Letter to the Editor: Reward No money whatsoever

Two years ago, Joe Day, an alumnus of Missouri Southern, placed first at the IFA International Tournament held in Prague, Czechoslovakia. One year later, Kelly B. Larson, assistant professor of communications and director of forensics, decided to try and send a group of students to the IFA tournament. Not only did the team take the first place spot for the second year in a row, but all five of the traveling team members placed in the top six. So how does the International Grant Committee reward the Missouri Southern Forensics team for this upcoming third year? — By giving them absolutely no money whatsoever. Not only did the Missouri Southern Forensics team not receive a dime, but it was also slandered by the committee by saying the trip has no “academic vigor.” As a proud member of this nationally respected debate team, I am furious with the fact that this so called committee thinks the debate team lacks educational purpose internationally. It’s not the students’ fault that our debate circuit chose to hold the tournament in neighboring country, Canada, nor is it our fault that this committee thinks our trip would be a waste of money.

So let’s move on and define “academic vigor.” This is the idea that a trip or event holds a drive to achieve education. Why does the committee think the debate team lacks this? From my experience, debate students hold more of an educational drive than any other student on campus. They are skilled in their researching abilities and hold a keen knowledge of current events. These tournaments that we attend (including the one that received no funding) are the culmination of our skills we have acquired in researching a particular topic. If anything, the debate team should be No. 1 on the list of groups receiving aid. But alas, we came up dead last and without a penny. Don’t worry about us, students, we will receive our money elsewhere and represent Missouri Southern in Canada in March, but without the help of the International Committee. We will defend our title as international champions for the third year in a row and continue our winning tradition. Most importantly, we will try our hardest this year to produce an “academic vigor” that you students will be proud of.

Jason EdgarSpeech Communications Major