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While other Augustana students enjoyed their holiday break at home, members of the Augustana Debate Union participated in a series of debates in Texas before returning to complete the winter term. The famous "Texas Two-Step" is a swing-style tournament, where participants have the opportunity to compete at two separate tournaments. This year's Two-Step provided Viking debaters with the opportunity to compete in twelve debates in seven days.

Beginning January 6, the Vikings competed at the William DeMougeot Debates on the campus of the University of North Texas, Director of Debate Max Archer's undergraduate alma mater. Augustana received recognition at the Demougeot Debates for advancing to the octafinals elimination round, also known as the "Sweet 16." Sophomore Kofi Sam and First Year Jamila Washington advanced with a 4-2 record after debates with the University of Minnesota, the University of Texas at San Antonio, Samford University and the University of Oklahoma.

After their competitive run at UNT, the Vikings moved on to the University of Texas at Dallas. Beginning January 10, Sam and Washington competed against the University of Missouri-Kansas City, Oklahoma, the University of Richmond, the University of Miami (FL), and the University of Louisiana-Lafayette.

Kofi and Jamila were joined at both halves of the swing by their fellow Viking debaters, Junior Samantha Hoffman and Senior Tiffany Curry. Hoffman and Curry competed in several debates at both tournaments against students from the University of Rochester, the University of Louisiana-Lafayette, the University of Miami (FL) and Kansas State University.

The Vikings emerged victorious in many contests at both tournaments and also acquired unique knowledge and training over 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 incoming President Obama's ability to work with Congress on important agenda items and result in tremendous implications for the environment.

The Vikings head out again January 23 to the United States Naval Academy tournament in hopes of continuing the success experienced in Texas.

Students interested in joining the debate team should contact Max Archer, Director of Debate at 309-794-7717 or Meetings are held on Tuesdays at 10:30AM in the Augustana Debate Union, Old Main 19.


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