THURSDAY, OCTOBER 9, 2008
The Return to Palmer Auditorium

Philip C. Williams--University Presidency
Charlotte Daughhetee--Counseling
Rosemary Arneson--Information Sciences
Scott Turner--Political Science
Betsy Inglesby--English
David Callaghan--Theatre and Fine Arts

MC: Michael Patton

And the Oar goes to...

Scott Turner!

After a hard-fought debate in which over 420 votes were cast, Scott Turner climbed aboard the Life Raft and sailed to the new world, leaving behind President Philip Williams (University Presidency), Charlotte Daughhetee (Counseling), Rosemary Arneson (Information Sciences), Betsy Inglesby (English) and David Callaghan (Theatre and Fine Arts).

The debate was back in Palmer Auditorium after a 2-year stint in the SAC, and for the second year, the event was broadcast over the web. This year’s debate had only one newbie, Dr. Inglesby, as Dr. Williams was the defending champion and the other panelists had all tried to claw their way onto the life raft before.

The debate treated us to the sights and sounds of presidential crooning, promises of sex counseling, claims of quasi-omniscience, pandering to the dog–lovers in the crowd, a spot-on imitation of a national figure and a host of vituperative ripostes between the panelists. Dr. Williams offered a top-ten list of reasons to Save The President with help from a singing dog, Dr. Daughhetee extolled the virtues of having access to trained mental health professionals, Dr. Arneson assured us that she could find out the answer to any question we had (she even brought a handout), Dr. Turner steadfastly refused to answer questions, Dr. Inglesby spoke eloquently about creativity, expression and the origins of all of value and Dr. Callaghan proclaimed that the arts were the beginning point of and basis for all of human value.

The rebuttals flew fast and furious, the audience asked questions in person and via e-mail, and when the votes were counted, Scott was the winner. He accepted the oar with some heartfelt political advice and climbed aboard to row, row, row his boat to his new home. Scott’s performance was, in my opinion, a great and timely piece of political satire. In these times where our institutions seem to be crumbling around us (our leaders, our economy, our candidates, our environment, our position in the world), his Palin-esque refusal to answer questions or examine the causes of our current crises reflected the cynicism that is growing among many in the country. Besides being side-splittingly funny, Scott brought into clear focus the degree to which we all feel the need for some real leadership. Or maybe he was just goofin’ on Palin. Either way, he won. Now he just has to figure out what to do for his defense in 2009…