Rupp Debate Team Hosts Public Debate Feb. 9 on United States Lifting Cuban Embargo

Idaho State University’s Rupp Debate Team invites the general public and ISU students, faculty and staff to attend its spring semester public debate at 6 p.m. Feb. 9.

ISU debaters will argue the topic “Resolved, the United States should lift its embargo against Cuba” in the Pond Student Union Salmon River Suites. Refreshments will be served.

This event will also be streaming live on the teams Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/idahostatedebate/.

The debate is a modified “public forum” style, featuring one pair of speakers on each side of the issue. Each side then takes turns building arguments and answering cross-examination by the opposition. A unique feature, the “grand cross examination,” engages audience members in the questioning with the aid of a moderator.

Audience members also get in on the action by voting before and after the debate on their opinion of the issue.

“Proponents of the embargo argue that Cuba has not met the conditions for lifting the embargo, including transitioning to democracy and improving human rights,” while opponents argue that it is a “failed policy … [and] a cold war relic,” according to procon.org.

“This debate topic has come up time and time again. It's an ongoing issue that has really changed in the last few years with the renewal of the relationship between Cuba and the U.S. under President Obama,” said Mike Chen, president of Pi Kappa Delta debate society at ISU.

“But now,” Chen continued, “that there is a new president in office, it really makes us wonder what will happen with current Cuban relations and whether or not policies will change? This is definitely a topic worth discussing."

The issue was chosen in part as a service to area high school students, demonstrating of one of their topics this term. 

 "We wanted to do this topic because it is important for all debaters to come together and talk about it whether they're from the high school circuit or the college circuit,” Chen said. “Debate is about a competitive field that fosters educational discussion, and it is part of our goal to extend that to everyone in the community. The Cuban embargo is something we need to talk about as debaters and as members of this Democratic Republic."

The Rupp Debate team presents public debates each fall and spring. The fall debates both hosted more than 100 participants.

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