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.

Round 3: This House would make Facebook cool again.

We were all pretty bummed. ¬†The resolution was fairly specific, but it just had the problem that no one really cared. Also, is Facebook not cool anymore? It seems like it’s still pretty popular to me. Anyways, pretty much all of the plans involved buying up another social network (Pinterest, Tumblr, Instagram, Reddit) or changing their advertising policy. They were good debates technically, but no on came out saying, “Wow, that was so fun!”

Round 2: This House believes that Parliamentary Debate judges must disclose their decision to debaters at the end of the round.

In a complete 180, for Round 2 we got the most specific resolution to ever come from the pen of Jon Logging. Everyone said their rounds were pretty close, probably because everyone knew the in’s and out’s of the resolution and could easily articulate a stance on it. A lot of teams ended up defending positions they didn’t actually agree with. Arguments revolved around the expected quality of oral vs written comments, the efficiency of the tournament, and which system creates more stress and anxiety among debaters (answer: both of them). I also may have admitted during round that I don’t read all of my ballots… Oops.

– Alex

Round 1: This House would raise the dead.

“Wow, I can’t believe how vague this resolution is!” said no one. The Vocal Viking started off in its typical fashion with a fairly cryptic resolution where the government could run just about anything. Topics included the ethic of the United States as a collective or as individuals, Guantanamo Bay, the structuring the of the European Union, and more. This was the first debate for Maddie (who is bravely going hybrid with someone from SCSU) and Caroline, and neither of them left the round crying, so we’ll call it a good first round. On that note, the teams today are:

Bayley and Raffi

David C (new to St. Olaf Debate!) and Maureen

David W (new to St. Olaf Debate!) and Rikaela

Caroline (new to St. Olaf Debate!) and Alex

Maddie (new to St. Olaf Debate!) and a hybrid with SCSU


– Alex