Texan Debate practices begin

By: Sierra Wells

Managing Editor

Tarleton State University’s spring 2022 Texan Debate, which will be discussing the Texas Heartbeat Law, is just around the corner. The event is set to take place on April 13 in the Clyde H. Wells Fine Arts Center at 6 p.m.

“The best opinion is an educated opinion, and if you show up to the debate, you’ll have a chance to learn something, hopefully about both sides,” Texan Debate Director Winston Dawson said.

Though Dawson had initially avoided abortion as a debate topic due to the strong emotions the subject evokes, he ultimately decided to cover the Heartbeat Law after abortion discussions became increasingly present on campus.

The Spring 2022 Texan Debate flier.
Photo courtesy: Winston Dawson

“Last semester there was a prolife group on campus that started a lot of conversation, not necessarily pro their side,” Dawson said. “Just, there was a lot of interaction, and the kids said that they would get involved. They wanted to debate it, so I just kind of go by what I think students will like.”

Beginning on Feb. 21, debate practices will be at 4 p.m. in Math 134 every Monday and Tuesday. 

The number of debaters fluctuates depending on the year. Currently, about a dozen students have already volunteered for this semester’s debate.

Though, COVID-19 has severely impacted its structure and attendance over the last few semesters, the debate is starting to return to normal operations.

“Last spring, we did the debate in the newsroom because we weren’t even trying to have an audience. It’s made participation go down. It’s made attendance go down, but we do feel like it’s coming back,” Dawson said.

Evening debates are streamed live on YouTube. Last fall’s debate discussed banning assault weapons.

For anyone interested in watching the topic unfold, the official debate will take place on April 13 at 6 p.m. in the Clyde H. Wells Fine Arts Center. Results will be determined based on a live audience poll.

“Whenever you first walk into the debate, what you’ll see is a poll, a live poll, on the screen that you participate in as an audience member. So, this year it will be ‘Do you support the heartbeat bill? Are you pro or against,’ and then we’ll see the votes up there,” Dawson said. “So, if a hundred people are up there, all 100 people will vote, and we’ll see the results. Then, they’ll debate, and at the end of the debate, the audience will vote again to see if anybody’s mind was changed.”

The debate is still open for participation for any interested Tarleton students.

“It’s a great experience. So, I really like it when I get people who, say the abortion, if I can get a prolife person to debate the prochoice side,” Dawson said. “Because it just helps you understand other people’s point of view better, and it may not exactly change your mind, but it will get us away from this ‘othering’ that we do.”

If you would like to participate in the debate, contact wdawson@tarleton.edu

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