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Debaters take on idea of a half-dozen Californias


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A Silicon Valley venture capitalist believes that California is ungovernable and proposes subdividing it into six mini-states. Good idea?

That’s up for debate at Sacramento State.

The Sac State Speech & Debate Team and the College of Arts and Letters will host a team reunion faceoff over the six-state proposition at 2 p.m. Sunday, April 13, at the University Union, Hinde Auditorium. It’s free and open to the public.

Arguing the pros and cons will be current and former members of the debate team: Nick Burnett, emeritus professor of communication studies at Sacramento State and former debate team coach; Doug Fraleigh, a former student debater, team coach and now chair of Fresno State’s communication department; Craig Jones, a former student debater who runs the private equity firm Ticonderoga Capital; and Chantel Crane, a former student debater and graduate assistant coach who now is an air pollution economist with the state Air Resources Board.

Also participating will be two current members of the Sac State debate team: criminal justice major Rebecca McDonnell and communication studies major Nickolas Fletcher. Both are seniors.

The day’s topic is “Resolved: That Dividing the State of California into Six States Would Be Desirable.” Barbara O’Connor, former director of the Institute for the Study of Politics and Media at Sacramento State, will serve as moderator.

“I’m looking forward to bringing so many talented former debaters and coaches together to celebrate what was such an important part of their college experience,” says Kristen Tudor, director of debate at Sacramento State.

“The great thing about debate is that it teaches students to think critically about the world around them in a context that celebrates hard work, dedication and teamwork. And the relationships and skills that people build while on the debate team will last a lifetime,” she says.

The reunion debate is a part of Family Sunday Funday, which falls on the final day of the 2014 Festival of the Arts. The five-day event opens Wednesday, April 9, and will celebrate both visual and performance art. For the full schedule, go to  For media assistance, contact Sacramento State’s Office of Public Affairs at (916) 278-6156. – Dixie Reid