Osgoode debating team takes runner-up prize in Hawaii

An Osgoode Debate Society (ODS) team won runner-up at the Pan Pacific Championship tournament in Honolulu, Hawaii, hosted annually by Hawaii Pacific University. The tournament draws some of the best schools from both sides of the Pacific.

Stephanie Marple (class of 2012) and James Stevenson (class of 2013) competed in the three-day tournament, Feb. 18 to 20, comprised of six rounds of British Parliamentary debate. Universities from the United States, Korea and Canada, including New York University, Seattle University, the University of La Verne from California and Sogang University from Korea.

Right: James Stevenson (left)and Stephanie Marple hold up their tiki-themed trophies in front of the lush Oahu backdrop in Hawaii

After preliminary rounds of debate which covered such topics as the merits of private spaceflight, prohibiting private citizens from recording police in public and revoking citizenship rights of terrorists, the ODS team broke into the semifinal round.

Marple and Stevenson successfully argued their way into the grand final round, ultimately landing the tournament’s runner-up prize. They were also the top novice team – those in the first year of competitive debating – at the tournament and were ranked higher than several other experienced teams.

Both members of the team also garnered individual recognition. Marple was the top novice speaker and the fifth best speaker overall, while Stevenson was the second best novice speaker and 11th best speaker overall.

This marks another achievement for Marple and Stevenson who, at the beginning of the academic year, reached the semifinal round of the 2010 Central Novice Championships held at McGill University.

The Osgoode Debate Society (formerly the Osgoode Hall Debate Society) was founded in the 1920s. It is the only law school debate society in Canada, and is among a select few in North America, including Yale University and Harvard University. ODS is affiliated with the York Debating Society, a student-run organization dedicated to promoting debate, public speaking and discussion of issues in an intellectual environment. The society holds public debates, hosts debating tournaments at the university and high school levels, and facilitates debating workshops for students at York and surrounding high schools.