Regis debate team celebrates a successful season

Don’t get into an argument with Will Reid or Thomas Jones – you probably won’t win. The Regis students, who graduated in May, wrapped up successful college debate careers and they’ve got the awards to prove it.

Reid, who keeps a debate notebook containing every topic he and Jones have debated during their time on the team, narrowed his two favorite debate topics to two: whether ecoterrorism is a legitimate response to environmental degradation and whether to choose immortal life, assuming technology exists one day to extend human life indefinitely.

“I love debating theory,” Reid said. “Pure hypotheticals, the ones where you have to question humanity at its core — I think those debates are so much fun.”

Reid’s passion for debate — like that of the rest of his team — translated into a winning season.

The Regis debate team won its league championship this spring at the University of Alaska Anchorage, becoming the Western States Champion and concluding a successful season of tournaments conducted both in-person and online. The team traveled to Nashville, San Diego and Anchorage, hosted a tournament at the University of Denver, and won five of the eight tournaments it competed in, taking second in the other three.

The team has a long history of success, picking up trophies over the years. But this year was the first that the team competed in a league comprised of universities from across the country. Reid and Jones won the award for the league’s top overall team. Reid, Jones and Hans Gebauer won first, second and third respectively for top 10 individual speakers in the league.

Rob Margesson, an associate professor in the Communication Department and the director of the program, said the team has 10 members, ranging from freshmen to seniors and including two debate judges and four student partnerships. The team participates in British Parliamentary Debate, a partnered form that typically starts freshman year and continues all four years. At the beginning of each competition, teams are given a topic, assigned either affirmative or opposing positions on that topic, and given only 15 minutes to prepare.

Grace Admire, a freshman, debated for the first time this year and plans to continue as a member of the team. She joined debate because she wanted an experience and community similar to mock trial, which she participated in when she was in high school.

“Debate is why I love Regis,” she said. “I'm really looking forward to building these relationships between the teams that are from other schools, too, and continuing to foster and relish the benefits of this community that I just kind of happened to stumble upon.”

Reid’s debate experience won’t end with Regis: This fall, he will start working as an assistant forensics coach at Clemson University. Additionally, Reid will pursue a master’s degree in Communication, Technology and Society, studying disinformation and surveillance infrastructure at Clemson. 

For Reid, the debate experience at Regis has been rewarding.

“When I travel with my team to a place, I'm traveling with people that I love spending time with,” he said. “I'm grateful that they are around me.”