At a conference of representatives of the debating interests at Harvard, Yale and Princeton, held in New Haven last Tuesday, the triangular system of debate was adopted. By this system each university will be represented by two teams arguing different sides of the same question, and all three debates will occur simultaneously. The date decided upon was Friday, March 19, Harvard and Yale meeting in Cambridge, Harvard and Princeton at Princeton, and Yale and Princeton in New Haven, and each home team supporting the negative.
One advantage of this scheme is that it involves the choosing of a single question for debate. In addition to this only one coach need be procured to instruct both teams during the same period of time.
The fairness of this scheme is shown by the fact that, as each college must defend both sides of the question, there will be no reason for comment on the ground that one had to support the more difficult side of the proposition. It is, in addition, more expedient as it obviates the necessity of preparing for two separate debates in the same half-year. Furthermore, the invidious second team will be eliminated, thus enabling the six best debaters in each university to participate in the argument, whereas before only three men took part, the second team gaining little or nothing by its work in preparation.
Neither Harvard or Yale has ever tried the new system, but for two years Princeton has used it with great success in triangular debates with Cornell and Columbia. Smaller college leagues have also used the plan successfully.
The working out in detail of the scheme adopted at the conference, subject to the approval of the three associations, provides for the selection of the judges from a list of 30 submitted by the home teams to their opponents, seven weeks before the debate. Within one week from the receipt of each list, the names will be returned, those deemed satisfactory marked in order of preference, and the final choice of three made as soon afterwards as possible. In regard to the subject, a list of three questions will be submitted to each of the three governing boards by the other two. The questions will be numbered in order of preference, and the one having the lowest number of points selected. In case of a tie, the question will be again voted upon as before. The instructions to judges will be discussed before each debate at meetings of the three judges with one delegate of each of the two colleges represented in the debate.
The University was represented at the conference by F. Schenck '09, who acted as chairman.