St. Edward’s University Junior, and SEUPRSSA member, Brian Brown, achieves victory at the third annual Passion and Civility Debate Tournament.
The debate final four faced off on February 26th in the Ragsdale Mabee Ballroom A. The four participates had been involved in two other rounds before facing one another for the final round. Three out the four contestants are Philosophy majors with Brown being the exception, a Communication major with a PR emphasis. Brown was the third non-philosophy student to win the event in the three years it has taken place and vowed to be the first winner to defend his victory when next year’s tournament rolls around. Last year’s winner, a Philosophy major, chose not to compete in the tournament this year despite still being a student at St. Edward’s. The debate was not meant to be conducted like most text book debates. The theory behind it, and stated in the name, is to challenge students to discuss topics from different view points while always maintaining a level of civility. They are meant to remain conversational and the debaters should always address one another. The three Philosophy majors were all on debate teams in their respective high schools and struggled with this aspect of the debate. Brown never broke eye contact and never attacked his opponents view, only stressing why he believed his was the correct stance to take. The judges responded to his frank but civil arguments. Brown has little experience debating, although he grew up in Brooklyn and jokingly points out “you never know when you’ll have to debate someone there.” He points to his PRSSA membership as well PR training in his ease at explaining differing point of views in a calm civil matter. PRSSA has helped him learn to communicate with people in a serious, important fashion, while never insulting or offending a person for their viewpoint.