Back in 1865, when the IIIrd Empire was in its prime, Polytechnicians of all the country decided it was time to unite… (Any resemblance to any other event living or dead is purely coincidental…). Thus was born the AX – a cute nickname for the Anciens de l’X Association. Their objective was to influence the future of their alma mater and to support their comrades in any way necessary.

And here we were, 150 years later, on October 10th 2015, not really in the same place, but in a glorious one nonetheless : the Amphi Arago.. there again to change the history of the school!

Or were we…? Nope. Just messing with ya, it was just another glorious debate from a long lineage of glorious debates organized and chaired by the no less glorious Declan McCavana…

There we were, answering his call, 10 former debaters from Polytechnique FDA teams spanning across 2 decades! From 1996 to 2015! Bahareh, Nathalie, Manali, Sylvain, Christophe, Marc, Laurent, Pierre, Thomas and Omar… we were all there to debate whether Polytechnique should reserve 50% of its seats to women!

To prove or disprove such an ambitious declaration, all blades were drawn ( “Tangentes” only of course…): while the Prime Minister – the Iron Lady Bahareh, started the hostilities with the argument that the Ecole Polytechnique must reflect the society it lives in, the Opposition leader – Manali – raised the concern of the fairness of the entrance examination.

The debate followed with strong arguments on both sides: while the government argued that more women will bring more diversity to the Ecole and hence more value to its research, the Opposition countered with the fact that the efficiency of Affirmative Action is debatable!

And while the Government argued that this would end up drawing more women to scientific fields of studies, the opposition suggested that affirmative action should occur way earlier in the academic curriculum!

More pragmatic arguments made their way to the floor as well… from Sylvain’s claim that young Polytechnicians do need a feminine presence… to Thomas’ argument that Polytechnique is a military school and that girls would just slow the training down…

Eventually, as always Ladies and Gentlemen, the floor has the last word! And it decided…

AGAINST THE MOTION!!! By a very large majority indeed….

And then…?

Well… and then we went for some beers at the infamous BoBar. Duh.

Omar Layachi

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