Resident assistants of Illinois State’s Wright Hall gathered January 27 to debate whether Bill Cosby should be convicted of his charges of sexual assault.
Two teams of four were created to argue their side and support evidence to do so.
“I got the idea for the debate based on a conversation I saw my RAs having on social media,” said Tristen Johnson, Wright Hall residence hall coordinator. One was arguing for Cosby’s conviction and the other was sharing their opinion on why he should not be convicted, Johnson added.
Each team was led by an RA that was involved in the social media dialogue. Anna Fondren led the team arguing for the conviction and Connor Tobin led the team arguing against. As a twist, each of these individuals was challenged to debate the opposite of their personal beliefs.
Once the teams were assigned, Johnson prepared the outline of the debate and structure of the event. RAs then worked with their teams to research, develop an argument, and prepare for a rebuttal from the opposing side.
During the debate, RAs brought up arguments regarding depositions, allegations, and public opinion.
Afterwards, the group participated in a dialogue bringing up how race plays into this subject, sexual assault, as well as the media’s part in covering the trial.
RA Ashley Oliver, member of the convict team, brought up a challenging task when preparing and participating in the debate.
“It was very difficult to take your personal feelings out of it,” Oliver said.
The group also reflected how the Cosby case, as well as many sexual assault cases, lacks the evidence needed to make an easy conviction.
“It’s hard to not side with the woman as a woman,” Oliver added.