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Iowa high school debaters argue issues of democracy at Drake student debate

MEDIA CONTACT: Tory Olson, 515-271-1834, tory.olson@drake.edu

Eight Iowa high school debate teams will compete in the Citizens Arise! Student Debate on Tuesday, Feb. 23, at Drake University. The event is part of Cowles Library’s ongoing Citizen’s Arise! initiative designed to educate students, teachers and the general public about the importance of responsible citizenship.

Eight Iowa high schools with reputations for excellence in debate were invited to participate: Ankeny, Dowling Catholic, Indianola, Okoboji, Roosevelt, Valley, Waukee and Winterset. The event was originally scheduled for Jan. 26, but postponed due to bad weather.

One two-student team from each school will compete in the public forum style debate arguing in support of or rejection of the resolution topic. The topic is whether or not the abridging by the United States federal government of individual state powers granted by the 10th Amendment is justified.

The Citizens Arise! Student Debate is free and open to the public. The final round will be held at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 23, in the Cowles Library Reading Room, 2725 University Ave.

Judges for the debate will be Drake Law School faculty members Dennis Goldford, Gordon Allen, Ian Bartrum and Lisa Penland, along with Ralph Siddall, visiting instructor of rhetoric and communications at Drake. They will be following rules as outlined by the National Forensics League.

The debate is the final event this academic year of the multi-year Citizens Arise! initiative. In its first phase, the initiative’s theme is focused on historical awareness and events have included two national traveling exhibits — “John Adams Unbound” and “Abraham Lincoln: A Man for His Time, A Man for All Times” — plus several lectures by guest professors and American history experts. The second phase, during the 2010-11 academic year, will focus on discourse and dissent. Events will be announced later this year.

Citizens Arise! The Foundations of Democracy promotes the importance of the democratic process as an instrument for managing the challenges of the 21st century. Through public exhibits, lectures and other special programs, Citizens Arise! promotes historical awareness, responsible discourse and dissent, and support for democratic institutions.  

For more information about “Citizens Arise!” visit www.citizensarise.drake.edu or contact Claudia Frazer at 515-271-3776 or claudia.frazer@drake.edu.