UW Debaters To Discuss Pros And Cons Of Inviting Dennis Prager To Speak

Dec 6, 2017

Dennis Prager spoke on the UW campus amid campus protests.
Credit Gage Skidmore / Flickr

In early November, protests broke out at the University of Wyoming over an invitation to conservative radio host Dennis Prager to speak on campus. On Wednesday, December 6, the UW debate team will face members of the conservative student group, Turning Point USA, that invited Prager to discuss the decision.

UW Debate coach Travis Cram said the teams will debate whether the content of a speaker’s views should be considered in deciding whether to invite people to talk in the future. This is not the first time a controversy about free speech has happened on UW’s campus. Protests also broke out when Bill Ayers and Abby Hoffman were invited.

Cram said judges will decide a winning team but added that there’s more to the event than that.  

“I have asked the panelists to keep an open mind because it’s not a matter of who they ultimately agree with because debate is not advocacy, or it’s not a test to see who studied the best and who has the best answer, but who is doing the better job of making the case,” said Cram

Cram said the idea of the event is to use debate techniques to model civil discourse.

“People do not hold opinions different than us because they hate us or because they are sort of geared towards eliminating a person’s way of life,” he said. “People hold different opinions because humans are faulty. We don’t really have access to a pure version of truth.”

The debate is free and open to the public and audience questions will be allowed. It starts at 6:30 p.m. in the UW student union west ballroom.pol