Texan Debaters to discuss vaccinations in Texas

Hannah Mabry- Managing Editor

This Texan Debate focuses on vaccinations within public schools. Photo courtesy of the Tarleton Communication Studies Department.

This semester’s Texan Debate is approaching quickly. This year, the topic is whether or not every student enrolled in a public school in the state of Texas should be fully vaccinated.

“We have a government side which is saying that this is the regulation that is being imposed: all students in public education in Texas must be vaccinated to this degree. And then you have the opposition side who’s going to say, well we disagree and we’re going to convince everybody as to why,” Director of Texan Debate and Communications Instructor Winston Dawson said.

Winston Dawson is the Texan Debate director and Communications instructor. Photo by Hannah Mabry.

In past years, after students have finished debating, students vote, and the event is over. However, this year, after the debaters conclude, there will be questions given by a mock legislative panel, and then students will vote.

“After the kids debate, they’re going to be able to see how it would get made into policy,” Dawson said. “They’re going to have to defend it on a policy level.”

The panel will consist of local physician Dr. Miranda Nash, Government, Legal Studies and Philosophy Department Head Nathaniel Cogley, former U.S. Representative Charlie Stenholm, current Texas State Representative and physician Dr. J.D. Sheffield, Public Health nurse with the Texas Department of State Health Services Ginger Brown and University of Texas at Arlington Adjunct Assistant Professor in Kinesiology Laura Phipps.

“(There are) two teams of two,” Dawson explained. “…It’s just students. They do have a faculty facilitator but past that it’s all the kids…”

After the questions from the panel, listeners will vote in real time on their phone using Slido, an online voting platform. As students vote, the results will be updated on the screen behind the debaters. s

Sophomore international business major Adrijana Vulovic is one of the debaters on the Government side.

Adrijana Vulovic is one of the students participating in Texan Debate. Photo by Hannah Mabry.

“I feel exhilarated that I get the chance to debate…” Vulovic said. “I will be representing the government side, which is pro vaccination. One of the points we will be debating about is that there are little to no side effects when getting vaccinated.”

Dawson says that the goal of Texan Debate is to get people involved.

“Maybe there’s kids who want to get into debate but don’t know how. We have workshops where we’ll show you how to debate for people interested in maybe getting in the public arena…” Dawson said. “I want to see people more involved in the legislative process…So, just participation in general and giving more people access to that.”

The Texan Debate with the legislative panel will be on Nov. 6 at 7 p.m. in the Clyde Wells Fine Arts Center. Preliminary debates without the legislative panel will be held the same day at 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. in OA Grant Rooms 117, 118, and 119.

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