Ruby Aguirre (left) DaMon Thomas (center) and Olivian Gainer (right) during debate practice at Siemens Hall on April 7. Photo by Luis Lopez.

Humboldt State debates Irish National Debate Champions


Humboldt State University’s debate team dedicates 13 hours a week discussing uncomfortable subjects.

The HSU debate team debated against the Irish National Debate Champions on April 11. The team spoke on why “violence is necessary for political action.”

The HSU debate team argued the positives of the topic.

The three competing members of the HSU debate team are Ruby Aguirre, Olivia Gainer and DaMon Thomas. Aguirre and Thomas have been on the debate team for two years. Gainer has been on the debate team for a year and is the team’s vice president.

Ruby Arguirre of the HSU Debate team. Video by Luis Lopez.

Aguirre is a masters social work graduate.

“People always get nervous when we talk about heavy topics,” Aguirre said. “But people need to understand that what we talk about happens everyday.”

Thomas is majoring in communications.

“One of the topics that we talk about that gets me passionate is Black rights or minority diversity,” Thomas said. “Debating is like doing reps. I get comfortable talking about these topics.”

Gainer is majoring in philosophy.

“When it comes to being nervous in front of people, that’s something that never goes away,” Gainer said. “But with practice, I overcome those nerves.”

The way a debate works is each member presents their argument to the audience. The affirmative (HSU debate team) speaks on the topic, and the opposition (Irish debate team) can raise their hand to question the argument. After the affirmative is done speaking, the opposition can argue about the negatives of the affirmative’s argument.

Aodhan Peelo of the Irish National Champions. Video by Luis Lopez.

Judgement was done by the audience’s vote. The audience voted in favor of the Irish debate team by 70 percent.

Both teams presented their arguments with passion on the controversial topic.

Aaron Donaldson is the coach of the HSU debate team.

“The debate team has traveled eight times each year to attend debate exhibitions,” Donaldson said. “This will be the first time this year that the debate team will be having a debate on campus.”

From April 12-16 the HSU debate team attends the U.S. National Debate Championship held at Stanford University.

“I think especially now more than ever it is important to have debates on difficult subjects,” Donaldson said.

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One Comment

  1. John John Sunday, April 22, 2018

    It’s shocking that young people are even being taken seriously when they want to advocate for violence as a tool to achieve political change. This goes against everything the civil rights movement was about.

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