Conflict Over Coach Jolts Debate Team
One of Harvard's and the nation's top debaters along with the assistant coach of the Harvard debate team have resigned from the team in the wake of a controversy involving charges of misconduct they leveled against the squad's head coach.
In a five-hour closed meeting held Thursday night in Quincy House, the Harvard Debate Council voted, 22-15, to recommend that the University retain head coach Greg A. Rosenbaum '74 next year despite the objections of assistant coach David M. Schiffman '74 and Council vice president Mark Helm '78.
Helm and his debate partner L. Jeffrey Pash '77 were among the top three two-man debate teams in the country last year and were reportedly expected to do very well in this year's national championships before Helm quit the team and debating altogether as a result of his disagreement with Rosenbaum.
Neither Schiffman, Rosenbaum's former moot court partner at the Harvard Law School, nor Helm would comment on the case of the conflict, but sources contacted yesterday said their resignations and unsuccessful attempt to oust Rosenbaum as coach stemmed in part from charges that Rosenbaum acted "unethically" in trying to influence the judges in the Debate Council's high school tournament held at Harvard two weeks ago.
Several of the judges--Harvard debaters--were reportedly very angry that Rosenbaum would allegedly attempt to influence their decisions, ostensibly, sources said, to assure that certain high school teams would be encouraged by victory to return next year to the Harvard tournament.
Rosenbaum said last night he had "no comment" concerning the allegations against him.
The sources contacted yesterday refused to reveal the specifics of the Thursday meeting, but most saw the defeat of the motion to recommend firing Rosenbaum as a vote of confidence in the coach.
Jerry A. Jacobs '77, co-president of the Debate Council, called the meeting a "fruitful discussion" of the team's problems, adding that personality clashes were talked out at length.
Harvard's debate team has had a successful season thus far. The squad's two top two-man teams were selected to be among 16 teams sent to the national championships