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Thursday January 20th

DiPhi debates claim Margaret Spellings should resign

<p>The Dialectic and Philanthropic Societies hosted “Resolved: Margaret Spellings should resign”, a debate in New West.</p>
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The Dialectic and Philanthropic Societies hosted “Resolved: Margaret Spellings should resign”, a debate in New West.

“Generally our first debate every semester is going to be university-focused, and obviously this one is a little charged in a few ways,” said Tyler Clay, president of DiPhi. “We’re trying to increase membership and increase our foothold on campus and it serves both of those purposes, I think.”

DiPhi’s debate hall was filled for the event, with 48 people in attendance — only 35 of whom were members.

The meeting began soon after 7:30 with a reading of a passage of Thomas Wolfe’s “Look Homeward, Angel.” Wolfe was a member of DiPhi during his time at UNC.

Chase Hawisher, DiPhi’s critic who was part of the committee that selected the meeting’s topic, expressed the importance of having insightful debate on personal subjects.

“So we’re going to have two smart people tell you why she should resign and two smart people why she shouldn’t resign, and hopefully something insightful will happen,” he said.

Seniors Ryan Rosenberg and Derrick Flakoll both spoke for the resolution while Illirik Smirnov and Sarah Pickhardt spoke against.

Rosenberg focused on Spelling’s reported favorability of corporatizing education during his speech, which Smirnov countered by expressing how this attitude could benefit students for whom cost played a role in prohibiting them from education.

“Spelling’s dedication that education is run cheaply and with little bloat is beneficial to the other students of the UNC system,” he said.

Flakoll said Spellings’ history of seeing academia as a policy end and time spent at the Apollo Group should preclude her from the job.

Pickhardt responded by saying critics should examine Spellings’ entire resume, including work for veterans, before judging her.

Clay opened the floor for anyone in the audience, members or not, after the speakers finished. He said as president, he wanted more non-members to come and speak at events.

“That’s why we hold debates in the first place,” he said. “We’re all here to be better debaters, but DiPhi is here for everyone on campus to speak.”

First-year Denton Ong criticized Spellings’ appointment during the free speech segment.

“She represents a dangerous atmosphere in North Carolina that threatens to derail the mission at UNC.”

The resolution in favor of Spellings’ resignation passed from the whole chamber with 25 for, 12 against and 11 abstaining. It passed again for the member-only vote with 18 for, 10 against and seven abstaining.

Hawisher said part of the reason this debate topic was chosen was because of DiPhi’s role on campus.

“I think we are at our best when we’re talking about what everyone wants to talk about and we’re doing it well, and saying what’s on people’s minds.”

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