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The History of Harvard's Commencement, Explained

Debating Conference.

NO WRITER ATTRIBUTED

The conference on intercollegiate debating was held in the Graduate Club, New Haven, on Saturday evening, Harvard, Yale and Princeton being represented each by one graduate and one undergraduate. Yale's delegates were Dr. E. V. Raynolds and C. U. Clark; Princeton's were Professor Bliss Perry and J. J. Moment '96; and Harvard's were R. C. Ringwalt and Fletcher Dobvns '98. The following report will be submitted by the delegates to their respective universities for ratification:

The dates for the intercollegiate debates of 1896-97 shall be the Harvard-Princeton Debate at Princeton, Dec. 5; Harvard-Yale Debate at Cambridge, March 26; and the Yale-Princeton Debate at New Haven, May 6.

In the future the question for the debate shall be proposed seven weeks before the date upon which the debate is to occur and the university choosing the side shall announce its decision five weeks before the same date. The list of judges shall contain not less than twenty names and must be proposed at least six weeks before the debate and the university to which the list is sent shall return it within one week with the names to which it objects stricken out. No man shall act as judge at any intercollegiate debate who is a graduate of either of the universities participating in the debate.

Owing to several misunderstandings that have occurred in the past it was voted to instruct the judges to give their decision upon the merits of the discussion alone regardless of the relative strength of the two sides of the question. Each of the six speakers shall have twelve minutes for his first speech and five minutes for rebuttal. These arrangements were agreed to unanimously by the members of the conference.

There were two other points upon which, after long discussion, the delegates were unable to agree. It was the opinion of the Harvard and Princeton representatives that assistance from members of the faculty and persons outside the university should be limited to the giving of information, while the Yale delegates did not believe that criticism of practice debates by members of the faculty was any more objectionable. The delegates agreed, however, that there was a possibility of abuse in faculty coaching that should be guarded against.

It was the opinion of the Yale and Princeton representatives that no man should be allowed to take part in an intercollegiate debate who is pursuing any other than a regular undergraduate course as candidate for a bachelor's degree in arts, sciences or philosophy or who has received a degree from any other college. The Harvard delegates held that the debates should be open to all members of the universities.

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