DISCUSSION BECOMES GENERAL
The acclaim with which the Oregon system met in the recent Dartmouth-Harvard debate tent an impetus to its general adaptation by debating circles. Under the new procedure the first man on each team sets forth the arguments of his side. The second man questions the opposition, and one member of each team then summarizes the disputations which favor his contentions. The audience render the verdict after quizzing the participants to their own satisfaction. By combining the best elements of the Oxford system of free discussion and the present unsatisfactory American procedure, this most recent innovation in the sphere of intercollegiate argumentation may supplant the existing scheme and provide a stimulus long desired.
The emphasis of intelligent discussion rather than the defeat of the opposition is an appealing and practical phase of the new system. The oratorical outpouring of facts and arguments from an over-taxed memory will be supplanted by genuine and thorough understanding of all the aspects of the question involved in the controversy. Practical thinking will be bestirred and more valuable conclusions attained. By becoming an organic part of the whole procedure, the audience will derive a real benefit which only the privilege of questioning can provide. Debaters will resemble attorneys, who think on their feet and are so adroit at verbal examination that they elicit replies favorable to their side of the controversy.
The announcement of the winner by the audience should assure a more unbiased judgment than the present judicial system involving a few experts. Certainly the verdict of those uninformed, who can judge solely from the convincing force of the arguments as presented, should be a fairer criterion of the merits of the particular debaters than the decision of necessarily prejudiced experts. The Oregon system appears to be an answer to the existing demand for a more effective and valuable procedure in intercollegiate debating, and, judging from recent acclaim, bids fair to revive the dying popularity of the rostrum.