YPU Debates are regularly scheduled at 7:30pm on Tuesdays in Sudler Hall (in William L. Harkness Hall) unless specified otherwise.

Spring Semester 2017 Debates and Guests

Tuesday, January 17: Spring Organizational Debate with Lincoln Chafee

Governor Chafee served as mayor of Warwick from 1993 to 1999, as a United States Senator from 1999 to 2007, and as the 74th Governor of Rhode Island from 2011 to 2015. He is well known for his more liberal social positions, his more conservative fiscal positions, and his vote against the US invasion of Iraq. 

Tuesday, January 24: Steve Freeman ...

Steve Freeman is Director of Legal Affairs at the Anti-Defamation League -- an international Jewish non-governmental organization based in the United States. It is the nation's premier civil rights/human relations agency to fight anti-Semitism and all forms of bigotry, defends democratic ideals, through information, education, legislation, and advocacy.

... and Michael Bronski

Michael Bronski is Professor of Practice in Media and Activism in Studies of Women, Gender, and Sexuality. He has been involved with LGBT politics since 1969 as an activist, organizer, writer, publisher, editor, and independent scholar.

Tuesday, January 31: Michael Tanner

Michael Tanner is a Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute whose research focuses on poverty and social welfare policy, health care reform, and Social Security. He has recently undertaken a major project to develop innovative solutions to poverty and inequality. His books include “Going for Broke: Deficits, Debt, and the Entitlement Crisis” and “A New Deal for Social Security,” and his writings have been published in the Wall Street Journal and the NY Times.

Tuesday, February 7: Yasmeen Shaheen-McConnell

Yasmeen Shaheen-McConnell is the Director of Service Year Alliance, a joint venture of the Aspen Institute and Be The Change for make a year of service - a service year - a common opportunity, cultural expectation, and new civic rite of passage for young people growing up in America.

Monday, February 13: Jonah Goldberg

Jonah Goldberg is an American conservative syndicated columnist, author and commentator. Goldberg writes about politics and culture for National Review, where he is a Senior Editor. He is the author of several books.

Tuesday, February 21: Gardner White Prize Debate

Tuesday, February 28: Diane Heith

Diane J. Heith, Ph.D is a Professor and Chair of the Government and Politics Department at St. John’s University. She is the author of Polling to Govern: Public Opinion and Presidential Leadershi and co-editor of In the Public Domain: Presidents and the Challenges of Public Leadership.

Tuesday, March 7: Heather Mac Donald

Thomas W. Smith Fellow at the Manhattan Institute and a contributing editor of City Journal. A recipient of the 2005 Bradley Prize, and regular contributor to the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, The New Republic, and The New Criterion.

Tuesday, March 28: John Brittain

He had previously served as Dean of the Thurgood Marshall School of law at Texas Southern University in Houston, as a tenured law professor at the University of Connecticut School of Law for twenty-two years, and as Chief Counsel and Senior Deputy Director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law in Washington, D.C., a public interest law organization founded by President John F. Kennedy to enlist private lawyers in taking pro bono cases in civil rights.

Tuesday, April 4: Tom Woods

Tom Woods is American historian, political commentator, author, and podcaster, a New York Times Best-Selling author who has published twelve books, including "Nullification: How to Resist Federal Tyranny in the 21st Century" and "The Church Confronts Modernity: Catholic Intellectuals and the Progressive Era."

Tuesday, April 11: Camille Paglia

Paglia is a Professor at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and a critic of American feminism and of post-structuralism as well as a commentator on multiple aspects of American culture such as its visual art, music, and film history.

Monday, April 17: Party Prize Debate

Monday, April 24: Bulldog Days Debate


Fall 2016 Debate Calendar

Tuesday September 6th: Fall Organizational Debate 

Tuesday September 13th: Dalibor Rohacdalibor-rohac

Dalibor Rohac is a research fellow at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), where he studies European political and economic trends. Before joining AEI,
Rohac was affiliated with the Cato Institute’s Center for Global Liberty and Prosperity, the London-based Legatum Institute, and the Center for the New Europe in Brussels. Rohac’s analyses and commentary have been published widely in the media, including in the Financial Times, Los Angeles Times, and The Wall Street Journal Europe. His recent book published in May, Toward a More Imperfect Union, makes a conservative case for maintaining the EU.

Tuesday September 20th: Glenn Loury

Glenn Loury is the Merton P. Stoltz Professor of the Social Sciences and Professor of Economics at Brown University. Dr. Loury is a prominent social critic and public intellectual, writing mainly on the themes of racial inequality and social policy. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and has written several books, including “The Anatomy of Racial Inequality,” and “Race, Incarceration and American Values.”

Friday September 23: Discussion with Jill Kelley at 4 pm in the Silliman Common Roomjillkelley

Jill Kelley is an advocate, activist and author on electronic privacy rights. Her newly published memoir “Collateral Damage; Petraeus, Power, Politics and the Abuse of Privacy,” details the damage that can be caused by our government’s electronic overreach. Ms. Kelley has an extensive background in global affairs and
cross cultural diplomacy from her appointments as Honorary Diplomat to the Republic of South Korea and as the first Honorary Ambassador to the US Central Command Coalition. Ms. Kelley’s presentation will be presented by the Jill Kelley Foundation, a tax exempt 501(c)3 non-profit organization.

Tuesday September 27th: Mark Schniedermark-schneider

Mark Schneider is a Vice President and an Institute Fellow at AIR, as well as a visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. In 2013, the Chronicle of Higher Education selected him as one of the 10 people who had the most impact on higher education policy in that year. Dr. Schneider’s work seeks to increase accountability by making data on college productivity more publicly available. He has written many articles and books including “Higher Education Accountability,” and “Getting to Graduation.”

Tuesday October 4th: Freshman Prize Debate — Resolved: The Arc of History Curves Toward Justice (SSS 114)

Tuesday October 11th: Heather Mac Donald (Rescheduled for March 2017)heather-mac-donald

Heather Mac Donald is the Thomas W. Smith Fellow at the Manhattan Institute and a contributing editor of City Journal. Her work at City Journal has canvassed a range of topics, including higher education, immigration, policing and racial profiling, homelessness and homeless advocacy, criminal-justice reform, and race relations. She is a prolific writer, including books such as “The War on Cops,” and “The Burden of Bad Ideas.” Mac Donald is a frequent guest on TV and radio programs, and she is an alumna of Yale College.

Tuesday October 25th: David Kotzdavid-kotz

David Kotz is a Professor of Economics at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and Distinguished Professor in the School of Economics at the Shanghai University of Finance and Economics. His background includes activism in the civil rights and antiwar movements in the 1960s and 70s, and, more recently, books such as, “The Rise and Fall of Neoliberal Capitalism,” and “The Demise of the Soviet System.”

*In the event of this guest cancellation, we will be holding a student debate on the resolution R: Reject Free-market Economics.*

Tuesday 11/1: Paul Steigerpaul-steiger

This coming Tuesday, on November 1st, the Union will meet with Paul Steiger to debate R: Embrace Offensive Media. Paul Steiger was the managing editor of The Wall Street Journal from 1991 - 2007 and is the founder of ProPublica, a news source focused on independent investigative journalism for the public interest. In 2010, became the first online news source to win a Pulitzer Prize.

11/4-11/5: The YPU presents the Democracy Colloquium 2016

Monday November 7th: Election Debate, co-hosted with the Yale Debate Association, R: Cast a Protest Vote

Tuesday November 15th: Elizabeth Stoker Bruenig and Ronald Lindsay, Resolved: Religion Should Have No Place in Governmentelizabeth-stoker-bruenig

ronald-lindsayElizabeth Stoker Bruenig is an assistant editor at the Washington Post, where she writes about ethics, politics, culture, and Christianity. She has written for publications like Jacobin Magazine, The Atlantic, and Spotlight on Poverty. Bruenig places herself on the Christian Left, and much of her work seeks to carve out a place for religion in left-leaning circles.
Ronald Lindsay is the President and CEO of the Center for Inquiry and of its affiliates, the Council for Secular Humanism and the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry. He has published a number of articles on topics as diverse as bioethics, the morality of assisted suicide, and the need for equal rights for LGBT individuals. Collectively, his work forms the foundation of a discussion of nonreligious ethics.

11/30: Steven Calabresi, R: Appoint Activist Judgessteven-calabresi

Steven Calabresi is a Visiting Professor of Law at the Yale Law School, where he teachers Comparative Constitutional Law. He is the co-founder of the Federalist Society, a non-profit organization dedicated to discussing and debating questions of legal conservatism at its various Law School chapters across the country. Professor Calabresi served the Reagan and Bush administrations from 1985-1990. He is the nephew of Guido Calabresi.

12/6: Martha Nussbaum, R: Anger is politically unproductivemartha nussbaum

Martha Nussbaum is a philosopher and the current Ernst Freund Distinguished Service Professor of Law and Ethics at the University of Chicago. Nussbaum’s work has often focused on the unequal freedoms and opportunities of women, and she has developed a distinctive type of feminism, drawing inspiration from the liberal tradition, but emphasizing that liberalism, at its best, entails radical rethinking of gender relations and relations within the family. Nussbaum has engaged in many spirited debates with other intellectuals, including Judith Butler and John Rawls.