Forensics isn’t just debate

Devinn Winkleman

Butterflies in the stomach, unsteady nerves and shaky hands are what many encounter when giving a speech, but for the members of the William E. Bivin Forensics Society, it’s a piece of cake.

Stacy Bernaugh, a senior from Seaside, Calif., first got involved with debate while in college.

He gave an assigned speech in one of his classes, and afterward, a teacher who sponsored the debate team at the community college asked Bernaugh if he would like to join.

He joined.

From there, Bernaugh discovered a world he never knew existed.

He liked it well enough that when he enrolled at Western, he sought out the William E. Bevins Forensic Society and joined their team.

Bernaugh said the principle type of competition is the Lincoln-Douglas debate.

“It’s individual. You’re on your own, and you’re given a topic, and you debate that topic the entire year,” he said. “This year the topic is ‘Resolved: that the United States federal government should significantly increase assistance for U.S. residents living below the poverty line.'”

Debate isn’t the only activity for the forensics team, though.

Greg Robertson, assistant director of the Forensics Society, said the team also takes part in public speaking, after-dinner speeches and limited-preparation speeches.

In a limited-preparation event, the participants have limited time to put together a speech that answers a question or analyzes a quotation.

Forensics has always been a passion for Jace Lux, individual events coach.

Lux said he first became interested in joining because he liked to perform and his friends were already on the team.

He met Forensics Director Judy Woodring, who asked him to join the team.

“I went to my first tournament, ended up making it to the final round, and I thought, ‘Hey, this is for me,'” Lux said.

After graduation, forensics was something Lux didn’t want to leave – being on the team was the highlight of his college career.

He wanted to continue the forensics experience after graduation, so he did everything he could to get a coaching position that was open at Western.

Lux got the job, and it’s a job he loves.

He’s not alone in his passion for forensics. Coaches and students enjoy the opportunities offered by competitions within the state, across the country and overseas.

For more information about the forensics society, call 745-6340.

Reach Devinn Winkleman at [email protected].