The 2008-2009 mock trial season has finally come to a close. All of the evidence has been submitted and the jury has returned a verdict. Northwood University from Midland, Michigan is the new national champion. Congratulations to Northwood!
UIMT finished a strong season with another top 5 finish. The 1271 team ended the tournament tied for second place after facing Claremont McKenna College, University of Alabama-Birmingham, University of Pittsburgh, and University of California-Berkeley. 1271's only loss was by one point; they also had two ties. Four points stood between 1271 and finishing 8-0. Ravi Narayan earned an All-American Attorney award on the defense, while his teammate Kaitlyn Evans just missed the honor by one point on the plaintiff.
A young 1272 team finished with 2.5 victories; Kathryn Beary finished her first season of UIMT with All-American Witness honors on the plaintiff.
Once again UIMT finishes in the top 5 (this stretches the streak of Des Moines top 5 finishes to seven). In fact, since the 1999-2000 season the Hawkeyes have finished in the top 15. Of course, no one in Iowa City seems to care. The press release went out and even the Daily Iowan ignored it. Surprising? No. The back-to-back championships in 2002 & 2003 were greeted by a blurb that was barely too long for Twitter.
Every year we succeed despite a lack of funding or campus support outside of the Honors Department. The tournaments get more expensive, farther away, and yet the students continue to pay out-of-pocket. The dedication and determination of the students is admirable and inspiring. However, the burden is categorically unfair to the students.
Debate has a room at the Communication Center for all of their materials, trophies, and practice needs. UIMT practices in hallways, our trophies gather dust in basements, and our case materials clutter trunks.
I have no grand notion that my diatribe will amount to anything. It is a shame, however, that the University is likely to lose a great program in the near future and no one will care or fight to keep it alive. With my pending departure to Ohio it's likely UIMT will become a student run program with no connections in AMTA and no guidance on how to argue the law or succeed in the mock trial archetype. A program I helped build will crumble without so much as a whimper from the University.
I understand budgets are tight, but a university is supposed to be about building strong skills for a bright future. Mock trial promotes teamwork, public speaking skills, analytical thinking,and complex problem solving skills. At least it does right now; in a few years students around the country will continue to hone crucial skills that will help them in their careers. In Iowa City, the University will continue to care more about the drinking students do privately than aiding a program that creates stronger students and successful alums.
August 9 - "L.T.'s Theory of Pets"
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