Following on the heels of Wabash's resounding win in the annual "Bleed for the Bell" blood drive, the Wabash debate team of Matt Symons ’04 and Aaron Drake ’04 knocked off the fifth ranked DePauw debate team in the 2003 Monon Bell Debate. The Little Giants beat J.J. Burns and Erich Taylor in the parliamentary style debate held on the campus of DePauw. Burns and Taylor had been ranked fifth nationally out of 447 collegiate debate teams.
DePauw supplied the resolution for the debate: "Single gender schools provide a better education." Wabash, as the government team, redefined the resolution as "Wabash better prepares its students for success than does DePauw."
Symons and Drake argued effectively before the crowd of 170 audience members that Wabash has superior graduate school acceptance rates, a higher rate of alumni giving, and higher percentage of chief executive officers.
Symons and Drake also made good use of the 2003 National Survey of Student Engagement results, which rank Wabash higher than DePauw in every category.
"The winning team was determined in the customary fashion for a parliamentary debate, by a division of the house," said Dr. David Timmerman, Wabash associate professor of speech. "After winning the debate, the assembled Wabash students celebrated in the traditional manner: by singing the school song at the top of their lungs, thus filling the classroom and chasing the DePauw students out of their own room in stunned silence." The Monon Bell rivalry pits Wabash and DePauw in a gridiron matchup that dates to 1890. The series is tied at 50 wins for each school with nine ties entering Saturday's 110th contest. "The DePauw debate team served as gracious hosts," added Timmerman. "First they took the Wabash debate team out to a fine dinner and then presented each of the two Wabash debaters with coffee mugs prior to the start of the debate."