Congratulations to Our Newest Novice Class!
The team outside a novice’s door when they were unfortunately not there :(

The team outside a novice’s door when they were unfortunately not there :(

On Monday, September 17th, the Columbia Debate team gathered on the steps of Barnard Hall. Beginning in the quad, members of the team visited each new novice’s door and surprised them with a warm welcome. While some of the novices were not in their homes, we caught a few of them wandering the halls of Carman and John Jay - luckily recognizing them from among the crowd.

Congratulations to our newest novice class:

Emily, BC’22, whose roommate we rudely woke up (sorry!)

Emily, BC’22, whose roommate we rudely woke up (sorry!)

Camille Carter BC’22

Cassandra Marcussen CC’22

Catherine Zhu BC’22

Chengfeng Shao GS’20

Chris Wang CC’22

Cyrus Jackson CC’22

Delphine Lepeintre SEAS’22

Devyani Goel CC’22

Elizabeth Hong CC’20

Emily Ringel BC’22

Fré Halvorson-Taylor CC’22

Gigi Wade CC’22

Hamish Barker GS’21

Hart Rapaport CC’22

Henry Magowan CC’22

Pierre, CC’22, amongst friends

Pierre, CC’22, amongst friends

Henry Williams CC’22

Nikhil Lahiri CC’22

Pierre Rodgers CC’22

Radhika Mehta CC’22

Rahul Bhatia CC’22

Robert Vogel CC’22

Samarth Chawla SEAS’20

Selina Wang CC’22

Srivatsav Pyda CC’21

Tasman Fell CC’21

Yaniv Goren CC’22

Yasemin Reis SEAS’22

RecruitmentColumbia Debate
Michael Wang and Zoë Ewing Debate École de Guerre Officers

In our continuing relationship with École Militaire, the French War College based in Paris, we sent debaters Michael Wang and Zoë Ewing to debate against École de Guerre Officers at the United Nations.

Each year, the École Militaire selects ten senior officers to join their debate team. Senior officers typically have 15 years of experience in the field. Unlike the US, there is little debate culture in France and consequently the École Militaire debate team travels to the United States to debate against teams like the Columbia Debate Society. The teams debated the motion:

This House supports state-mandated encryption backdoors

While there, Michael and Zoe also attended a briefing by the French Ambassador to the United Nations and spoke with French officials. 

Columbia Welcomes its Newest Novice Class!

On Friday, 9/8, many CDS members came by our table at the Activities fair to converse with interested freshman and transfers and share their experiences on the team. Our neon pink flyers stood out among the bushels of paper floating around, and by 4:00PM, were all gone, along with 40% of tryouts slots for the weekend. Despite popular assumptions, much of the interest in CDS came from freshmen who have had limited to no experience in high school debate. Many had an interest in public speaking, some in establishing an intercollegiate network, and others were just looking for a tight-knit team on campus. 

The start of school is bittersweet for many. At Columbia, the beginning of the Fall semester marks a return to classes, sports, activities, and seasonal Starbucks lattes. For the Debate Society, the first week of school is devoted to recruiting our new class of novices. 

On the first Sunday back, the CDS board met to confirm this year's recruitment strategy, which focused heavily on equity and inclusion. Team members quickly got to work posting flyers in class buildings, club meeting spaces and dorms, contacting leaders of cultural and affinity groups, and sliding flyers under the door of every CC, SEAS, and Barnard freshman. 


In response to dozens of eager questions about the format, subject matter, and social climate of debate, our varsity members happily invited new students to our demo debate that night. 

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

At 7:30, over seventy people assembled assembled in the Lerner Party Space to watch Hannah Healy ('20) and Adem Sengal ('18) on the Government debate Taro Irani ('18) and Hilary Song ('20) on the following motion:

This house, as the feminist movement, would oppose corporations using feminist messaging in advertising.

The motion made for an interesting round, evoking clash on the implications of feminism for a modern woman. Arguments about mainstream Dove® commercials promoting body positivity faced off against arguments about the importance of intersectional feminism that represents and empowers the movement's minorities. The debaters kept the audience engaged with humor and thought-provoking content throughout the round.

By the end of the night, the signup sheet had overflowed, spilling into three extra hours on Monday night. In total, the board saw 140 tryouts, making deliberation exceptionally difficult this year. Nonetheless, on Tuesday night, about twenty CDS members, flag in hand, made their way around campus to initiate the new novice class. 


The Columbia Debate Society is incredibly excited to welcome our twenty-one new members, CDS class of '17: 

Alexander Keefe
Avital Raff
Céline Zhu
Claire Bruster
Dhruv Singh
Emily DiMaulo-Milk
Grace Protasiewicz
Leopold Aschenbrenner
Lilly Anderson
Matt Zinman
Matthew Simons

Max Neuman
Michael Wang
Moti Benti
Oliver Wang
Rodda John
Tanmay Chopra
Varun Venkatesh
Vivian Liu
Zach Ginsberg
Zoë Ewing

Congratulations, and welcome!!

RecruitmentColumbia Debate
Columbia defeats West Point Academy in demo debate about military interrogation tactics

On April 28th, Tomás Esteve and Dan Driscoll of the Columbia Debate Society took on two debaters from West Point in a public exposition on the following resolution: This house would utilize enhanced interrogation in the fight against terrorism. The room was packed full of debaters from both schools, friends, family, and spectators, all eager to watch what was expected to be an exciting round. The West Point debaters, clad in their cadet uniforms, argued in favor of solitary confinement and other enhanced interrogation methods. While Dan outlined the moral implications of such an action, Tomás focused his speech time on the pragmatic approach, together constructing an opposition case that won the debate on a 2-0 decision. Both Esteve and Driscoll were awarded Medals of Excellence in the Humanities by a representative of West Point upon finishing the debate.

Columbia Debate Goes Up Against Rikers Island Inmates

The topic was on the elimination plea bargains. Columbia argued that plea bargains result in innocent defendants choosing to plea guilty out of fear of harsh sentences sought by prosecutors. Jackson and Moussignac were valiant opponents, however, and the 7 person panel gave the win to Rikers in a 4-3 vote.

Read the full coverage in the Wall Street Journal.

Columbia Debate team members Adrian Ivashkiv and Arnold Lee participated in a debate against Rikers Island inmates Kori Jackson, 22, and Jack Moussignac, 35.