Fordham’s parliamentary debate team of John Hollwitz, a Fordham College at Rose Hill campus senior, and Steve Mongiello, a Fordham College at Rose Hill campus junior, rank in fourth place behind Yale, MIT and Harvard in the American Parliamentary Debate Association’s (APDA) annual national rankings for the 2006-2007 season. In addition, Fordham College at Rose Hill student Matthew Spotts is currently ranked 13th overall in the Individual Speaker ranking. The Rose Hill team has racked up an impressive list of successes that include a ranking of 33rd in the world, out of some 500 to 600 international parliamentary debate teams, said Faye Cassell, a Fordham College at Rose Hill campus junior and president of the Fordham Debate Society.
“We expect our rankings to rise for this year because we did exceptionally well at last week’s 2007 Worlds Championship,” Cassell said.
Parliamentary debate consists of extemporaneous-style speaking by two-person teams, on several different subjects in one season. The Fordham team has 25 to 30 student members, and is active from September through April of each academic school year. The team attends approximately 40 debates per year, an average of one per week.
Other ranking teams in the ADPA’s top ten this year include Johns Hopkins University, The College of William and Mary, Princeton University, and the University of Virginia. Hollwitz, an American Studies major, is also the president of the APDA for the 2006-2007 year.
The Fordham team practices speaking and researches topics without the aid of a faculty coach. Parliamentary debate focuses on rhetorical skill and general broad logic, and on topics such as history, philosophy and current affairs.
– Janet Sassi