Life Raft Debate

In the annual UBCO Society of Scholars Life Raft Debate, we imagine that a catastrophic event has wiped out most of humanity and the survivors (the audience) must sail off to rebuild society.

Only one final seat remains on the life raft. Five professors will each argue that their discipline is the one indispensable area of study that the new civilization will need to survive.

Finally, one professor will take on the role of devil’s advocate and argue that the survivors should actually choose no one and that their new society will be better off without a professor aboard.

If you are interested in being a part of the Life Raft Debate or you have a suggestion for a debater for our 2021 event, please contact us at

2020 Debaters

  • Prof. Deborah Buszard (University Administration)
  • Assoc. Prof. Jan Cioe (playing Devil‘s Advocate)
  • Sr. Instructor Greg duManoir (Human Kinetics)
  • Asst. Prof. Stephen McNeil (Chemistry) – returning champion
  • Sr. Instructor Ray Taheri (Engineering) – 2020 champion
  • Prof. Bryce Traister (English)
  • Hosted by Prof. Peter Arthur (Education)

Join us after the debate for an ice cream social, hosted by alumni UBC and the UBCO Ice Cream Club.

2019 Life Raft Debate

2019 Debaters:

  • Associate Professor Denise Kenney (Theatre)
  • Associate Professor Marianne Legault (playing Devil’s Advocate)
  • Asst. Prof. Stephen McNeil (Chemistry) – 2019 champion
  • Associate Professor Christine Schreyer (Anthropology)
  • Sr. Instructor Ray Taheri (Engineering)
  • Professor Michael Woodworth (Psychology)
  • Moderated by Prof. Peter Arthur (Education)