Nov 10, 2009

CSI: COMS Dept.: No gloves required

by Cat Hewett

The School of Communication Studies has a new team for its fall lineup. The forensic team began working Sept. 27, but they were not solving crimes in Miami, New York or Las Vegas.

The team consists of 14 students who compete under the direction of graduate assistant Andrew Jones.

“In preparation for competition, our students, with my guidance, select and perform works of literary merit, prepare platform speeches on current topics and prepare for limited preparation (impromptu) events,” Jones said.

The team competes in the American Forensic Association (AFA) District VII, which includes states from Virginia to Maine, and includes the University of Virginia, James Madison University and Cornell University.

“We are the professional organization for the many men and women who train American students in the skills of public speaking and study the use of reasoned discourse in public life,” according to the AFA Web site.

At the first Southern and Northern Atlantic Forensics Union tournament, two members from Liberty’s team were finalists. Upperclassman Grace Njoroge placed in the novice prose interpretation competition, while her teammate, senior Meridith Brush, placed in the novice poetry interpretation competition.

“In these events, the students were responsible for selecting works of literary merit, and performing an original interpretation of those works for adjudicators and audience members … along the East Coast,” Jones said.

“I have loved being on the forensics team. It has been my favorite class and one of my favorite groups
of friends,” Brush said.

Brush also placed in poetry, program oral interpretation (which utilizes drama), prose and poetry, communication analysis (where competitors are given two minutes to prepare a five-minute speech based on a quotation), extemporaneous speaking (in which a person has 30 minutes to write a speech on a current event), tabloid extemporaneous speaking (which limits the current topic to tabloid events) and impromptu sales (where competitors decide how to sell an item).

“Forensics is a new challenge each week but everyone has really bonded and started to work well together,” Brush said. “We have a great group of freshmen on the team this year, and they are all doing really well in their competitions. I can’t wait to see what they will do in the next few years. Our coach, Mr. Jones, is very helpful and always willing to work with us.”

“I want Liberty to have a forensics team to show that our students are as competitive in the classroom as we are on the field,” Jones said. “In every event, we strive to show that truth exists, and can be found. … When we accomplish that goal, we succeed in spreading the (gospel) to our opponents in competition.”

“Students need to be the best actors, the best philosophers, the best economists, the best politicians or the best rhetoricians their judges have ever seen,” Jones said. “Through forensics, Liberty University students attempt to show their academic peers that, because it is Christian, it is better.”

Contact Cat Hewett at

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