Two Harvard students convinced a heckling audience of debaters and a skeptical panel of judges last weekend that there is a monster among us, and in so doing won the national parliamentary debate tournament.
Douglas F. Curtis '84 and Neil H. Buchanan, a second-year graduate student in economics, defeated a team from Amherst in the tournament's final round Saturday at the University of Chicago to clinch the victory.
Given the topic--"The monster is among us"--Curtis and Buchanan took a very liberal interpretation in the tradition of off-topic debate, and defined the resolution to mean that Ronald Reagan's presidency has been harmful.
Harvard also claimed a near monopoly on the top speaker awards which are awarded for individual performance in the six preliminary ranks as well as the final. Harvard debaters took four of the top five speaker awards, with Curtis getting first and Buchanan getting fourth.
Christian F. Cooper '84 and William H. Smith '85, placing fifth as a team, won fifth and third speaker awards respectively.
Harvard's victory capped off the third year of the Harvard Speech and Parliamentary Debate Society's existence. Last year a Harvard team reached the final round of nationals but was edged out in a close decision by Princeton.
Anthony J. DiNovi '84, president of HSPDS, called Harvard's performance "just unbelievable." He added that it was, "even more fantastic when you consider that two years ago we didn't even have a team."