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The History of Harvard's Commencement, Explained

An Investment

NO WRITER ATTRIBUTED

This year, the Debate Council won both the Ivy league title and the New England Regional Debate Tourney, which it entered for the first time. This year, also, the Council received $200 from Dean Bender's undergraduate discretionary fund. Although this is the most money the debaters have ever received, it is still less than one half the annual grant given any other Ivy competitor, and will be reduced to $100 next year.

Without enough money, the Council's record in the future will be spotty at best. When the teams for regional and national tournaments must be chosen for their ability to pay all their own expenses instead of for debating skill alone, the best combination is rarely selected. Because of this, the Council lost more than half of its tourney debates outside of New England.

College prestige is affected by the outcome of these tournaments. If the Council could obtain enough money to send consistently excellent teams to the major tourneys, it would add considerably to the University's good name. Other difficulties would also disappear given a steady income. The Council would no longer be forced to return the hotel-room hospitality of our opponents with an extra couch in a dormitory room; nor would teams travelling to other Ivy colleges be forced to pay for their own meals and part of their tickets.

The Debate Council has realized the need for regular income and has started raising a $10,000 endowment fund, whose annual yield will supply the necessary money. But it will probably be ten years before the final sum is reached. If the Council can raise one-tenth of their goal each year, it should be entitled to the decreasing difference between the endowment yield and the necessary yearly $300. This money would have to come from Dean Bender's fund.

The Debate Council is in an unusual position. It is virtually the only non-athletic group which enters actual competition with other colleges. Unlike other organizations, the Council has little hope of paying its expenses by gate receipts. However, the debaters have shown this year that they are a worthwhile investment.

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