Talking Mules stand at 7-11 midway through Montgomery Cup Tournament

Written by Muleskinner Staff

Features Editor

Talking Mules tie Glasgow to start the cup

(GLASGOW, Scotland, digitalBURG) — The University of Central Missouri’s debate team tied 3-3 at their first debate against Glasgow University’s Debating Society March 7 in Glasgow, Scotland.

The debate, which took place in the Reading Room at Glasgow University, lasted two hours. Students from both universities debated the idea of compulsory trade unions.

Jeff May, graduate assistant for the UCM Talking Mules, served as prime minister during the debate.

“In this debate, my partner and I were opening government and we wound up getting second place,” May said. “Our partners on the side of the argumentations from Glasgow actually got first place and then the other UCM team got third and the other Glasgow team got fourth.”

Talking Mules member Michael Hutton said ranks are rewarded based on performance during the debate. Each rank is given a different point value: first place gets two points, second place gets one point, third place gets negative one point and fourth place gets negative two points.

Alexander Robertson, a student at Glasgow University, presented the opening opposition. He said there was room for improvement.

“We certainly need to improve what we were talking about,” Robertson said. “A lot of it was subjective and we really need to expand what we were talking about, but aside from that it was pretty good.”

Noemi Katrina Gauthier, coach of the Glasgow University team, said the proposition branch won mainly because their arguments were backed up with analysis and reason.

“The closing team gave us more analytical reasons as to why we should believe their claims and to kind of give us much more links and much more stronger rebuttal on the things that the opposition teams were saying,” Gauthier said.

May believes the tie wasn’t necessarily a bad thing.

“Ties are good because, you know, if we get to the end of this whole tournament, and it’s a tie, (a) tie stays with the winner of last year, which was us,” May said.

Talking Mules take in tradition at St. Andrews

(ST. ANDREWS, Scotland, digitalBURG) — The Talking Mules lost 2-4 against St. Andrews University’s debate society Thursday, March 9, in the Lower Parliament Hall in St. Andrews, Scotland, in a debate that included a sword, a giant book and vivid red robes.

The debate began with St. Andrews debate society’s ceremonial tradition of swearing in a new

president. Members from St. Andrews burst through the door and declared the outgoing president, Beckie Thomas, an imposter. The new president, Ru Ferguson, was carried in by members of his team and placed on the president’s seat.

Thomas said public debates at St. Andrews have been going on for hundreds of years, so a lot of

traditions have accrued over time, like the wearing of red robes to indicate class level and major.

“Throughout the debate, they’ll be a number of quirky traditions that we do,” Thomas said. “So the minutes are read in the style of an impression at the beginning of the debate…we have things like, our sergeant carries a sword to protect the president at all times.”

Ferguson said a plague struck Edinburgh in the 17th century, forcing the Scottish Parliamentary chamber to meet in the Lower Parliament Hall until the plague subsided.

“The debating society…is the oldest of its kind within the UK, so it was set up in 1793-1794,” Ferguson said. “And so it’s technically older than the Oxford Union and the Cambridge Union… so it’s the oldest debating society in the English-speaking world.”

After Ferguson was sworn in as the next president, both universities debated the idea of regretting monogamy.

Samantha Callaway, an elementary education major in her second year with the Talking Mules, said the debate was different than debates in America.

“It was a lot more…. traditional and ceremonial, which I thought was kind of neat seeing the different perspectives of that within one country in and of itself,” Callaway said. “I think considering going into a debate with a topic such as monogamous relationships, it was already a toss-up in being a debate over something not particularly often debated with analysis and critical implications, so the coaches and adjudicators had to do what they had to do in order to get us the best possible outcome.”

Samuel Eames, a social work major at UCM, said the results weren’t as good as they were at the debate they had in Glasgow.

“We ended up taking the fourth position and the second position,” Eames said. “So as far as the overall distribution of points, St. Andrews took four points and we took two points. So (I’m) not like thrilled with the results but hopefully we’ll have a chance to do better in Edinburgh tomorrow.”

UCM Debate falls to Edinburgh

(EDINBURGH, Scotland, digitalBURG) — The Talking Mules came up short against Edinburgh University’s Debate Society on March 12 at Edinburgh University’s Teviot Square Union.

The teams debated whether or not social media’s impact on politics does more harm than good. Throughout the debate, the team secured the two and the four rankings. According to the Montgomery Cup Tournament’s debate format, the ranking puts the Talking Mules further behind in the overall Montgomery Cup.

Talking Mules debater Michael Hutton said a lot of questions went unanswered because it was a busy, back and forth debate.

“It’s always hard to debate social media because we are the generation that really pioneered it, we really adopted it, so it’s kind of hard to just be like, ‘Oh, (it’s) all the way bad,’” Hutton said.