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Waves Debate Hosts Virtual Debate on Presidential Candidate Responses to COVID-19

On Tuesday, April 21, 2020, Seaver College Waves Debate members hosted a virtual debate presenting the 2020 presidential candidates and their responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. The virtual debate brought a live audience of Pepperdine community members as well as viewers from across the United States.

When Pepperdine announced the University's transition to remote instruction for the safety of the community in response to COVID-19, members of the Waves Debate team looked for different ways to continue their programming in virtual environments. As national debate competitions quickly moved to online formats, Waves Debate made a surprising decision to not compete. Instead they wanted to use this time to engage discussions that would not only serve the community, but would also have lasting impacts on feelings of unity.

“Debate doesn’t have to be divisive but can, in fact, be quite the opposite,” shares Tiffany Hall, Seaver College junior and debate’s on-campus events chair.

The virtual event featured three debaters—senior Courtney Deaver and juniors Hannah Kate and Samantha Miller—presenting three presidential candidate responses to COVID-19. Each debater shared their platforms and rebuttals with professionalism and involved engaging discussions on healthcare systems, economic concerns, and more. As the debate closed, participants emphasized the importance for collaboration despite differences to solve the needs of our community now more than ever. The event was a testament to Waves Debate’s efforts to expand how people interact with debate and to use it as a bridge between divides.

“It’s incredibly inspiring seeing how our Pepperdine students are diving into service with their skills and talents,” shares director of debate and visiting professor of communication Abi Smith.

A recording of the debate is available on the team’s Youtube channel.