For the second straight time and third overall, the Towson University Debate Team won the CEDA championship after Kevin Whitley and Troi Thomas defeated the University of Kansas in the final round on a 6-3 decision.
According to Assistant Director of Debate Amber Kelsie, Towson is “now among a select group of schools – four including Towson University – to ever have back-to-back championships. We are the first school to ever win back-to-back with two entirely different teams. According to some metrics, this win places Towson second overall in CEDA success behind Oklahoma University, the only school with four championships.”
Towson University also won second place in the CEDA district sweepstakes, which measures the entire team’s progress and success over the course of the season. Whitley won the All-American Debater Award, given to debaters who “represent the best of intercollegiate debate,” through competitive success, academic success, good conduct, and contributions to their squad.
The debate resolution this year was, “Resolved: The United States should legalize all or nearly all of the following: marijuana, online gambling, physician-assisted suicide, prostitution, the sale of human organs.”
“Kansas was on the affirmative and Towson was on the negative,” said Kelsie. “Kansas argued that the figure of the prostitute is racialized and stigmatized, and that we should affirm the figure of the prostitute to disrupt respectability politics which hurts sex workers as well as women who are not sex workers but are then slut-shamed and solicited for non-consensual sex.
“Towson argued that the politics of the affirmative was one which tried to normalize stigmatized groups rather than challenging the entire system of normalcy which makes some people stigmatized in the first place,” Kelsie added. “We challenged the aesthetic politics of the affirmative and argued that instead of focusing on sex work as purely an issue which affects women, we should understand prostitution as an abject position that is powerful in its own right. We called this different kind of politics that rejects normalcy ‘black anality.’ Our research drew from several disciplines, namely black feminism, queer and trans theory, aesthetics, and disability studies.”
Additionally, Kelsie was elected to second vice president of CEDA, a three-year term that successively moves to second vice president, first vice president and president.
“I hope taking this position will help us be better community members in debate and allow us to continue modeling what a diverse and successful program can be,” Kelsie said.
The team is preparing for the next championship, the 69th National Debate Tournament hosted by the University of Iowa in Iowa City. The competition takes place Friday, April 3 through Monday, April 6.