Jim Hanson works in his office in front of the computer where he completed his Ph.D.

After many, many long years of toil and trouble, Jim Hanson, Whitman's fearless director of forensics, has finally finished his dissertation!!!! Yells of joy could be heard all across Walla Walla!! Better yet a bottle of champagne and "It's about time" congratulation cards were waiting for Jim when he returned from California. A celebratory vacation in California you ask? No, well, not yet anyway! Jim, excuse me, Dr. Jim, received his Ph.D. from the University of Southern California

Dr. Jim is very excited with his newfound free time and has already informed Glenn Kuper, coach at the University of Puget Sound. Glenn and Dr. Jim had a bet to see who would be first to finish his dissertation. As their titles in this article suggest, Dr. Jim won and is eagerly waiting to claim victory, namely that Glenn gets to judge all rounds for Dr. Jim at one tournament. Congratulations Dr. Jim, we knew you could do it!!! The only question is: when are you going for a second Ph.D.?!


Robert Withycombe Recognized as Outstanding Coach!


At Whitman's college tournament Bob Withycombe was recognized by the Northwest Forensics Conference for 12 years of dedication, caring, and contributions as a coach for Whitman College and to the speech and debate community. Over the years Bob has coached more than 400 students and judged between 10-15,000 competitors, which is a whole lot of handwritten comments on ballots! Although he has hung up his coach title and now serves as chair of the rhetoric department and humanities division, Bob always makes time to listen to speeches and help run tournaments. Bob's sense of commitment over the past 20 years is why the community recognized him!

Description: Description: Description: 1999 Bob's award pic

Larry Richardson, former Western Washington University Director of Forensics and Jim's former coach, awards Bob Withycombe an honorary degree for his outstanding contribution to the forensics community.

Becoming involved with forensics as a competitor in 1968, Bob has been coaching ever since 1971. Bob's first coaching job at South Salem High School in Oregon, lasted nine years. Bob qualified students to NFL Nationals in every event (policy debate, Lincoln-Douglas debate, and all speech events). Then in 1980, Whitman College recruited Bob to turn their already successful team into a nationally competitive squad, and he did just that. In the early '80's, Bob led his team to two back-to-back nationally ranked seasons. In two years at Nationals, Whitman placed 10th & 5th in CEDA, 5th & 2nd in speech and was ranked number one in the Northwest. Over those two years the squad brought home 1st place at every tournament which the squad attended. Whitman was unbeatable!



Bob has also tabulated, assisted, or directed a half dozen national CEDA tournaments. Bob served on CEDA topic selection committees for six years researching, discussing, and writing debate topics. Writing topics may seem easy, but writing competent and interesting topics which people like takes a lot of time and effort! During his years as director of forensics, Bob helped to start the Northwest Forensics Conference, one of the most emulated and valued debate organizations in the country. The goal was to further a sense of community and teach strong argumentation and delivery skills at tournaments. Bob was also one of the first serious promoters of CEDA debate in the Northwest.

Bob's coaching philosophy is very "big picture" oriented, as is his admonition "that would be a good thing." Bob's advice is always to have fun and to take pride in one's accomplishments. Three cheers to Bob for 20 years of taking the time to coach and here is to 20 more years of involvement. Congratulations Robert Withycombe!



Congratulations to Karen Skantze, who we believe is the first rhetoric major (political rhetoric major) at Whitman since 1955. Karen's achievement is exemplary of the revitalized rhetoric department.

Carolyne Kamau shows who is best in Individual Events

Individual Events Rock!

Whitman saw tremendous success in individual events, especially at its own tournament this year. Adam won junior extemporaneous speaking and Matt placed second while David Kearney placed fourth in senior division. Holding his own in novice extemporaneous speaking, first year student Aaron Walters placed third by discussing the internet's affect on China. Every Whitman competitor entered in extemporaneous speaking brought home a trophy, and the team looks forward to future success in this event.

Continuing the team's goal to inform the world about current issues, first year student Tony Torres placed fourth in junior informative speaking. Tony has placed in this event at every tournament and has already started to research for next year's competition. Following Tony's success first timer Rose Alappat won novice informative speaking and first year student Kristen Weaver placed fourth with her topic on government seizure of property. (Hey, don't take Kristen's well-earned trophy!) In novice impromptu, one of the largest events, new comer and first year student Thad Tierney smooth-talked his way into fourth place by discussing the virtues of female communication.

In a new event, extemporaneous-Lincoln-Douglas debate, Sean Harris brought home the gold. Extemp LD gives students thirty minutes to research and prepare a case in support of or against a topic. Later in the year at DSR-TKA Nationals, Matt placed ninth in fierce competition in NFA Lincoln-Douglas Debate. Matt debated changing U.S. policy toward Taiwan and is looking forward to next year's topic about the internet.

Whitman is very proud of its individual event participants! Throughout the season, Whitman brought home more trophies from a wider ranger of events. With strong returning members the team looks forward to continue building a bridge to greater success next year!


Team Readies to Move to Hunter Conservatory!

The team is preparing to move into the Hunter Conservatory, a.k.a. the new and improved Old Music Building. The team's new home will host the Writing Center, audiovisual service, and rhetoric and public address department. The construction is ahead of schedule and below cost! Come this August, there will be video cameras for reviewing speeches, new practice rooms, computers, workspaces, and the team assistant, Abby the Terminator, gets her own office. Everyone will find peace of mind because Abby will have her own workspace far, far away from the team. J

Contributions to the Walker Fund are appreciated!

Thanks for your contributions to the Walker Speech and Debate Fund! Generous Spring '98 donors include Megan Medica, John Miller, Hariette Small, Jared Phillips, Loan Lam, Daphne Teals, and Drummond Kahn. If we missed you, tell us because all contributions made to the Walker Fund are appreciated greatly!

Contributions to the Walker Fund should be sent to:

Annual Fund Office
Whitman College
Walla Walla WA 99362

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

The layout for the "Rhetoric Floor" in Hunter shows the team and department have new and excellent facilities.

Some Awards to Talk About!

Sean Harris '98 and Adam Symonds '99 were honored at the CEDA National Championship 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. Adam maintains a high GPA which is not an easy task for someone who spends so much of his time working on debate and with his sweet girlfriend.

Intramural Debates Heat Up Campus

Whitman College has a long history of intramural debate on campus, a history revived in the 1990's by the squad and President Thomas Cronin. Anyone not on the full-time forensics team may compete in these fun and educational debates. This year saw continued growth in intramural debate participation with new faces and more debates and awards than in past years. Abby St. Lawrence, coordinator this year, encouraged and sometimes lovingly coerced many campus groups to compete in the afternoon affairs. Abby has done an outstanding job of single-handedly organizing and running the event, and plans to keep debates running on time next year. Check the table for the winners!

1998 Champions

First, Jason Liu
Second, Chiasha Dickens
Third, Keola Whittaker
Third, Derek Banducci
First, Melissa Richman
Second, Eric Odegard
Third, Justin Vitcov

First Spring '98 Contest

First, Jason Liu
Second, Keola Whittaker
Third, Matt Vandenburg
First, Heather Waite
Second, Bill Burkoth
Third, Thad Tierney

Second Spring '98 Contest

First, Chiasha Dickens
Second, Jason Liu
Third, Derek Banducci
First, Melissa Richman
Second, Danica Noble
Third, Heather Waite

Jessica Clarke and Lisa Beyl talk with Abby St. Lawrence whose is tabulating intramural debate results while Jim (hidden in the background) reads the Pio school newspaper.

CEDA Continues to Move up in the Rankings

J.P. Lacy and Becky Galentine smile. Their hard work paid off as the CEDA-NDT team had one of its most successful years ever.

The CEDA/NDT team had an outstanding second semester! Beware, the next few paragraphs will amaze and astound because Whitman has done it again. Whitman brought home more trophies and qualified more students to nationals than ever before! Major accomplishments include veterans senior Sean Harris and junior Adam Symonds, and the ever adorable sophomore Jessica Clarke and first year student Ryan Scoville closing out both spring NFC designated tournaments. Sean Harris and Adam won the Northwest CEDA Championship Tournament, Whitman's first ever! Whitman qualified two teams to the NDT, the only school in the Northwest to qualify teams. First year students Sean Collins and Mike Caughey took third place at Southern Illinois University and tied for first place at the University of Southern California with sophomore Lisa Beyl and junior Matt Johnson (who usually did parli this year). In Public CEDA, a new slower version of policy debate, sophomore Bobby deGrouchy and first year student Keola Whittaker placed 1st at the Whitman Tournament. Jessica and Ryan took 17th and Sean Harris and Adam took 9th place at CEDA Nationals (losing a close 2-1 decision to the team that took first place--the second year in a row which that has happened!). The team's trophy cases are overflowing with trophies, and they would not have it any other way!

Additional accomplishments include Mike and Lisa placing 5th at Whitman. Jessica and Ryan placed 17th at USC, 1st at PLU, 5th at WWU, 17th at Heart of America, 1st at Whitman, and 2nd at the NW NDT Qualifier. Continuing Whitman's winning streak Sean Harris and Adam placed 9th at USC-Long Beach, 1st at PLU, 17th at Northwestern, 1st at Whitman, and 1st at the NW NDT Qualifiers. Individually the team brought home many, many speaker awards (okay, this is overload, but here goes). At USC in Junior Division, Sean Collins took 1st, Matt 2nd, Mike 3rd, Lisa 4th and Adam placed 14th in Open. At CSU-Long Beach Sean Harris took 14th and Adam 6th in Open. At PLU in Open, Adam took 1st, Sean Harris 2nd, Ryan 3rd, and Sean Collins and Jessica tied for 5th. At Southern Illinois University Ryan placed 10th in Open, and Sean Collins took 2nd and Mike 3rd in Junior. At WWU Ryan was 10th in Open. At Whitman Adam tied with his partner, Sean Harris, for 1st speaker, Ryan was 4th,, and Jessica 5th. At the Northwest CEDA Championship Adam tied for 4th and Sean Harris tied for 7th. Finally at CEDA Nationals, Adam was 20th, Ryan 23rd, Sean Harris 34th, and Jessica 32nd. Congratulations to all of Whitman's fine speakers! While both of Whitman's teams lost their break rounds and went 4-4 at the NDT, their ability to qualify and do so well speaks volumes for future success!

Ryan Scoville had an outstanding season as a first year student including taking 17th at the CEDA National Championship Tournament.

Parliamentary Debate Takes 12th in the Nation!

Matt Johnson had a very successful season.

Whitman's parliamentary debate team talked their way into 12th place out of 180 schools. The Twin Davids, Kearney and Perry, debated like national champions during the season. This dynamic duo placed 2nd at Willamette University, 5th at Point Loma, 5th at DSR-TKA Nationals, and 17th at the National Parliamentary Debate Association National Championship. David Kearney received many individual speaker awards including 8th at Willamette, 12th at Point Loma, 4th at Whitman, 6th at DSR-TKA Nationals, and 21st at NPDA Nationals. David's partner, Dave Perry, was not just another pretty face as he received speaker recognition for placing 13th at Point Loma and 9th at Whitman. David and Dave received a standing ovation at NPDA Nationals when they collected their 17th place trophies. David is well known for his professor-like bow ties while Dave can not be missed with his booming voice (which is why his nickname is Boomer). The Davids are highly respected among the debate community and their presence as outstanding competitors will be missed in the Northwest and national competition!

The whit and style of sophomore Brant Olson and the logic of junior Matt Johnson exhibited Whitman's excellence in parliamentary debate. Brant and Matt did very well this semester placing 5th at Willamette, 17th at Point Loma, and 3rd at Whitman. Brant and Matt culminated their season with a 9th place showing at the NPDA National Championship. This is the team's first year in parliamentary competition (Matt had done CEDA previously). Brant will be spending next year learning Japanese in Japan, but plans to return after that. Matt will be back next year as a formidable debater and team leader.

Continuing the Whitman winning tradition the team of first year student Brian Danielson and sophomore Akshay Garg placed 5th at Whitman. Brian and Akshay lost their break round at NPDA Nationals. Brian and Akshay's 4 wins and 4 losses record at Nationals spoke volumes for their potential and future success. Brian is most known for his love of Chile's social security system. Brian also received individual recognition taking 10th speaker in junior division at PLU and 5th at the WWU William O. Douglas Invitational. Brian's partner, Akshay, is known for having an unlimited knowledge of foreign affairs. When we say unlimited we mean more than Madeline Albright! Akshay has received individual speaker awards including 1st at Western Washington and 8th at Whitman.

Parliamentary debate has flourished throughout the year. Whitman is blessed with very interactive and encouraging team members. During competitions seniors took the time to discuss judges, opposing teams, and debate strategies. Between rounds, teammates discussed debates, introduced each other to rival teams, judges and coaches, and continued Whitman's winning tradition.


Also competing in parliamentary debate at the Whitman Tournament, Whitman had four teams that just missed advancing to outrounds. Appearing for the first time, first year students Thad Tierney and Brendon Nafzinger debated like champions. Thad and Brendon had never debated before, but were convincing enough to build a strong reputation for themselves among their fellow competitors. Lea Rees and Tony Torres in junior division acted like winners by helping new team members learn the ropes of tournament life (which is basically to do whatever Jim says). In novice division first year student Aaron Walters joined up with a partner from the University of Washington. Aaron is truly dedicated to the event because he can adapt with any partner. Thumbs up to Aaron for helping out another squad! Whitman's final team in junior division consisted of first year students Kelly Schultz and Patricia Bayley. These two sweethearts won over their competition with their arguments and confident personalities. They are women, hear them debate with class, good fashion sense, and unbeatable arguments!

David Kearney is proud of the success he and Dave Perry shared this year in Parliamentary debate.

Changes in the Coaching Staff

Diana Thomson and Abby St. Lawrence share a happy moment.

Whitman's speech and debate team will be seeing familiar faces in the coming year. Continuing his quest for truth, justice and the first place title in the Northwest, Dr. Jim Hanson is happy with the team's success this season. With Jim's new status as "Dr.," he will have even more time to spread some major motivation as he leads the team to victory. Coming back for his second year, J.P. Lacy will continue to assist the CEDA/NDT side of the team. Don't be searching for JP's face over the summer because he will be spending much of his break researching and skiing in Switzerland, and working at debate institutes until the season resumes in August.

While the team is excited to maintain old faces, they will be saying bon voyage to two coaches. Assistant IE & parliamentary debate coach Diana Thomson will be returning to sunny Nebraska to spend time with friends and family as she pursues a degree in law. David Kearney, who was an outstanding team member, will fill Diana's position. David graduated with honors and distinction in philosophy. Also leaving the team is Ryan J. Hagemann, assistant coach of IE's and parliamentary debate (and an admissions officer on the side). Ryan has been accepted to the University of Oregon Law School and is eager to get started on his new career. While the team is excited to have an outstanding coaching staff next year, Diana and Ryan's presence will be missed. Best wishes to them!

Adam Symonds will return next year after an incredibly successful season including placing 9th in the nation.