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YPU Debates are regularly scheduled at 7:30pm on Tuesdays, unless otherwise specified.

Information about weekly party events can be found here.

Fall Semester 2015 Schedule of Debates

9/8: Fall Organizational Debate with Former U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft on Resolved: Liberty is the Purpose of Government


The Hon. John Ashcroft served as the 79th U.S. Attorney General under the George W. Bush administration from 2001-2005, during which he led the Department of Justice in an important period after the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. He has had a distinguished career in public office, previously being elected as U.S. Senator in 1994 and Governor of Missouri in 1984. He is the founder and Chairman of TAG Holdings and The Ashcroft Law Firm.



 John Ashcroft
9/15 Guest: Norman Finkelstein on Resolved: End America’s Special Relationship with Israel


Norman Finkelstein is a prominent scholar of the Israel-Palestinian conflict as well as a well-known activist for Palestinian Rights. He currently teaches at Sakarya University’s Center for Middle Eastern Studies in Turkey and has served on the faulty of various other universities. He has written many books, including Beyond Chutzpah: On the Misuse of Anti-Semitism and the Abuse of History (2005) and The Holocaust Industry (2000). Professor Finkelstein was also the subject of an award-winning documentary, titled American Radical: The Trials of Norman Finkelstein. Currently, he is working on a new book with Palestinian political analyst Moulin Rabbani, called How to Solve the Israel-Palestine Conflict.



 Norman Finkelstein
9/21 (Monday) Guest: Bill Ayers


Bill Ayers is an education theorist and is known for his radical activism in the counterculture movement against the Vietnam War. He has written and edited many publications on elementary education theory and policy. In 1997, he was awarded Citizen of the Year by the city of Chicago for his work on the Chicago Annenberg Project for urban public education reform. In 1969, he was co-founder of the Weather Underground, a radical left-wing organization. He retired from professorship at University of Chicago in 2010.

 Bill Ayers



9/29 Guests: Emily Greenwood and Gerald Jaynes on Resolved: Rename Calhoun College

Professors Emily Greenwood of the Classics Department and Gerald Jaynes of the Economics and African American Studies Departments will speak on the topic: Resolved: Rename Calhoun College. Professor Greenwood will speak in the affirmative and Professor Jaynes will speak in the negative.


10/6 Guest: Bob Levy 
Bob Levy is the Chairman of libertarian think-tank the CATO Institute since 2004. He was an adjunct professor of law at Georgetown University between 1997 and 2004. Previously, he was also the founder and CEO of CDA Investment Technologies and served as co-counsel in the Supreme Court case, District of Columbia v. Heller which successfully challenged D.C.’s ban on gun ownership. His writing has been published in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Washington Post, National Review, and many other journals.
Bob Levy
10/12 Freshman Prize Debate

The Freshman Prize Debate is an opportunity for Freshman to test the waters on the YPU debate floor by giving a speech in the affirmative or negative of the given resolution. In past years, chosen resolutions have been Resolved: Be Good, Not Great and Resolved: Responsibility Ends at our Borders.


First Place will win $100 and a lifetime membership to the YPU.

Second Place will win $50 and a four-year membership.

Third Place will win $25 and a one-year membership.



Freshman Prize
10/26 (Monday) Guest: Allida Black


Allida Black is a Research Professor of History and International Affairs at George Washington University’s Elliot School of International Affairs. She specializes in human rights, the early UN, and Eleanor Roosevelt’s contribution to these topics. Professor Black is also a member of the Board of Governors of the Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute, Advisory Board member of the Center for New Deal Studies, and secretary of the Gaea Foundation. She is the co-founder of the Super PAC Ready for Hillary.



Allida Black
11/2 (Monday) Guest: Walter Block


Walter Block is an American Austrian School economist and currently holds the Harold E. Wirth Scholar Endowed Chair in Economics at Loyola University. He is a distinguished scholar in the area of free enterprise economic theory and has written on various topics such as labor economics, discrimination, privatization of highways, and private property rights. He has published over 300 articles and reviews to scholarly journals and is the author of Defending the Undefendable (1976), which has been translated into ten foreign languages.



Walter Block
11/10 Guest: Amy Wax


Amy Wax is the Robert Mundheim Professor of Law and University of Pennsylvania Law School. Her work focuses on social welfare law and policy, and the relationship between family, the workplace, and labor markets. In 2015, she was the recipient of Penn’s Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching. Additionally, she served as Assistant to the Solicitor General at the U.S. Department of Justice in the late 80’s to early 90’s and has argued 15 cases before the U.S. Supreme Court.



Amy Wax
11/17 Guest: Lester Brickman


Lester Brickman is a professor at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law of Yeshiva University. He is a widely published and cited legal scholar in the area of mass tort litigation and contingency fees, in particular for asbestos litigation abuse. He is recognized by several federal courts for his expertise on asbestos litigation and is quoted for his scholarship on lawyer fee and tort reform issues. He teaches about contracts and professional and ethical issues in the legal profession.



Lester Brickman
12/1 Guest: Kathleen Cleaver


Kathleen Cleaver is professor of law at Emory University and is well-known for her activism in the SNCC as well as the Black Panther Party. She became communications secretary of the Black Panther Party and notably led the national campaign to free Huey Newton. She received her J.D. from Yale Law and served on Georgia’s Supreme Court Commission on Racial and Ethnic Bias in the Courts. She is also executive producer of the International Black Panther Film Festival.



Kathleen Cleaver
12/8 Guest: Zephyr Teachout
Zephyr Teachout is a professor of constitutional law at Fordham Law and author of “Corruption in America: From Benjamin Franklin’s Snuff Box to Citizens United,” her most recent book. She ran against incumbent Governor Cuomo in New York’s 2014 gubernatorial race. Professor Teachout is an expert on anti-trust and media, and is a leader in several organizations working to fight money in politics. In July 2015, she became the CEO of Mayday PAC, taking it over from Harvard professor Lawrence Lessig. Zephyr Teachout

Past Debates and Guests: Spring Semester 2015

Organizational Debate: 1/13 Resolved: Stop Enhanced Interrogation with Michael Posner
Michael Posner is the former Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor. He is a prominent human rights lawyer and the founding executive director of the nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, Human Rights First. At present, Mr. Posner is the co-director of the Center for Business and Human Rights at NYU’s Stern School of Business, and serves on the board of the International Service for Human Rights. Michael Posner
1/20 Resolved: Nationalize Banks with Richard Wolff


Richard Wolff is a professor emeritus of economics at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. The New York Times Magazine has called him “America’s most prominent Marxist economist,” and he is the author of several books, including Capitalism Hits the Fan: The Global Economic Meltdown and What To Do About It. Dr. Wolff is the host of the weekly radio program Economic Update.

Richard Wolff
1/27 Resolved: The Freer the Trade, the Freer the People with Stephen Roach
Stephen Roach is the former chairman of Morgan Stanley Asia and the former chief economist at Morgan Stanley. He is an expert in global affairs, in particular with regard to US-China relations, and has penned two books including his recent work Unbalanced: the Codependency of America and China. Currently, he is a senior lecturer at the Yale School of Management and a senior fellow at the Jackson Institute for Global Affairs. Stephen Roach
2/2 Resolved: Repeal the Second Amendment with Nelson Lund
Nelson Lund is a professor at George Mason University’s School of Law, where he has taught classes in a variety of fields, including but not limited to Constitutional Law, Federal Election Law, and Employment Discrimination. Dr. Lund has written and published many articles on federalism, separation of powers, and the Second Amendment. He has held multiple positions in the US Department of Justice, in the Office of the Solicitor General, and the Office of Legal Counsel. Nelson Lund
2/10 Gardner White Prize Debate on Resolved: Hell is Other People
First Place will win $100 and a lifetime membership to the YPU.
Second Place will win $50 and a four-year membership.
Third Place will win $25 and a one-year membership.
Contact the Floor Leaders if you are interested in competing.
2/12 Panel on “Charlie Hebdo: Religion, Security, and Toleration”
Join professors David Cameron, Hannan Hever, Charles Hill, Andrew March, Frank Griffel, and Nadia Urbinati to discuss the Charlie Hebdo massacre.
2/17 Resolved: Police Broken Windows with John DeStefano
John DeStefano was the 49th mayor of New Haven, serving 10 consecutive terms from 1994 until 2014. He was the Democratic candidate in the 2006 Connecticut gubernatorial election. During his time as mayor, he has focused on education and public safety with programs such as the Livable City Initiative and the Citywide Youth Initiative and launched a program to renovate New Haven’s public schools. DeStefano
2/24 Resolved: Embrace Online Education with David Bromwich
David Bromwich is a Sterling Professor of English at Yale and a fellow at the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Professor Bromwich is the author of several books and articles, including the recent op-ed “The Hi-Tech Mess of Higher Education,” published in the New York Review of Books. Bromwich
2/27 Resolved: Prohibit US Combat Troops in the Fight against ISIS with Sen. Murphy (D-CT)
Senator Murphy is the junior United States Senator from Connecticut and a member of the Democratic Party. He previously served in the United States House of Representatives, representing Connecticut’s 5th congressional district from 2007 to 2013. Murphy
3/3 Resolved: Oppose Right to Work Laws with Neera Tanden
Neera Tanden is the current president of the Center for American Progress, a public policy research and advocacy organization. She has done work in domestic policy in think tanks and on Capitol Hill and was the domestic policy director for Barack Obama’s presidential campaign. Tanden
3/23 Resolved: Zone for Mixed-Income Housing with Sheryll Cashin
Sheryll Cashin is a professor of law at Georgetown University. She comes from a family of civil rights activists and has served as an advisor on urban and economic policy during the Clinton administration. Dr. Cashin also worked as a law clerk under Justice Thurgood Marshall. She is the author of three books, including Place not Race: A New Vision of Opportunity in America.
3/31 Resolved: Revive the Fairness Doctrine with Mark Hemingway
Mark Hemingway is a Senior Writer for The Weekly Standard. He has written for The Wall Street Journal,, Reason and numerous other publications. Prior to joining The Weekly Standard, he worked at The Washington Examiner, National Review, Market News International, and USA Today. He was the recipient of a Gold Award journalism fellowship from the Phillips Foundation in 2003 and was a Global Prosperity Initiative fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University in 2003 and 2004. Hemingway
4/7 Party Prize Debate on Resolved: Death Gives Life Meaning
4/14 Resolved: Leave Rape Cases to the Criminal Justice System with Carol Tracy
Carol Tracy is a professor at the University of Pennsylvania, who has been working to further women’s rights for the past three decades. She is also the Executive Director of the Women’s Law Project, and is heavily involved in initiatives to reform police handling of sex crimes and reduce violence against women. In her role with the WLP, she has been involved in several major legal victories involving gender inequality, including discrimination in employment and education. Tracy
4/20 Talk with Wael Ghonim
Wael Ghonim is an Egytian internet activist. Mr. Ghonim came to prominence during the 2011 pro-democracy demonstrations in Egypt when he was instrumental in energizing the protests through interviews and social media. In 2011, Mr. Ghonim was ranked as one of Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people. He is the author of “Revolution 2.0: The power of people is stronger than the people in power” and in 2012, he founded Tahrir Academy, a technology focused NGO that aims at fostering education in Egypt. Ghonim
4/20 Bulldog Days Debate with Howard Dean on Resolved: Don’t Leave Local Politics to the Locals
Howard Dean served as the 79th Governor of Vermont from 1991 to 2003 and Chairman of the Democratic National Committee from 2005 to 2009. Dean was a candidate for the Democratic nomination in the 2004 U.S. Presidential Election. Dean
4/23 Dinner with Representative Bob Inglis
Bob Inglis was the US Representative for South Carolina’s 4th congressional district from 1993-1999 and 2005-2011. Inglis is a member of the Republican Party. In 2012, Inglis launched the Energy and Enterprise Initiative to promote conservative, free-enterprise solutions to energy and climate challenges. Inglis