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CONTACT: MELVIN O. SHAW
100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0010; fax (319) 384-0024
e-mail: melvin-shaw@uiowa.edu

Release: Feb. 29, 2000

Statewide speech tournament will be March 2-4 at UI

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- An estimated 550 Iowa high school students will gather at the University of Iowa Thursday through Saturday, March 2-4 for this year's state speech tournament. The three-day forensics competition augments for participants--whether they win or lose--critical thinking and verbal skills needed to compete in collegiate classrooms, says Paul Bellus, coordinator of the UI's A. Craig Baird Debate Forum.

All debates are open to the public, and spectators may choose to hear either the Lincoln-Douglas-style debates at 2 p.m. at the English-Philosophy Building or the policy debates, a series of which will be held in various rooms of the Iowa Memorial Union beginning at 2 p.m.

In the Lincoln-Douglas debate style, participants volley moral propositions, such as whether individual rights outweigh the needs of a community. Lincoln-Douglas debates are more audience-centered, and proceed at a more conversational pace, Bellus says. At the policy debates, two persons debate questions about a policy, which focuses on an election year issue, such as whether the federal government should adopt policy to increase achievement in secondary schools.

Students from Iowa schools, such as Ankeny, Des Moines and Okoboji, will compete in the two format styles, both of which will help students form arguments, according to Bellus.

"In college, students are expected to construct arguments and write position papers. Debate teaches those skills. Debating is across the curriculum," Bellus says.

More high school students participate in the Lincoln-Douglas format, Bellus says; therefore, the UI's A. Craig Baird Debate Forum is planning to make that format open to more high school students, who for the spirit of competition, want to continue debating in college.

The April 14-15 Lincoln-Douglas tournament to be held at the UI will allow Bellus and other coaches to gauge students' demand for that format style.

Policy debates will he held in the following Second and Third Floor rooms at the IMU and will continue Friday and Saturday: Illinois, Wisconsin, Kirkwood, Miller, Lucas-Dodge, Northwestern, Penn State, Hoover, Indiana, Purdue, Ohio State, Michigan State, and Minnesota.