Harvard Debating Team Takes National Title, Defeating Defending Champion Northwestern

When you have a 21-year-old grudge to avenge, you don't fool around.

Harvard debaters Michael B. King '79 and John M. Bredehoft '80 captured the national debating title Monday, defeating reigning champion Northwestern University. The rival teams had not met at the national finals since Northwestern beat Harvard for the title in 1958.

All debaters at the tournament, held at the University of Kentucky, argued the topic. "Should the Federal Government establish a program which guarantees employment opportunities to all U.S. citizens in the labor force?

Harvard argued the negative position in the finals, winning the decision 3-0.

King, who said yesterday he is "eestatic but exhausted," shared credit for the victory with the rest of the team. "We had people who didn't travel with us back here doing research at Lamont and Widener to support our arguments," King said.


King also took second place as outstanding individual speaker at the tournament.

Sixty-two teams qualified for the national tournament based on their debating records this season. Only 16 teams entered the elimination rounds at the tournament.

Harvard was one of only three schools to enter two teams in the elimination rounds. William C. Foutz '80 and Sandra Seville-Jones '82. Harvard's second team, lost in the quarterfinals.

What About the Semis?

"It was good to get to the quarter-finals, but I want to go back," Seville-Jones said yesterday. She added that although many schools relegate freshmen to second-class status on their debating teams, Harvard does not.

Charles E. Garvin '74 and Greg A. Rosenbaum '74, debate team coaches, won Harvard's last national title in 1974. Garvin said yesterday that the two coaches' experience may have give this year's team an advantage, but "it would be presumptuous to say we knew more about the competition scene than they (the students) did."

This s Harvard's fourth national title in the 33-year history of the tournament. Laurence H. Tribe '62, professor of law, won the team's first national championship in 1961, then returned to coach the next winning team in 1969.

Garvin said this victory over Northwestern was important. "Northwestern had won five national titles: Harvard had won three," he said. "Now it's five to four," he said.