British team returns to debate public protests

On Nov. 10, the Southern Miss Forensics Society will host the British National Debate team for a third annual debate.

According to the event’s Facebook page, each year two university students from Great Britain are selected to represent the entire United Kingdom. The two students tour the United States to debate collegiate teams at various universities across the country. Southern Miss will be the only school visited in Mississippi and one of the few universities in the southeastern U.S. to host the British National Debate Team. 

Joshua Von Herrmann and Meredith McPhail from Southern Miss will debate Kate Brooks and Alice Huntley from the U.K. Von Herrmann is the president and a founding member of the Southern Miss Forensics Society, while McPhail is vice president and reigning Pi Kappa Delta (a forensics honorary society) Novice national debate champion.

“I’m really excited about participating in the British debates this year after watching the event for the past two years,” Von Herrmann said. “Every year, this event draws a huge crowd, which is really awesome to me because it shows how much students at USM value open discussion
of ideas.”

The topic of the debate this year is the use of state force, such as police action, to stop public protest.

“The team developed the topic to address and explore some of the issues going on with protests in Ferguson and other places around the world, like Hong Kong,” McPhail said. “We always try to pick something that leaves ground for both sides and will be really interesting and relevant for a broad audience. We will be taking the affirmative position, upholding that the use of state force is justified to quell public protest.”

There will be real-time voting and results from the audience throughout the debate through the use of cellphones and social media.

The debate will be in the Thad Cochran Center Ballroom I and is free to the public. The event begins at 6 p.m. and is expected to end by 7 p.m.