Round 3: This House would redefine hazing.

By the by, all of these rounds were pretty similar. While the House changed a bit, one of our Gov teams chose St. Olaf College and a lot of others chose the National Football League. For the most part, people just decided to penalize people who haze much more harshly, whether it be through kicking them out of the NFL for a year or expelling them from school. Also, one team very cleverly defined hazing as being tough on new people and pointed out how the UN’s long-time members on the Security Council have veto power to make it tough on newer entries to the UN, so they reworked that.

Round 2: This House would reestablish “net neutrality”.

This round exemplified one of the sad realities about Parliamentary Debate, that sometimes if you name a specific topic, no one will know what’s going on. We would guess that the majority of people at the tournament didn’t know what net neutrality was. Some rounds were defined not-quite-literally (for example, David and Rikaela very cleverly talked about carbon neutrality), and for the Gov teams that did know what the term referred, Opp teams tended to struggle along and be at the mercy of Gov definitions.

Round 1: This House would prioritize environmental protection over economic development.

Every year we try and brainstorm what topics will covered at State. We figured that the one Minnesota-specific topic would be the PolyMet Mining Proposal, and we actually called it! The resolution, however, doesn’t specifically name PolyMet, and three out of our four teams were on Opp, so they didn’t talk about it at all. And the one team that did do PolyMet plan had trichot theory ran on them. So much for knowing the news.

Fargo was just too far (to go)

Initially we had planned on attending the swing tournaments held at NDSU and Concordia this weekend, but the weather was just a little too dicey to make the trip either Friday evening or Saturday morning. We love debate, but not enough that we’d be willing to get into a car accident for it. Hopefully this will be a one -time thing.

Quarterfinals: This House believes Russia should let Edward Snowden go.

We had three teams make it to quarterfinals! They were Bayley and Raffi, Maureen and David, and Caroline and myself. Interestingly, we’ve also incrementally added one more team to the Vocal Viking quarterfinal round since 2011. One in 2011, two in 2012, and three in 2013. There were two primary perspectives between the three different rounds: Russia’s and the US’s. From Russia’s end, Gov teams argued that the move would increase Russia’s standing with the U.S. which would have a bunch of positive spillover benefits. From the US’s end, Snowden committed treason and we need to get him. Regardless of what Gov said, Opp mostly talked about whistle-blowing culture and resultant corruption. Sadly, we maintained our historical precedent of never advancing anyone beyond the quarterfinal at the Vocal Viking. We’ll take the time to watch the finals, and wish the best of luck to competitors that move forward!

- Alex

Round 4: This House would not set the clock back an hour

I think every single person said, “I am not debating daylight savings time.” Fortunately, very few people actually did. Most people used metaphors like ” ‘set the clock back’ is a euphemism for civil war’” or “daylight savings is getting a short term benefit in exchange for a something down the road.” ¬†Generally they were just interpretted to run people’s favorite plans. Interestingly, one person did run a plan about moving Spain’s clocks because they’re two hours out of sync from everyone else or something. Also, a New York Times article recently came out saying that daylight savings in the United States costs the country around $147 million in logistical expenses. Fun facts.