Junior debater Ben Dodge wins Novice State Tournament

Dodge discusses recent victory and success stratagy


Yonah Davis, Alex Balfour, and Navjot Kaur

Why do you participate in debate?

Just because it’s a fun thing to do and I feel like it’s a good thing to know how to do.

How long have you participated in debate?

I’ve been in debate for almost two months.

What is the Novice State Tournament?

The Novice State Tournament is for first-year debaters in the state of Minnesota. (It occurred) this past Saturday.

What did you do during the tournament?

The kind of debate we do is called Lincoln and Douglas, which is one person on one person. So you pretty much debate people until it’s the last two best debaters because of the bracket system and then they debate and the winner gets the trophy.

What were you debating about?

We were debating about qualified immunity in the United States. Qualified immunity is for a police officer, if they commit a crime while they are in their job then they won’t be prosecuted for it.

When you debate, do they assign you your viewpoint or do you get to choose what you agree with?

They assign you your viewpoint so you’re either saying that qualified immunity should be limited in the United States, or you’re saying that it should not be limited, but no matter what you’ll have to argue both sides eventually.

Which viewpoint were you assigned to for the state tournament?

I was assigned to say that qualified immunity should not be limited.

What awards did you win?

I won (first place) novice Lincoln-Douglas state champion in Minnesota.

Why do you think you won?

It was in a really large part to my coaches and the team captain. They really provided me the method to get to where I did.

How do you feel about winning the awards?

It made me feel pretty excited and I’m really looking forward to trying to qualify for Nationals this year.

What are your other debate accomplishments?

I came first place in the Apple Valley tournament which I’ve heard is one of the biggest in America for cross state tournaments. That was for novice Lincoln-Douglas as well and that’s about it.

What do you think you can learn from debate, what skills has it given you?

Arguing better, but also how to understand other viewpoints other than what I just have currently.