‘Great Debate’ challenges ideas

Nearly three hundred people braved the ice and cold Friday to watch debate teams argue hot topic issues from Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X’s perspectives as part of NKU’s celebration of Black History Month. The “Great Debate,” an intellectual and cultural competition dealing with current social justice issues in America was held on Feb. 4 at Xavier University.

Debate teams from Central State University (Ohio), the University of Cincinnati, and Xavier verbally sparred to accept or reject the debate’s premise – “The Miseducation of a Generation: Are We Producing 21st Century Leader or Life-Long Needership?” – according to their respective team’s assigned perspective.

The competition was held on Feb. 4 and decided who will compete against Northern Kentucky University and an unannounced third team at the finals in March. NKU students also help to sponosor and moderate the event.

Central State won the competition. Its argument focused on the word ‘crisis.’ Beginning with an historical reference to the 1910 creation of W.E.B. Du Bois’ magazine “The Crisis,” Central State reframed the word into an argument citing numerous current facts and statistics about modern America.

“Isn’t it disappointing that more than a hundred years after this magazine’s first publication, our nation is still in a state of crisis?” they asked. “The crisis that I speak of is the miseducation of our generation.”

The debate when on to stress current statistics as compared to hopes of leaders of the civil rights movements for African-Americans.

“According to the Department of Education, 30 percent of all college students leave within the first year, and 50 percent never even graduate,” Griffin said. “Martin Luther King said ‘Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.’”

Central State’s closing arguments also referred to “crisis,” namely the crisis with increasingly expensive education and its effect on producing leadership to deal with contemporary issues.

“Before we can change the world, we must educate ourselves with the issues,” they said. “Martin Luther King once said ‘The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education.’”

As the winners of Friday’s Great Debate, Central State will meet and another unannounced team from 7 to 9 p.m. March 25 in the Student Union Ballroom.

Story by Chuck Heffner