Debate takes crown at championships

Jose Brambila
Editorial Director

Brooke Grasso
LV Life Editor

The University of La Verne debate team was crowned the fall U.S. National Debate Champions Nov. 19 at the Claremont Colleges, and is now heading to the World Championships in Mexico City this December.

The debate team faced competitors from University of California Berkeley, University of Southern California, University of California Los Angeles, Pepperdine University and Loyola Marymount University among others. After 10 rounds, the remaining teams for the final open round consisted of two ULV teams, USC and UCLA.

The team of junior sociology major Michael Eberle and senior political science and speech communications double major Joanna Mrsich walked away as the champions. Freshman political science major Tania Ruedas and junior criminology major Hannah Reyes won first place in the novice division.

Eberle said he was focused on performing to the best of his ability in the tournament.

“I don’t ever expect to have any result really,” Eberle said. “Every round is different and every team is going to run a different set of arguments. You can see the same team four times, but you will hear four different arguments.”

Some topics covered in the debate included; whether citizenship should be a privilege not a right, if it’s okay to punish the innocent to prosecute the guilty, that states should have the option to secede from the U.S. every ten years, and if political candidates should undergo lie detector tests.

The winning topic was whether society has the right to autonomy and privacy online.

“People have the ability to post stuff online and create their own online persona,” Mrsich said of La Verne’s winning argument. “People go through phases, for example maybe a girl loses her dad and decides to post nude pictures online. Later she should have the ability to erase that permanently, but she doesn’t because it will always be stuck in metadata.”

ULV’s debate team returned from a debate in Oxford, England just one day before their competition at the Claremont Colleges.

“They constantly train through tournaments and practice three times a week, there is no break for them,” debate coach and forensics director Rob Ruiz said.

Preparing for the World Championships will be no different as two La Verne teams get ready to take on international debate teams in Mexico City. The La Verne debate team has been going to the world championships since 1999.

“We are going to Mexico City in December to compete internationally with teams from all over the world,” Reyes said. “It’s really humbling, we don’t really expect to win anything, but it’s that mentality of just getting there.”

Before World’s, Ruiz is judging the Bard College Prison Debates at East New York Correctional Facility. On the team of the prison debaters are four felons who will compete against Morehouse College.

“I think everyone has the ability to be educated, it’s just unfortunate that either decisions they made or injustices that occurred have them in that situation,” Ruiz said. “But at least they’re afforded the opportunity to participate in something we are doing out here that is educational, and I find that fascinating.”

Jose Brambila can be reached at

Brooke Grasso can be reached at

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