Students debate access to diversity at colleges

Students from Northern Kentucky University wowed the judges as the took on a debate challenging the role of diversity on college campuses today and took first place in the competition.

The Great Debate — sponsored by NKU, the Great Debate Honor Society and Make It Plain Consulting — dealt with the topic of “The Cultural Identity Crisis of College Students: Assimilation, Multiculturalism and the Color Line.”

The topic was debated from three different perspectives. Teams from Wilmington College and NKU respectively argued from the perspectives of Malcolm X and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., while the winning NKU team debated from a synthesis of their two viewpoints.

The winning team consistently pointed out that assimilation does not mean a minority has to lose their cultural identity to be part of a larger culture.
Instead, they must remain aware of their roots to help guide their path in the future.

Winning team members were Andrea Brobbey, Ivan Niyongabo and Andrew Boehringer.

Brobbey said the win came from the extensive practice they put into it and the efforts put into studying and understanding the materials in the black studies course taught by their adviser, Dr. Michael Washington.

Washington concurred that practice is what made perfect, noting that “they practiced 8-10 hours a week, not including each member’s personal time practicing at home or in front of mirrors.”

Niyongabo, a freshmen pre-medicine major, stressed that knowing what they were talking about, as well as mastering basic public speaking skills making good eye contact, having confidence and making sure the audience understood them was critical for their team’s win.

Story by Chuck Heffner