Baruch’s New Debate Team Is Off to an Auspicious Start
Baruch College has a new debate team—and it’s off to a splendid start. In their first two tournaments, held in October at SUNY Binghamton and West Point, Nicole Lee (’08); Danielle Lemberg (’08); Jae Chung (’09), and their teammates excelled in the preliminary stages and “broke into” the elimination rounds.
This is a considerable feat for a new team, according to coach Victoria (Vik) Keenan. Keenan, who has coached dozens of college students in forensics, is very impressed with the organization and poise of the Baruchians, calling them “very smart” and “instinctive debaters.” Danielle Lemberg reports that at West Point she and her partner Jae Chung “ranked fourth out of fifty novice teams. We won a military-issued jar of peanut butter.” Yum.
The arrival of the debate team on campus delights David Birdsell, acting dean of the School of Public Affairs, who helped launch it. Birdsell calls debating “one of the premier intellectual activities,” and one that hones both verbal and analytic skills.
And the educational dividends don’t stop there. This year’s theme for all participants in the Cross-Examination Debate Association, to which Baruch belongs, is China and its relationship with the United States. Over the course of the year, students will examine every aspect of Chinese policy, including its record on trade, human rights, Taiwan, and weapons non-proliferation. “There are some estimates that people who debate for a year will have the equivalent of a master’s degree in knowledge,” says coach Keenan.