[PAST EVENT] [Postponed Until Fall 2020] - Raft Debate - A W&M Tradition

March 19, 2020
6:30pm - 8pm
Sadler Center, Commonwealth Auditorium
200 Stadium Dr
Williamsburg, VA 23185Map this location
Access & Features
  • Open to the public
2020 raft debate poster

All events and gatherings in university facilities as well as university-sponsored events on and off campus are suspended through at least April 3. This includes events sponsored by any registered student organization and other affiliated groups. Whenever possible, W&M will seek opportunities to enable some events through virtual means and platforms. Learn more: https://www.wm.edu/news/announcements/alert/

The 2020 Raft Debate will be held on Thursday, March 19, at 6:30 p.m. in the Sadler Center's Commonwealth Auditorium and seating in Commonwealth is limited to first 450 people. Overflow viewing will be in Tidewater AB but those in overflow will not be able to vote at the end of the debate for the survivor.  The event is free and open to the public. Described as a "delicate balance of comedy and lecture," the annual Raft Debate features four W&M faculty members from diverse disciplines, stranded on a desolate island with only a one-person life raft for escape to civilization. Which faculty member should survive for the sake of humanity? Based on the volume of applause, the audience chooses the sole survivor as the professors cajole, plead, pontificate and resort shamelessly to props and costumes. The quirky event originated in the mid-1900s and was revived during the 2000s by the Graduate Center, the A&S Office of Graduate Studies and Research, and the A&S Graduate Student Association.

The 2020 participants are:

Humanities: David Grandis, Assistant Professor of Music and Director of Orchestras.

Social Sciences: Jennifer Stevens, Associate Professor of Psychological Sciences.

Sciences: Josh Erlich, Professor of Physics.

Devil's Advocate: Josh Gert, Leslie and Naomi Legum Distinguished Professor and Chair of Philosophy.

The Judge will be played by Virginia Torczon, Dean of Graduate Studies and Research, Arts & Sciences.