Travill Debate Rules

Travill Debates Gavel
Gavel made by Chaim Kuper, Toronto, and presented to the Hannah Chair by his grandson Herschl Berman (Meds '98) to mark plans for the first Tony Travill Debate 1997

December 1996
Every year a committee made up mostly of former debators and representatives of student government advises the Dean on a proposition and chosen faculty debators.

Two faculty members each partner with a medical student to debate opposite sides of the chosen premise.

The debates run on a polite and rigorously timed schedule :

  • 10 minutes for each member of the team, alternating back and forth --Yea and Nay--until all four participants have laid out their arguments.
  • Then two minutes for summary from one member of each side.
  • The Travill Debate Gavel is banged very loudly when the time limits are reached.
  • No Power Point or technological aids.
  • Humour is welcome. Formal attire and costumes have also been used to good effect.
Decision over the winners has been left to a variety of options, such as a panel of judges, a simple show of hands,  an “applause meter,” or audience balloting through designated exit doors with result revealed later at the reception. 

  • The debators' preferences determine the method of voting.
  • The identity of the winning team is recorded only in living memory. The honour is the debate itself.
  • The event is followed by a reception to congratulate all the debaters.
  • The plaque is engraved with the year, the proposition and the names of the debators.