Harvard defeated Pennsylvania on Saturday night in the last of the intercollegiate debates, held in the Paine Concert Hall of the Music Building on the subject: "Resolved, That capital punishment be abolished." The judges turned in a two to one vote in favor of the University, and 75 per cent of the audience approved of the official decision when a vote was taken from the floor.
Vengeance Calls For Death
The University team, consisting of E. J. Metzdorf '26, F. J. Otis '27, and I. J. Fain '27, upheld the affirmative and based the main argument for abolishing capital punishment on the barbarous civilization which requires an eye for an eye and a death for a death. Metzdorf traced the evolution of punishment from the days when death was administered for all crimes to the present, when it is imposed for only three. He dwelt on these three, murder, treason and rape, with great forces showing how it is merely vengeance which calls for the death of the offender.
Otis next contended that capital punishment has no deterrent effect upon crime. Fain pointed out that capital punishment works poorly, since jurors are afraid of depriving a man of his life and perhaps a man who is innocent. "For 180 murders, there is but one execution," he said, "and society needs a punishment which can be enforced more university."
Impossible To Reform Criminals
The Pennsylvania team was composed of William MeCahan, H. T. Inman, and Harold Bean. Their defense of the death penalty rested on the impossibility of returning criminals who are guilty of rape, treason, or murder in the first degree.
The judges were Professor J. A. Muller of Princeton. President H. I. Southwick of the Emerson College of Oratory, and Professor D. D. Vaughan of Boston University.
The University negative team, consisting of Barrett Williams '28, R. K. Barnes '28, and D. W. Chapman '27, last to Columbia at New York on Saturday night. The judges decision was two to one in favor of Columbia.