The Exeter Debating Society was founded in 1893 and has since grown to be one of the biggest and most prestigious societies on campus. We run two main events every week: Monday workshops and Friday events. Monday workshops are catered to all levels of debating and give you a chance to refine your public speaking skills. Friday debates offer an opportunity for our members to see experienced, external speakers battle it out!
The Exeter University Debating Society was formed in 1893 as a purely gentleman's debating society.
The First World War proved difficult for the society with many of its members leaving to fight. A number of debates were still held however. These included 'Conscription is necessary for our Empire' (1915) and 'There should be no co-education of the sexes' (1916) in which one speaker famously remarked "that flirty girls give a man as much experience in an hour as he would gain in twelve months by watching girls a few yards off".
The earliest recorded Friday night debate was held on an 4th February 1906 entitled 'The advantages of being a member of a large family outweigh the disadvantages'. The student magazine stated the debate was held with 'eloquence, energy and enthusiasm'.
The Debating Society week generally consists of two events a week. A Monday workshop is held for those who wish to practice their debating skills and prepare for competition. Every Friday evening at 7:00pm the society invites an external panel of four speakers to debate a motion. Friday night debates continue to be held in the mooting room of the Amory building which regularly attracts a full house of over 250 members of the audience. Recent speakers have included Members of Parliament Ben Bradshaw, Jacob Rees-Mogg, Nick De-Bois and Steve Gilbert, members of the European Parliament Graham Watson and Keith Taylor, journalists Peter Hitchens and Brendan O'Neill, anti war campaigner Lindsay German and Apprentice star Katie Hopkins.