MTSU debaters hope to thwart Ireland’s best in Apr...

MTSU debaters hope to thwart Ireland’s best in April 1 championship (+VIDEO)

The best of the Emerald Isle will take on the best of the Blue Raider Nation Wednesday, April 1, in what promises to be a rollicking talkfest.

Click on the poster to see a larger version at the MTSU Debate Team's website.

Click on the poster to see a larger version at the MTSU Debate Team’s website.

Members of the MTSU Debate Team will test their mettle against the three individual winners of the 2015 Irish Times Debate Championship at 7 p.m. April 1 in the State Farm Lecture Hall of MTSU’s Business and Aerospace Building.

The event is free and open to the public. For a campus parking map, visit

The subject for the noncompetitive exhibition is “Resolved: The United Nations has an obligation to protect.”

The debaters will decide whether that topic will focus on the intervention of the U.N.’s blue-helmeted, armed peacekeeping forces in conflicts around the world or include a discussion of the U.N.’s overall mission.

MTSU’s debaters will be Leigh Stanfield, a junior communication studies major from Soddy-Daisy, Tennessee; Hailey Lawson, a senior psychology major from Smyrna, Tennessee; and Alvin Loyd, a senior political science major from Memphis, Tennessee.

The backup debater will be Michaela Edwards, a senior with double majors in industrial/organizational psychology and communication studies from Madison, Tennessee.

Ireland will send Eoin MacLachlan of University College Dublin and Ronan O’Connor and Hugh Guidera, both of Trinity College Dublin.

The three Irishmen won the 55th annual debate competition sponsored by the Irish Times newspaper in February. Dr. Pat Richey, director of forensics at MTSU and mentor to the debate team, selected the MTSU trio of representatives.

MTSU’s debate team is in the midst of a prize-winning year, including bringing home a regional championship earlier this semester. You can learn more here.

Dr. Patrick Richey, MTSU Debate Team coach, director of forensics and assistant professor of communication studies.

Dr. Patrick Richey

Richey, who also is an assistant professor of communication studies and organizational communication, said the tone of the debate will be different from what the Americans are accustomed to seeing in collegiate competition.

“Sometimes it’ll be referred to as ‘pub debate’ … because, in Ireland and Britain, they enjoy debating in the pubs,” Richey said. “It’s a pastime for them.”

While it is a formal parliamentary style of debate, the use of topic-related humor and sarcasm is characteristic of the style, but Richey noted that  no personal attacks are allowed.

Which team will argue for or against the debate topic will be determined by a coin toss on the night of the contest, Richey said.

“A good student and a good debater is holistic,” Richey said, “so they’ll watch the BBC. They’ll watch Al-Jazeera. They’ll watch Fox News. They’ll watch CNN. Because, between all those, you get a more realistic picture of what’s going on.”

For more information, contact Richey at 615-898-2273 or

You can listen to Richey’s interview about the upcoming debate here. The program originally aired March 9 on “MTSU On the Record” on WMOT-FM (89.5 and

A video clip of the interview is available below.

— Gina K. Logue (