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Should prisoners be allowed to vote?

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Should prisoners be allowed to vote?

That's the question two Davis & Elkins College students and members of the British National Debate Team will discuss in a public debate at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 11 in Halliehurst Great Hall. Admission is free and public participation is encouraged.

Davis & Elkins students Nouna Anthony and Sean Tyre were selected for participation by their peers in the Calliduz Debate Club.

Anthony is a junior double majoring in political science and psychology with a minor in English. She recently was selected as a finalist in the impromptu speaking competition at the Phi Beta Lambda National Leadership Conference in Anaheim, CA, after placing second in the organization's state contest. A resident of Charles Town, WV, she is the chief operating officer and editorial writer for D&E's student newspaper, The Senator. 

Tyre is a sophomore majoring in criminology at Davis & Elkins College. During the college's inaugural Winter Term Symposium last January, Sean received an award for his adeptness in using social media to communicate with his fellow symposium participants. He graduated from Elkins High School in 2012.

Participating British students are Neshay Aqueel and Charlie Morris.

Aqueel was named the best speaker at the First Internal Kent Debating Competition in 2012 and was then selected to represent the University of Kent at the Women Oxford Open and Imperial College IV. She graduated from University College Lahore in 2011 with an LLB Hons (Bachelor of Laws) and is continuing her legal studies at the University of Kent. She was a member of the Pakistani National Debating team and reached the quarter-finals in the World Schools Debating Competition in Qatar in 2010. Neshay was the best speaker at the English-Speaking Union Pakistan's National Public Speaking Competition in 2009, and went on to represent Pakistan in the International Public Speaking Competition in London in 2009.

Morris is a mentor for the English-Speaking Union and works as a debate consultant for the Amity Education Group in India. He graduated with a first-class degree in history and politics from the University of Sheffield. His research interests include U.S. foreign policy in the Great Lakes region of sub-Saharan Africa, and the politics of development in Rwanda. During his time at Sheffield, he was an active member of the UK debating circuit, winning several competitions and finishing as part of the top-breaking team at tournaments in London, Dublin, Paris and Budapest. Charlie has been part of international speaking and coaching delegations to Rwanda, Israel and Turkey and coached Denmark's national debate team for the World Schools Debating Championships in South Africa.

The debate will begin with an introduction by the moderator. The first proponent and opponent speakers, and the second proponent and opponent speakers, will each then be given six minutes to present their stance. The next 10 minutes will be open for questions from the audience. Proponent and opponent rebuttals will follow. The debate will wrap up with closing comments from the moderator and voting.

Audience commentary is encouraged during the speeches. Knocking on wood or plastics signals agreement. Hissing can signal disagreement and if an argument is particularly bad, it is appropriate to blurt out "shame" briefly during a speech said Brent Saindon, D&E instructor of communication and organizer of the debate.

Originating in 1922, and currently overseen in the U.S. by the Committee on International Discussion and Debate, the British National Debate Team tour is one of the oldest continuously running cultural exchanges in the United States. Each fall, two students from the U.S. are selected to go on a debate tour in Great Britain, while two students from the United Kingdom come to the U.S. on a debate tour. This is the first year that Davis & Elkins College has participated as a host for the team tour.

"This is a wonderful opportunity for both our students and the public to interact with some of the best and the brightest students from Great Britain," says Brent Saindon, D&E instructor of communication and organizer of the debate. "In my experience, the British debaters are always witty and playful, making for an evening that is as fun as it is educational."

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