Claflin News

Claflin University Revitalizes Student Debate Team

Dec 02, 2011


Members of the Claflin University Debate Club are pictured with their advisor, Dr. Emmanuel Ngwang, front left.

The Claflin University Debate Club is aiming to make its mark nationally in competitions and engage the student body locally, says its new advisor Professor of English Dr. Emmanuel Ngwang.

“The Debate Club will be an organic organization that will respond to current issues,” said Ngwang.

For instance, the Debate Club hosted their first campus debate on Nov. 1 with the topic of capital punishment. Dwayne Coleman, a politics and justice major from Atlanta, noted the topic was very timely in the wake of the controversial execution of Troy Davis in September.

“In the near future, we're looking to address other topics such as the pros and cons of HBCUs and what student should receive from a college education,” said Coleman.

Previously, the Debate Club was part of the Alice Carson Tisdale Honors College. But after a surge in student interest following the Debate Club's recent fourth place at the National Association of African American Honors Program competition, membership is now open to the entire student body.

Ngwang is encouraging dedicated students to join the Debate Club. Currently, there are 15 members on the team.

“We will bring up issues for debate that are relevant, current and exciting to engage student interest,” he said.

Junior Candace Cooper was one of students who participated in the NAAAHP debate. She finds the topic of abortion to be highly engaging because it sparks emotions from both sides of the issue.

Others find the Debate Club to have other very useful applications.

Hannibal Black said that as a biotechnology major, he doesn't have many chances to hone his public speaking skills. The Mahopac, New York native said the Debate Club has afforded him the opportunity to develop the ability to do just that.

“It helps me to be confident speaking to a large group of people,” Black said.

For more information on the Debate Club, please contact Ngwang by phone at (803) 535-5213 or by e-mail at


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