A large crowd of students, faculty and staff members, and guests gathered in Memorial Hall to witness the Darlington Cup Debate Wednesday evening, with the Euphemian Literary Society declared the winner over the Philomathean Literary Society.
The stated proposition for debate was: “Resolved: that government assistance programs contribute to a culture of dependency which undermines personal responsibility.”
Euphemians Brandon Oberle and Joseph Spate spoke for the proposition; Philomatheans Matt Diaz and Ax Dillingham argued against it.
The Euphemians characterized government assistance programs as “enabling” irresponsibility, while the Philomatheans asserted that such programs encourage “responsibility for all” members of society.
Declamations and oratory, speeches related to the proposition but not part of the debate, were offered by Philomatheans Chris Kennelly and Matt Diaz and by Euphemians Eric Goodwin and Daniel Prohaska.
Moderated by Associate Professor of Music Dr. Brooks Kuykendall, this year’s event continues the renewal of the debating tradition at Erskine encouraged by Erskine President Dr. David Norman and begun last year. An intersociety debate competition for the Darlington Cup was introduced at Erskine in 1912, when alumnus and benefactor J.J. Darlington presented the trophy cup, crafted by Tiffany & Co., to the school.
Kuykendall presented the debate proposition. Making up the panel of judges were Visiting Instructor of Spanish Michael Burris, an Erskine graduate; Vice President for Advancement David Earle; Dr. Joanne Griffith, an Erskine alumna and retired missionary; Dr. Mary Lowe of Erskine Theological Seminary; and Associate Professor of Philosophy Dr. David Reiter.
Erskine Chaplain Paul Patrick gave an opening prayer, society presidents Brandon Oberle of the Euphemians and Fernando Perez of the Philomatheans offered welcoming remarks, and President Norman awarded the cup to the winners.
Another debate at Erskine is scheduled for Monday April 23, when the Erskine College Debate Team takes on the Anderson University Debate Society at 7 p.m. in Memorial Hall. The resolution to be debated is: “Resolved: When in conflict, stewardship ought to be valued above free market economics.”