URI student’s a winner (No debate about that!)

KINGSTON, R.I. — December 22, 1999 — URI student Neil Alpert of Port Washington, N.Y. captured first place in the “The Capitol Classic” Debate Tournament, held earlier this month at American University in Washington, D.C. Students representing 15 colleges and universities around the country, including Cornell University and Colorado College participated. The competition included a series of one-on-one debates culminating in a succession of elimination rounds. The top four debaters, based on their win-loss records in the preliminary rounds, advanced to the elimination rounds. Another URI student, Jamie Bourassa of Sterling, Mass., participated in the tournament. Alpert’s and Bourassa’s combined records placed URI third in the school sweepstakes. URI President Robert L. Carothers made the URI debaters’ attendance possible through travel grant money, since the tournament was announced late and not part of the debate budget. The topic of debate for all students this year is whether the federal government should increase restrictions on the use, sale, and/or development of genetically modified organisms. The topic allows debaters to address such areas as the testing and labeling of genetically engineered foods; gene therapy; cross-species transplants (xenotransplants); the engineering of new species, etc. Alpert transferred to URI from Union College and relishes the opportunity to debate. A junior majoring in communications studies, Alpert plans on going to law school after he graduates from URI. He plans a career in politics. “You know how most kids dream of becoming president? Well, I’ve never outgrown that dream,” says the top debater. Based on the regular season tournament program, both Alpert and Bourassa are qualified to attend the national championship tournament that will be held in the spring. -xxx- For More Information: Jan Sawyer, 401-874-2116