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British National, LBJ Debate teams to discuss free speech

Posted by Jayme Blaschke
University News Service
October 11, 2011

The British National Debate Team and the LBJ Debate Society of Texas State University-San Marcos will present a public debate 6:30 p.m. October 13 in the Alkek Teaching Theatre on campus.

The public debate on Thursday is a part of the Great Society Debate Series sponsored by the LBJ Debate Society. The debate will address this year’s Common Experience theme, “Freedoms: The First Amendment,” by debating the topic “This House would restrict the right to speak freely in the United States.”

The debate is the highlight of a four-day stop in San Marcos on the USA Tour for the British National Debate Team. The British Tour of the USA, sponsored by the English Speaking Union and the National Communication Association, has been running since 1922, and is the oldest and arguably the most prestigious universities debating tour in the world. The list of alumni boasts a former British Prime Minister, a Leader of the Opposition, an Archbishop of Canterbury, many senior politicians, journalists and top international businessmen.

A reciprocal U.S. tour of Great Britain is held in the spring. The U.S. National Team is competitively selected from across the nation and in 2004, Matt Tiffee from Texas State was chosen to represent the U.S.

The 2011 British Team is composed of Richard Robinson and Ben Jasper. Robinson is a recent graduate from Manchester University, where he received a first class degree in law. Jasper graduated from Wadham College, Oxford, with a first class degree in modern history and a master’s of philosophy in politics. He recently completed a graduate diploma in law.

Representing Texas State in the debate will be the team of Shanna Schultz, a political science major from Houston, and Ryan Herrera, a senior political science major from San Antonio. Herrera and Schultz are accomplished debaters who recently advanced to the semi-final round in British Parliamentary Debate at the 49th Annual Air Force Academy Forensics Tournament in Colorado Springs, Colo. They, along with Luis Baez and Laura Driver, represented Texas State at the Oxford IV last year and have been named to the Texas All-State Collegiate Debate Team. Herrera also was an adjudicator at the Worlds Universities Debating Championships in Anatalya, Turkey in 2010.

The LBJ Debate Society, named for President Lyndon Johnson who debated for Texas State, is one of the oldest organizations on the Texas State campus dating back to the Chautauqua Literary Society in 1903. Students interested in membership should contact Wayne Kraemer, the director of forensics, in the Communication Studies Department.