Public Events

The John R. Park Debate Society’s “John R. Park Public Debates” are a University of Utah tradition dating to the turn of the 20th century. The program hosts two public events per year, one each semester. These events strive to address issues of importance to the local community, involve university students and members of the local community, and showcase a variety of forms of public argument. The events are free and open to the public. We hope you will join us for these upcoming events.

Spring Public Debate – Appreciation vs. Appropriation: A Conversation about the UofU’s Drum and Feather

Click here for video footage of the event

The John R. Park Debate Society (the University of Utah Speech and Debate Team) is pleased to announce its Spring public event. This semester’s John R. Park Public Debate will focus on a topic of significance to students at the University of Utah, as well as the broader off-campus community of University of Utah supporters. The event will focus on critiques of and arguments for the University’s drum and feather logo, as well as the “Ute” nickname. In addition to a public debate aimed at putting ideas about this topic in conversation with one another, an audience discussion of the same topics will conclude the event.

What:   Appreciation vs. Appropriation: A Conversation about the UofU’s Drum and Feather

-Presented by the John R. Park Debate Society, the Department of Communication, and the College of Humanities at the University of Utah                                                                                                               

Who:    The John R. Park Debate Society, Professor of Communication Danielle Endres, and Director of the U’s American Indian Resource Center Franci Taylor

When: Wednesday, April 19, 7-9PM

Where: Carolynn Tanner Irish Humanities Building, Room 109 (CTIHB 109)                                                215 S. Central Campus Dr., SLC, UT, 84112

In cooperation with the University of Utah’s American Indian Resource Center, the University of Utah’s John R. Park Debate Society and The Department of Communication will host another installment of the century-old John R. Park Debates. This Spring, members of the John R. Park Debate Society will offer a demonstration debate featuring arguments for and against the use of the drum and feather logo, as well as the Ute nickname, on campus. Following this debate, the audience will be invited to discuss these issues as part of an audience dialogue co-facilitated by Professor of Communication, Danielle Endres, and Director of the U’s American Indian Resource Center, Franci Taylor

The event is free and open to the public.

For additional information, please contact Michael Middleton (m.middleton@utah.edu; 801-581-6454) and visit the John R. Park Debate Society’s website at debate.utah.edu.

Fall Public Debate – John R. Park Debate Society Hosts Rwandan National Debate Team (October 20, 2016; 5:00-6:30PM)

Click here for video footage of the event

Click here for more info about IDebate Rwanda

The John R. Park Debate Society (the University of Utah Speech and Debate Team) is pleased to host the IDebate Rwanda’s Rwandan National Team during their tour of the United States. Their tour will include a public debate that will consider the resolution: Resolved: Truth commissions are an insufficient response to genocide.

What: “Voices from a Post-Genocide Generation”: A Public Debate, featuring The Rwandan National Debate Team and The John R. Park Debate Society

-Presented by the John R. Park Debate Society and the Department of Communication at the University of Utah

-Sponsored by IDebate Rwanda

Who: The Rwandan National Debate Team & The University of Utah’s John R. Park Debate Society
When: Thursday, October 20, 2016; 5:00PM – 6:30PM
Where: Carolynn Tanner Irish Humanities Building, Room 101 (CTIHB 101); 215 S. Central Campus Dr., SLC, UT, 84112

In cooperation with IDebate Rwanda, the University of Utah’s John R. Park Debate Society and The Department of Communication will host The Rwandan National Debate Team. This year, Furaha Amos, Intwali Murangira Bruce, Isabane Muhumuliza Harmonie, Bayingana Kirezi Sharon, and Kagabo Kamparage Angela will represent the Rwandan National Debate Team. The Rwandan debaters will visit Salt Lake City from October 19-21, 2016. During their visit, they will tour the University of Utah and Salt Lake City. The centerpiece of their visit is a public debate with the University of Utah’s John R. Park Debate Society. The debate will consider the resolution: Resolved: Truth commissions are an insufficient response to genocide.

The event is free and open to the public.

For additional information, please contact Michael Middleton (m.middleton@utah.edu; 801-581-6454) and visit the John R. Park Debate Society’s website at debate.utah.edu.

For more information about IDebate Rwanda, visit: http://www.debaterwanda.org.

Fall 2016 – Election 2016 Debate Series

The John R. Park Debate Society announced today it is again joining with the ABU Education Fund, an affiliate of Alliance for a Better Utah, to host Utah’s only legislative debates of the 2016 election cycle. This biennial debate series is an opportunity for leaders to engage with the public and express their views before the upcoming general elections.

The debate series also hopes to offer a state school board district debate and a gubernatorial debate.

Debate invitations have been extended to the following races:

  • Governor of Utah – Governor Gary Herbert and Mr. Michael Weinholtz
  • House District 34 – Karen Kwan and Macade Jensen
  • House District 38 – Charles Henderson and Eric Hutchings
  • House District 44 – Bruce Cutler and Christine Passey
  • House District 49 – Robert Spendlove and Zach Robinson
  • State School Board District 11 – Lisa Cummins and Erin Preston

Debates will be held in-district and will be scheduled for one hour, from 6:30pm – 7:30pm, followed by a half-hour “Candidate Meet-and-Greet.” Debates will be streamed live and will be broadcast on public radio. Updated details will be provided as they are finalized.

Josh Kanter, board chair and founder of the ABU Education Fund, made the following statement ahead of the planned debates:

“Robust political speech and debate is a key element of a well-functioning democracy. As more of our collective focus increasingly centers around presidential and national politics, the ABU Education Fund is committed to ensuring that our local and state politicians are provided a platform where their viewpoints can be heard and weighed by their constituents and we are excited to partner again with the prestigious John R. Park Debate Society of the University of Utah.”

Director of the John R. Park Debate Society, Michael Middleton, added:

“We are thrilled to again partner with the ABU Education Fund to host these debates. Not only do they provide an outstanding learning opportunity for the graduate and undergraduate students involved in their production, they also help to sustain the John R. Park Debate Society’s commitment to the role of open dialogue and debate as a cornerstone of democracy and informed political participation.”

For more information as it is available, visit: http://abueducationfund.org/debates/2016-debate-series/