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Wiley College welcomes three-time world champ debate team in Friday exhibition

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MARSHALL (KYTX) - If you're looking for a Friday night primetime debate, look no farther than Marshall.

Wiley College is hosting the three-time world champion team from Australia for an exhibition debate, and it's free.

The young men and women taking part in the exhibition say the real debate will take place in the minds of the audience.

As representatives of Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, Gemma Buckley and Madeline Schultz have seen many parts and cultures of the world.

For the first time, they're experiencing American and East Texas' culture.

"And that more than anything else is what I've enjoyed about debating," Schultz says. "It's meeting people and experiencing their cultures, particularly when there's just a couple of you going to a different country where you're welcomed by people."

At 7 Friday night, they will take the stage in Wiley College's chapel for an exhibition with Wiley's debaters, Nathan Leal and Benjamin Turner.

"It's a very public style of debate," Leal says, "so anybody can go ahead and come in, understand what's really happening, not only within their own community, but as well as the nation at large."

The topic, income equality, is a global topic.

"Obviously, the question of income and equality is incredibly important here in the United States, but I think is a really significant question when you're talking about the developing world," Buckley says.

Debate has become part of curriculum for every class and every student at Wiley College, which has nearly doubled in enrollment since the 2007 release of The Great Debaters, a movie that chronicled Wiley College's 1935 debate team.

An undergraduate study conducted between 1949 and 1961 found that 100 students who took part in intercollegiate debate performed substantially higher in critical thinking than 147 students who didn't debate other college students.

"It develops critical thinking in a way that I didn't know it could, and because what it calls you to do is not only agree with yourself, but also take the negative stance, or rather, the unaffirmative stance and try to hash out your feelings without actually agreeing with what you may be arguing with," says Turner.

The Wiley College chapel is located on Wiley Avenue at University Avenue in southwest Marshall.

It's free and open the public.

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