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Tue Oct 6, 2015, 09:49 PM

Harvard's prestigious debate team loses to New York prison inmates

Harvard's prestigious debate team loses to New York prison inmates

Prisoners in maximum-security jail undertaking college courses beat Ivy League students who had won a national title only months ago

Months after winning a national title, Harvardís debate team has fallen to a group of New York prison inmates.

The showdown took place at the Eastern Correctional Facility in New York, a maximum-security prison where convicts can take courses taught by faculty from nearby Bard college, and where inmates have formed a popular debate club. Last month they invited the Ivy League undergraduates and this yearís national debate champions over for a friendly competition.

The Harvard debate team was crowned world champions in 2014. But the inmates are building a reputation of their own. In the two years since they started a debate club, the prisoners have beaten teams from the US military academy at West Point and the University of Vermont. The competition with West Point, which is now an annual affair, has grown into a rivalry.

At Bard, those who helped teach the inmates were not particularly surprised by their success.

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Reply Harvard's prestigious debate team loses to New York prison inmates (Original post)
FlatBaroque Oct 2015 OP
prayin4rain Oct 2015 #1
FlatBaroque Oct 2015 #2
ThoughtCriminal Oct 2015 #3

Response to FlatBaroque (Original post)

Tue Oct 6, 2015, 10:01 PM

1. Wow, that's pretty interesting. n/t

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Response to prayin4rain (Reply #1)

Tue Oct 6, 2015, 10:49 PM

2. It sure is

I wonder if the age/life experience differential accounts for the result

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Response to FlatBaroque (Reply #2)

Tue Oct 6, 2015, 11:28 PM

3. College Debaters, especially those who compete in NDT circles often have a hard time adapting

to public debate formats. Outsiders have a hard time comprehending what is going on in an NDT (National Debate Tournament) competition with its incomprehensible speed, peculiar jargon and often off the wall arguments.

Harvard's debaters had to adapt to a style that they do not use in competition.

For comparison in movies, see "Rocket Science" vs. "The Great Debaters"



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