Professor John Latto of Ecology, Evolution and Marine Biology emerged victorious at last night’s Zombie Debates, which filled the University Center Hub to a maximum capacity of 800 and engaged six professors in an epic academic battle.
Candace Waid of English and comparative literature, John Latto of biology, Glenn Beltz of engineering, Walid Afifi of communication, Tamsin German of psychology and Rudy Busto of religious studies presented their arguments describing why their respective disciplines would be most useful in surviving a zombie apocalypse. The second annual event — hosted by Associated Students Program Board as part of Zombie Awareness Month — offered various approaches to coping with the hypothetical return of the undead with professor making use of skills relating to their respective subjects.
A.S. Program Board tallied the written votes after the debate came to a close at 10:00 p.m. During his argument, Latto said there was no question about what students’ final choice should be.
“There is a zombie apocalypse — a zombocalypse — and I firmly believe that only one department will survive the attack and that is biology,” Latto said. “There are biologists here in EEMB who study infectious diseases. Yeah, that could be useful.”
Latto pledged that if he won, he would present each biology lab on campus with a certificate recognizing them for their extensive work in zombie research.
First-year biology major Mayra Mercado said Latto did the best job getting his point across.
“I thought all of the professors made some good points,” Mercado said. “But biology was definitely the most convincing.”
According to Program Board Arts and Lectures Coordinator Patrick Alami, a fourth-year history major, Program Board decided to make the event annual after the inaugural debates in 2010 saw an unexpectedly large turnout.
“The overall goal is to get the professors to come out and espouse to the students the necessary and practical applications of their field,” Alami said. “We really want to show that all majors are important in the real world.”
The professors presented a range of approaches to the invasion, ranging from peaceful to gruesome. Communication professor Walid Afifi said his list of essentials would include a hard hat, an alarm clock and his favorite teddy bear.
According to Afifi, a communication major would be able to use well-placed calm gestures to soothe the zombies and subsequently lure them into peacefulness.
“One of the things we study is peace and emotion waves — think peace,” Afifi said. “We will use body language to shape the behavior of the zombies.”
Engineering professor Glenn Beltz offered a much more extreme approach.
“As an engineer, I am very good at blowing shit up,” Beltz said. “I make a mean pipe bomb, although I haven’t done it recently.”
Throughout the professors’ arguments, they extolled the benefits of their field of study and often poked fun at their fellow debaters.