Valencia College hosts ‘Stand Your Ground’ law debate

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Valencia College hosts ‘Stand Your Ground’ law debate

Christopher Correa-Ortega

Christopher Correa-Ortega

Christopher Correa-Ortega

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Rollins College Debate Team who ranked 2nd at the 2012 National Tournament won 70 to 53 over Cambridge Union Debating Society of the United Kingdom last Tuesday at Valencia College West Campus.

Over 200 students, faculty, staff and community members attended the debate which held the Resolution: This house would repeal the Stand Your Ground Law. The two students representing the University of Cambridge were Matt Hazell, a 2nd year Veterinarian major and Alex Gordon-Brown, a 3rd year Math major, and argued in favor.

The Rollins College Debaters arguing against the resolution were Rebecca Wilson, a Freshman Philosophy and English Major, and Melissa Fussell, a Junior International Affairs Major. Next month the Rollins Debate Team will be on tour in China to compete in exhibition debates against Chinese schools.

The moderator of the debate was Dr.Eric Smaw, Professor of Law and International Human Rights Law at Rollins College and the coach of the Rollins Debate Team. Dr. Smaw explained to the audience that the evening’s debate was not a quiet scholarly debate.

He stated that if the audience agreed, they were obligated to yell ‘Hear, hear’ and clap and applaud. If debater says something they disagreed with they were obligated to yell ‘Shame!’”

In her welcoming opening statements, Dr. Falecia Williams, West Campus President, said, “It is good to see that we can engage not only from our notions but also from the perspective of scholarly debate . . . tonight is really about you examining for yourselves what you believe against what is really articulated in the law and the interpretation of that law.”

With full participation encouraged from everyone present, the audience was alert, reactive, and shared their input with the debaters. “. . .it has been very interesting with a lot of information to take in…They are both very good debate teams. They were very convincing in their arguments,” said, Michael Morris, a Physical Therapy sophomore at Seminole State College.

In attendance was Candidate for the Ninth Judicial Circuit State Attorney, Ryan Williams, who commented, “I thought the Rollins Team was particularly effective from changing the debate from the point about the law to whether or not there was corruption in Sanford… but the truth is the law Is fundamentally flawed. But they distracted the audience from that and won them over. . . the statute gives people an opportunity to say their side and not even get arrested and that’s a real problem. And I hope the legislature does something about it.”