WASHINGTON (PRWEB) March 17, 2022
Gallaudet University announced today that it will begin its second year of intercollegiate debate competition during the annual Social Justice Debates March 25-27 at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia. This is the first time that a team of deaf students using American Sign Language and English is competing in a multi-school intercollegiate debate competition.
The Social Justice Debates are an annual intercollegiate debate series founded in 2016 by Morehouse College and George Washington University. The only intercollegiate debate series in the world dedicated to social justice topics, the Social Justice Debates aspire to promote productive and rigorous debates challenging current and future thought leaders to consider issues of justice in relation to the distribution of wealth, opportunity, and privilege in U.S. society.
This year’s proposition is “The adoption of a mandatory racial desegregation policy for K-12 public schools is desirable.”
Lexi Hill, a junior from Tyler, Texas and Aubrey Moorman, a junior from Laurel, Maryland, will vie against other Social Justice Debates participants in the weekend competition at Morehouse College. The Gallaudet University debate team consists of three veterans: Hill, Moorman, and Romel Thurman from Berkeley, California; and four newcomers: Lorelei Becktel-Lipscomb from East Lansing, Michigan; Daniel Miers from Columbia, Maryland; La Toya Plummer from Landover, Maryland; and Charles Spiers from Rockville, Maryland.
Dr. Brendan Stern, a deaf faculty member in Gallaudet’s School of Civic Leadership, Business, and Social Change and executive director of the Center for Democracy in Deaf America, is head coach, and Suzanne Rosen Singleton, a deaf attorney and Chief of the Disability Rights Office at the Federal Communications Commission, is assistant coach. Gallaudet University President Roberta J. Cordano, Interim Provost Jeffrey Lewis, Dean of the Faculty Khadijat Rashid, Center for Black Deaf Studies director Carolyn McCaskill, and other university officials are expected to attend.
Dr. Stern said, “Gallaudet University has seven talented debaters who have devoted significant time and energy preparing and they are more than ready to compete. To watch them grow as thinkers, orators, and leaders while opening the minds and hearts of diverse audiences beyond our campus has validated the value of debate – not just for our students but for Gallaudet, deaf people, and society.”
The Gallaudet University debate team, the first in the university’s 158-year history, was formed during the 2020-2021 academic year. Gallaudet debaters competed in an exhibition debate, conducted in American Sign Language and English, against George Washington University in April 2021. Both teams debated the proposition “Statehood for Washington, D.C. should be granted.” After a lively debate, the judges declared Gallaudet the winner based on the quality of their logic, research, and analysis.
Gallaudet’s debate team is one of several programs under the Center for Democracy in Deaf America. The Center, founded by Dr. Stern and staffed almost entirely by students, also conducts educational and outreach programs, including a panel discussion on the Russia-Ukraine conflict, a watch party for the State of the Union address, voter registration drives, and a youth debate competition for deaf and hard of hearing middle and high school students.
Gallaudet University Debate Team to Face United States Naval Academy in April
The Gallaudet debate team also competes April 29 with the United States Naval Academy. This debate will be held on the Gallaudet University campus in northeast Washington, D.C. It will address whether deaf people should be allowed to serve in the U.S. Armed Forces. Each team will have one debater from each of the two schools, a novel approach that is designed to promote greater awareness of, by, and for the Deaf and military communities.
Gallaudet University, federally chartered in 1864, is a bilingual, diverse, multicultural institution of higher education that ensures the intellectual and professional advancement of Deaf, hard of hearing and Deafblind individuals through American Sign Language and English. The university enrolls over 1,600 students in more than 40 undergraduate majors and many master’s and doctoral programs. It also conducts research in various fields, including accessible technology, Deaf history and culture, Black Deaf history and culture, brain imaging, educational neuroscience, education, linguistics, and psychology.
The Durkin Agency