The results are in and there’s no debate – Rutgers University–Camden is the champ!
The campus’ criminal justice debate team took home the hardware as Top School at the inaugural South Jersey Criminal Justice Debate Invitational, held on Saturday, April 12, at Rowan University. A perpetual plaque, featuring a gavel on it, will be engraved with Rutgers–Camden’s name, and displayed on campus until a new winner is crowned next year.
“This is the sort of engaged scholarly experience that benefits students well beyond the classroom and demonstrates the very real products of teaching,” says Gail Caputo, an associate professor of criminal justice at Rutgers–Camden, who planned the event with Michael Vigorita, an associate professor of law and justice studies at Rowan University. “I am extremely proud of what our team has achieved.”
Under Caputo’s guidance, four criminal justice students competed against more than 30 students from six area colleges and universities in a public forum-styled tournament. The tournament focused on the question of Crime Control vs. Due Process as the best criminal justice model for society.
Student teamed in pairs debated in two rounds, with the two highest-scoring teams competing in a final match. Students were notified of the side on which they would argue just three minutes before the start of each debate.
Representing Rutgers–Camden, Brenna Stone, a freshman majoring in criminal justice, psychology, and history, with minors in childhood studies and teacher preparation, paired with Mike Malloy, a senior criminal justice major; and Fred Stopper, a senior criminal justice major, paired with Jeremy Lopez, a senior majoring in criminal justice and political science, with a minor in national security.
The team scored wins in five of six categories. Stone won the Best Freshman/Sophomore award for scoring more points than any other student in her class level. Stone and Malloy also nabbed the Third Place Team award, while Lopez and Stopper secured the Second Place Team award. On the individual level, Lopez took home second place for his total score.
The two teams were also dressed for success, winning the Best Dressed Award.
According to Malloy, the opportunity to compete in the tournament was just as gratifying as the win. “It was refreshing for me to do something different than my regular routine” says Malloy, who plans to work in the federal government. “Having our team win as much as we did was icing on the cake. Everyone was a fun to work with.”