First Gaudino debate to confront ‘Williams brand’

Today, the College will host the inaugural Gaudino Debate to discuss whether or not the students of Williams College own the Williams brand.

“The Gaudino Fund is committed to the notion that, to learn, we must confront uncomfortable differences and learn through contrasts … We hope that this debate will present the contrasts that engender learning,” Anouk Dey ’09, alumni trustee on the Gaudino Board, said.

The development of the Gaudino Debate series was motivated by the controversy generated in the lead-up to genderqueer porn star Jiz Lee’s visit last spring (“Porn star offers insight on personal career choice,” May 2, 2012).

“Students seemed completely against the performance, or completely for it; but neither side understood the other. The campus needed a forum to consider the arguments for and against Lee’s performance,” Dey said.

The debate series was created specifically for this purpose, and the inaugural topic was chosen to help address the void in dialogue and understanding that resulted from Lee’s appearance on campus.

“The students on the board and I did some thinking about the bigger questions the Jiz Lee controversy brought to the fore and decided it was a question of who owns the Williams brand,” Dey said.

Each debate will feature an audience poll, taken by the moderator, before and after the discussion.

Both sides will have five minutes to make an opening statement and three minutes for the rebuttal period. The moderator will mediate the remainder of the hour-long debate, and the audience will have opportunities to offer questions that will be integrated into the conversation.

Prior to each debate, The Williams Record will publish the opening statements of both sides of the debate in the opinions section. Further, the Gaudino Fund will also print both opinions on its website, where visitors may vote on the resolution at hand.

The Gaudino Fund hopes to expand the reach of future debates to alumni and other College stakeholders by live-streaming the debates on the Gaudino website.

“For the next debate, we can hopefully set up this technology, as well as a live chat so that online viewers can comment and ask questions,” Dey said.

Wednesday’s debate will feature Professor Darel Paul and Andy Quinn ’13 in favor of the notion that students own the Williams brand, with Professor James McAllister and Jack Noelke ’13 opposed to this resolution.

The debate will be moderated by National Public Radio’s Barbara Haggerty ’81 and will take place at 7 p.m. in Griffin 3.

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