Wiley College’s storied debate team is hosting a two-on-two exhibition match Friday against three-time world champions Monash University from Melbourne, Australia. It’s the first time that Wiley has debated an international team. The students will take up the issue of economic inequality and how it can be remedied, according to Christopher Medina, Wiley’s director of forensics.
“Having the Australians with a completely different perspective on economic equality as well as poverty and hunger is going to be an amazing conversation," Medina said.
Monash University competes in the world debate style and just recently lost its reigning world title to Harvard University. Medina said this match will not be bogged down in debate jargon and technicalities customary in regular competition. Instead, it will focus on achieving a higher level conversation between the two schools.
Wiley, home of the legendary "Great Debaters," recently instituted a debate across the curriculum initiative. Medina said students are learning how to craft arguments and articulate their positions through Wiley’s quality enhancement plan, “Communicate Through Debate.”
“The goal is to teach every student on campus how to debate because the tools that are used within debate are going to help them in every facet of their life," Medina said.
Wiley and Monash will debate during Wiley’s Ethical Student Leadership Conference in Marshall. It is set for Friday, Jan. 24, at 7 p.m., in the Julius S. Scott Senior Chapel. Medina said the debate will run about 45 minutes.
In 2007, the movie "The Great Debaters" told the story of Wiley's 1935 defeat of the University of Southern California, then the reigning national forensics champion. Actor Denzel Washington starred as Wiley professor Melvin B. Tolson in the movie he also directed. Washington donated $1 million to Wiley to re-energize and help fund its debate team.