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NewsLess than two weeks after the grueling Texas Two-Step, members of the Augustana Debate Union travelled to Annapolis, Maryland, to compete in the Philip Warken Memorial Tournament held on the campus of the United States Naval Academy. Six rounds of competition allowed first-year students Jamila Washington and Erich Deicke to gain a deeper knowledge of this year's debate topic in preparation for the final push towards a national championship.

On January 23-25, the Vikings competed at the Naval Academy tournament against Wayne State University (MI), Liberty University (VA), the United States Military Academy (Army, NY), the United States Naval Academy, the University of Miami (FL) and Clarion University (PN). The Vikings emerged victorious in many contests featuring this year's topic:

Resolved: that the United States Federal Government should substantially reduce its agricultural support, at least eliminating nearly all of the domestic subsidies, for biofuels, Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations, corn, cotton, dairy, fisheries, rice, soybeans, sugar and/or wheat.

In policy debate, students argue for and against the resolution in alternating contests. On the affirmative side, the Vikings argued that federal subsidies for Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations, or "factory farms," contributed to poor relations between the United States and Russia, endangered the future of bee populations used to pollinate food supplies and made the United States vulnerable to an "agroterrorism" attack. On the negative, students argued that reducing subsidies would negatively affect President Obama's ability to work with Congress on the economic stimulus package and result in tremendous implications for the environment.

Following the contests held in Annapolis, Deicke and coach Max Archer spent a few hours touring the nation's capital before boarding their flight to return to the Quad Cities. The Viking debaters were able to view the White House, the Washington Monument, the Capitol Building, the Supreme Court, as well as many other notable government buildings, less than one week after President Obama's inauguration. Following days of intellectually exhausting debates, Sunday's short sight-seeing tour gave the debaters some needed free time and interesting experiences to share with fellow Augustana students.


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