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YPU Debates are regularly scheduled at 7:30pm on Tuesdays, unless otherwise specified. For the Fall 2016 debates, they will be held in Sudler Hall (2nd floor of William L Harkness Hall) unless specified otherwise.

Information about weekly party events can be found here.

Fall Semester 2016 Debates and Guests

Tuesday September 6th: Fall Organizational Debate
Tuesday September 13th: Dalibor 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. Dalibor Rohac
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.”  Glenn Loury head shot
Friday September 23: Discussion with Jill Kelley at 4 pm in the Silliman Common Room
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. jillkelley
 Tuesday September 27th: Mark Schnieder
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.” Mark Schneider head shot
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 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.  Heather Mac Donald head shot
Tuesday October 25th: David Kotz (GUEST CANCELLATION)

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.*

 David Kotz head shot
11/4-11/5: The YPU presents the Democracy Colloquium 2016
Monday November 7th: Election Debate (SSS 114)
Tuesday November 15th: Elizabeth Stoker Bruenig and Ronald Lindsay
Elizabeth 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.

Elizabeth Stoker Bruenig head shot


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.  Ronald Lindsay head shot
12/5: Martha 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.  Martha Nussbaum head shot
12/13: Jonah Goldberg
Jonah Goldberg is the senior editor of the National Review and a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. He also contributes to The New Yorker, Slate, and the Wall Street Journal. Some frequent topics of his articles include censorship, meritocracy, liberty, federalism and interpretation of the Constitution, as well as attacks on the ethics and morals of liberals and libertarians. His books are “Liberal Fascism,” and “How Liberals Cheat in the War of Ideas.” Jonah Goldberg head shot

Past Debates: Spring Semester 2016 Schedule of Debates

1/19: Spring Organizational Debate with Ambassador Rosemary DiCarlo on Resolved: Embrace the Responsibility to Protect.


Ambassador Rosemary DiCarlo is a U.S. diplomat with an impressive and highly detailed career in U.S. foreign service. She was appointed the President of the National Committee on American Foreign Policy in August 2015, and has also been appointed a Senior Fellow and Lecturer at Yale University’s Jackson Institute for Global Affairs. Ambassador DiCarlo’s expertise focuses on Russia and the former Soviet space, Southeastern Europe, the Middle East, and the management of broad multilateral initiatives.


1/25 (Monday) Guest: Avi Chomsky on Resolved: End Immigration and Customs Enforcement Raids.
Professor Avi Chomsky is a labor historian with a specialty in globalization and migration, drawing on her past experiences working for the United Farm Workers union. She is the Coordinator of Latin American, Latino and Caribbean Studies at Salem State University. Professor Chomsky has written extensively on undocumented immigration to the United States, the Cuban revolution, and industry in Colombia, including in Linked Labor Histories: New England, Colombia, and the Making of a Global Working Class and Undocumented: How Immigration Became Illegal. 91FFCUkoSRL._UX250_
2/02 Guest: Serrin Foster
Serrin Foster is the President of Feminists for Life, a non-profit organization dedicated to “systematically eliminating the root causes that drive women to abortion—primarily lack of practical resources and support—through holistic, women-centered solutions.” She previously served on the National Taskforce Against Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence, working to pass the Violence Against Women Act. Ms. Foster advocates for on-campus resources and support for pregnant and parenting students, and works to oppose pregnancy discrimination.  SerrinHeadshotJune2015-edited-500x399



 2/03 Panel: Cornel WestAdolph Reed, and Elizabeth Carroll
On February 3 at 6:00 p.m., the Yale Political Union will host a discussion on the present and future of the politics of higher education. Celebrated writer, philosopher, and political activist, Dr. Cornel West, will headline the event. Joining him will be Adolph Reed, Jr., a prominent intellectual and professor at the University of Pennsylvania, and Elizabeth Carroll, the director of Yale University’s Education Studies program. The speakers will discuss public higher education, college affordability, academic labor, and other issues related to education policy in 2016. The event is co-organized by Yale Students for Bernie Sanders and Higher Education for Bernie. Feel free to submit questions for our panelists here:  carroll
2/08 Guest: Bruce Schneier
Bruce Schneier is a cryptographer and cybersecurity specialist with diverse research and experience in digital privacy, homeland security, and intelligence policy. He is the current Chief Technology Officer of Resilient Systems, a company providing cyberattack incident response, a fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School, and a board member of the Electronic Frontier Foundation. In addition to his latest book, Data and Goliath: The Hidden Battles to Capture Your Data and Control Your World, Mr. Schneier has written on the Snowden NSA disclosures, cyberterrorism, and digital rights management.  51Gj14EoMLL._UX250_
2/16 Gardner White Prize Debate

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.

2/23 Gideon Rose
Gideon Rose is the editor of Foreign Affairs with wide-ranging expertise on the Middle East and South Asia, American foreign policy, terrorism, and international conflict. He served during the Clinton administration as the Associate Director for Near East and South Asian Affairs on the National Security Council. Dr. Rose has written on American democracy promotion and the War on Terror, including in his book How Wars Ends: Why We Always Fight the Last Battle. Rose_dl
3/o1 Guest: Leo Gerard
 Leo Gerard is the International President of the United Steelworkers, the largest industrial union in North America. Under his leadership, the USW has secured government action and filed numerous trade law complaints against imports of government-subsidized steel, particularly from China. Mr. Gerard has worked to increase strategic transnational cooperation and alliances between unions, and co-founded the BlueGreen Alliance, a national partnership of labor unions and environmental organizations. He also serves on the U.S. National Commission on Energy Policy and chairs the AFL-CIO Public Policy Committee. photo_22360
3/08 Guest: Kathleen Cleaver
Kathleen Cleaver is a Senior Lecturer at Emory Law focusing in both her scholarship and her activism on racial injustice in the United States legal system. The first Communications Secretary of the Black Panther Party, she has since served on the Georgia Supreme Court Commission on Racial and Ethnic Bias in the Courts. At Emory, Professor Cleaver specializes in civil rights history and U.S. law on citizenship and race, and has contributed essays to Critical Race Feminism, The Promise of Multiculturalism, and The Black Panther Party Reconsidered. The debate is cosponsored with the Black Student Alliance at Yale (BSAY). Kathleen Cleaver
3/28: Party Prize Debate
4/05 Guest: Sean Reyes
Sean Reyes is the current Attorney General of Utah and a member of the State Central Committee, the governing body of the Utah Republican Party. Attorney General Reyes has overseen cases on polygamy and immigration, and appealed a 2014 Tenth Circuit decision striking down Utah’s ban on gay marriage. As partner at Parsons Behle & Latimer, the largest Utah law firm, he argued and briefed cases before the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, and he has also served on the Utah Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and a Congressional Commission on Latino issues. Sean_Reyes_Utah_AG
4/12 Guest: Thomas Donnelly 
Thomas Donnelly is the co-director of the Marilyn Ware Center for Security Studies at the American Enterprise Institute, a pro-business think tank. A former editor of Armed Forces JournalArmy Times, and Defense News, his research focuses on American military strategy and resources, the Iraq War, and the relationship between the military and domestic political structures. Mr. Donnelly is also the Director of Strategic Communications and Initiatives at Lockheed Martin, a former staff member for the House Committee on Armed Services, and a former member of the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission.
4/19 Guest: Keith Styles
 Keith Styles is the Chief Operating Officer and General Counsel at Catholic Charities USA, a network of 164 local Catholic Charities agencies in the United States. Catholic Charities USA advocates for government policy on poverty eradication and works directly through its local agencies on disaster response, housing, financial assistance, food and meal distribution, medical and dental care, and education to poor and vulnerable populations, under the principle that “ending poverty isn’t just a question of money—a family’s well-being should be evaluated by factors more holistic than merely its gross monthly income.”
 4/25 Bulldog Days Debate: Akhil Reed Amar
Akhil Reed Amar is the Sterling Professor of Law at Yale University and the author of The Bill of Rights: Creation and ReconstructionAmerica’s Unwritten Constitution, and America’s Constitution: A Biography. Professor Amar’s scholarship on constitutional law, described by the New York Times as “commendably unorthodox, and, in some ways, iconoclastic,” has been cited by the Supreme Court in over 30 cases, and has won awards from the American Bar Association and the Federalist Society.

Past Debates: Fall Semester 2015

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. 220px-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.


9/21 (Monday) Guest: Bill Ayers on Resolved: Reject Market-Based School Reform
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. (B18) William Ayers speaks about his two books to an audience at the All Souls Church, Unitarian in Washington, Monday, Nov. 17, 2008. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
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. Calhoun_College_shield
10/6 Guest: Bob Levy on Resolved: Let Private Businesses Boycott Same-Sex Weddings
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.
10/12 Robert Haft Freshman Prize Debate on Resolved: Tell the Noble Lie
10/26 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. -AG1t97A
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. Block_0
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. awax
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 cropped 67005_1C-00
12/01 Resolved: Require Ethnic Studies

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.