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The British are coming! Debate team to visit USM

The University of Southern Mississippi Forensics Society members will battle against the British National Debate Team Monday.

This is the second year the British National Debate Team has visited Southern Miss to compete against our team. Frankie Glennis, visiting professor in the Department of Communication Studies and director of the Forensics Society, talked about how the team received this opportunity.

“So, there is a program that allows American universities to host the team each year,” Glennis said. “So we applied last year and we had such a good turnout for the event. We included all of the information about how productive we were with them last year and were granted the ability to be able to host them again this year,” he added.

Founding members of the Southern Miss Forensics Society Brandon Hersey and Michael Sims will be the two USM representatives to compete against the British National Debate Team.

Hersey and Sims debated the British National Debate Team in 2012. The team will represent Southern Miss at the 2014 World University Debating Championship in Chennai, India.

“We want them to have as much practice as possible,” Glennis said. Sims, a senior polymer science and chemistry double major, is excited for another opportunity to debate the British team.

“I’m absolutely thrilled. The event we [had] last year was so much fun and it was so fantastic, especially seeing how many people came out to watch the debate,” Sims said.

“It really was an amazing experience so to be able to do that again, you know, it’s incredible. Most people only have that kind of opportunity once in their lives so to be able to do it twice in two years, it is really something special,” he added.

“I think the British debates are a testament to how far we’ve come in two years since our creation in Fall 2011,” said Josh von Herrmann, a junior political science and communication studies double major and a founding member of the Forensics Society.

“Brandon and Michael debated the British very well last year, and I’m excited to see if they do as well against new opponents this year,” he said.

The debate topic this year is “America has lost its moral authority.” The Department of Communication Studies, with the help of Hersey and Sims, determined the topic. Steven Venette, a professor in the department and a former Forensics Society coach, played a role in deciding the topic.

An interesting aspect of the debate this year is neither team knows which side it will be debating for. This will be decided with a coin flip that will take place at the event. Audience members will also be able to text in their vote for who is winning the debate.

The debate will take place in the Thad Cochran Center in Ballroom 1. The event begins at 6 p.m.

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The British are coming! Debate team to visit USM