Dr. Lee Talley points towards the provost, Dr. James Newell, in a friendly April Fools Day debate on Monday. Staff Writer / Alexander Heller.

It was all smiles and laughter in Business Hall Monday evening as the Rowan Institute for Public Policy and Citizenship (RIPPAC) performed its inaugural mock debate in celebration of April Fools’ Day.

Hosted by professor Benjamin Dworkin, director of RIPPAC, the debate put some of Rowan’s staunchest debaters against each other to humorously settle one of academia’s fiercest arguments: Which is more American, the eagle or the turkey?

The debate itself was a no holds barred discussion between Team Eagle, lead by Dr. James Newell, provost and senior vice president of academic affairs, and Team Turkey, lead by Dr. Lee Talley, dean of the Bantivoglio Concentration in the Honors College of Rowan. The teams themselves were assisted by Rowan students during the debate. Junior sociology major Gabrielle Longo helped Team Eagle, along with junior psychology major Sean O’Malley aiding Team Turkey.

Each team gave their whimsical retorts as the debaters provided “evidence” that supported their positions on which is the more American bird. Dr. Newell exclaimed that the only thing a turkey is good for is being dead, while Dr. Talley jokingly compared the eagle to the national birds of authoritarian regimes, such as fascist Italy and Napoleon’s French Empire.  

The audience was flabbergasted as many couldn’t contain their laughter throughout the night. As the debate came to a close, Dworkin took an audience poll. Like a true underdog story, the turkey won the hearts of the audience and assumed its rightful place as America’s national bird.

“We wanted to laugh. We wanted to be different,” Dworkin said. “We wanted to set a national standard that everybody else around the country can follow. Rowan is a school that is dedicated to very serious scholarship, and even serious scholars need to know they can laugh every now and again.”

Longo participated in the inaugural event because she felt it was going to be a lot of fun debating throughout the night. When asked who would win a bird fight, an eagle or a Prof owl, Longo proudly supported the Prof.

“I would say the Prof, purely because of its raw unfiltered energy and rage.”

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