An IU team won the Crowe-Warken Debate Tournament Jan. 19-21 at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, for the first time.
Five IU teams attended the tournament this year, and over 50 teams competed overall. IU’s winning duo was senior Harry Aaronson, team president, and junior Cameron Dehmlow Dunne.
Aaronson and Dunne’s team was ranked 15th in the country before the debate, debate team coach Brian DeLong said.
This year’s debate topic centered around restricting the power of the president and executive authority. Aaronson said students debated about President Trump and presidential power in general, addressing concerns like nuclear weapons or foreign relations.
The debate began with eight preliminary rounds, followed by an elimination round, which was judged by graduate students, professors and debate coaches.
“There was an excellent quality of competition from the other contestants,” Aaronson said. “We competed against several Big Ten rivals and other major national competitors. It was very satisfying and exciting to come out on top.”
The tournament started Saturday and ended Monday. Aaronson said the winners were not announced until 12:30 a.m. Tuesday.
The Crowe-Warken competition has been around since 1965 and brings in almost 200 students from around the country, DeLong said.
The IU Debate Team was established in 2010 and now includes about 20 students. For the Crowe-Warken Debate Tournament, pairs of two competed from the IU team. IU attended the Crowe-Warken Debate Tournament three times in the past eight years but never placed first until this year.
IU’s debate season begins in September, but Aaronson said preparation for the Crowe-Warken tournament began before the school year started.
Aaronson said the debate team arrives on campus a week before classes start and continues to meet weekly and research individually throughout the school year.
DeLong said he helps students solidify their stances for the debate and does any last minute research students need while they’re at the competition. He said the team puts in 30 to 40 hours of work a week.
DeLong said he is proud of Aaronson and Dunne’s positivity.
“The duo arrived in Annapolis knowing they should be in the championship round of the Naval Academy,” DeLong said. “This team has shown that Indiana University has Hoosier students with the intellectual strength and drive to compete against any university in the nation.”