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Harvard's prestigious debate team loses to New York prison inmates

Posted by New Leaders Council 4 Admin on October 08, 2015 at 10:47 AM

Originally published in The Guardian on October 7 by Lauren Gambino.

Months after winning a national title, Harvard’s debate team has fallen to a group of New York prison inmates.

The showdown took place at the Eastern correctional facility in New York, a maximum-security prison where convicts can take courses taught by faculty from nearby Bard College, and where inmates have formed a popular debate club. Last month they invited the Ivy League undergraduates and this year’s national debate champions over for a friendly competition.

A three-judge panel concluded that the Bard team had raised strong arguments that the Harvard team had failed to consider and declared the team of inmates victorious.

“Debate helps students master arguments that they don’t necessarily agree with,” said Max Kenner, founder and executive director of the Bard prison initiative, told the Guardian. “It also pushes people to learn to be not just better litigators but to become more empathetic people, and that’s what really speaks to us as an institution about the debate union.”

Read the full story here: http://www.theguardian.com/education/2015/oct/07/harvards-prestigious-debate-team-loses-to-new-york-prison-inmates