UMW Students Place in National Web Debates

A group of University of Mary Washington students participated in the University of Southern California’s Trojan Web Debates in October, with three students making the top 10 and advancing to the final week of debates.

Freshman Steven Apruzese, senior Charles Girard, sophomore Tan Handres and freshman Michael Jaster each argued the topic: “Should same sex marriage be the top priority of the LGBT civil rights movement?” Girard placed sixth in the tournament, Apruzese placed ninth and Handres placed tenth. The debate marked the first time any of the four students had competed in intercollegiate debate.

“The four of us camped out in the James Farmer Multicultural Center well after midnight on most nights because the videos were always due at 3 a.m.,” Girard said. “We got to know each other and really learned a lot from each other regarding debating, as well as from the debates themselves.”

The two-week online intercollegiate debate tournament started with 18 students representing 11 colleges and universities across the country. Competitors uploaded videos with affirmative or negative arguments by specific time deadlines. To view the debates, a full list of results or to learn more about the program, visit

About Brynn Boyer

Brynn Boyer is assistant director of media and public relations and a 2010 graduate of UMW.