WRITTEN BY: BRIELLE BUDROE | STAFF WRITER
Wednesday night four members from PLNU’s debate team, two members from Beijing Foreign Study University’s debate team and two members from Xi’an Jiatong University’s debate team gathered to dispute the impossibility, or possibility, of gender equity.
Representing the affirmative was PLNU senior Brandon West and PLNU junior Caleb Moore as well as BFSU sophomore Kathy Li and XIJTU sophomore Tami J.
Standing for the negative was PLNU senior Olivia Neidhart and returning PLNU student Jason Anderson as well as BFSU sophomore Annie Chen and XIJTU senior Neo Li. In an effort to exchange cultural ideas between Western and Eastern societies, this is the first time in history that PLNU’s debate team has hosted an inter- national debate.
“It’s not only a chance to exchange ideas but we get to talk about this idea [gender],” Chen said.
The event was made possible by MOSAIC, PLNU’s Department of Communication and Theatre, Women’s Studies Department, the Department of History, and the Debate Team.
Irvine Valley College’s Communication Studies Academic Chair Dr. Gary Rybold formally presented the debate.
In China, Rybold is referred to as the “godfather of debate” for his influence and publication regarding debate throughout China.
Unlike most debates exhibited in the United States, this debate’s style was British Parliamentary.
British Parliamentary entails eight speakers and each speaker is only given seven minutes for his or her speech and is especially designed to help international speakers learn English.
Gender issues frequently discussed throughout the debate involved the definition of gender, the Family and Medical Leave Act and U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
“Asian debate circles have liberal views so I didn’t sense large differences but government sensors a lot so some is- sues never get brought up,” Li said.
After the debate, questions from the audience included gender equality concerning domestic violence and sexual abuse and cultural sensitivity and aware- ness when disputing controversial international topics such as gender.
“I teach gender communication be- cause I enjoy the topic, but you also get nervous because there’s always a risk at saying the insensitive thing,” said Head of Communications Department Dr. Skip Rutledge.
Chen commented on how in China, one’s personal life remains private, therefore, domestic violence and sexual abuse issues or challenges are often concealed in relationships.
Regarding cultural sensitivity and awareness, West mentioned the importance in studying local news sources that focus on relaying facts rather than sharing opinions.
While Li explained how Chinese debaters are taught to be international, and in China, an equity officer exists whose main job is to ensure that debaters abide by moral conduct.
This event encouraged the interaction between different cultures and fostered a discussion for a controversial topic such as gender.
“Debate is life empowering and changing for the positive. It teaches you to think critically and formulate arguments,” Rutledge said.
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