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Debate Team Engages Lively Topic

The Pelicans took third place in the Novice two-person team category and second and third place in the Novice four-person team category at the Loomis Chaffee Debate Tournament held on campus on January 23.

Sophomores Artem Gagushin and Oliver Zhang (three wins, 511 points) finished third as a two-person team. In the four-person division, the team of sophomore Nina Cushman, sophomore Jake Delcampe, junior Ethan Song, and junior Adi Verma (five wins, 1013) finished second, and the team of Artem, Oliver, sophomore Victoria Amador, and sophomore Cindy Lin (five wins, 1002) placed third. 

There were 14 teams in the tournament, the first time that Loomis held a debate event in person since January 2020.  

During the day, all competitors were required to debate both sides of a policy resolution released the morning of the debate. Each debater was given a packet of articles. The resolution for the tournament was a timely one: “A.I.-generated writing like ChatGPT and other dialogue-based AI chatbots should be banned in schools.” 

In a New York Times article given to debaters, there was a conclusion that today’s students will graduate into a world full of generative artificial intelligence (AI) programs, and they will need to know how to use them. “To be good citizens, they’ll need hands-on experience to understand how this type of AI works, what types of bias it contains, and how it can be used and weaponized,” the article stated. “This adjustment won’t be easy. Sudden technological shifts rarely are. But who better to guide students into this strange new world than their teachers?”   

In another article, this one from Business Insider, a college professor spoke about a student turning in an AI-generated essay that had red flags. “Word by word it was a well-written essay,” the professor noted. But he grew suspicious when he noticed a claim that “made no sense” and was “just flatly wrong.”  

AI chatbots — a topic that makes for a robust debate. It certainly did at the Loomis Chaffee Debate Tournament. 

Michelle Ruffle, a faculty advisor for the Loomis debate team, said the day-long event went well. “The topic was interesting, and the students were all engaged. The arguments against the ban tended to focus on a lack of adequate systems to support a ban and the need to embrace AI and technology in an ever-changing world.”  




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