UTD to Host Major College Debate Tourney

Nation’s Top Teams to Compete Here Jan. 8-10

RICHARDSON, Texas (Dec. 23, 2004) – The University of Texas at Dallas (UTD) will host a major college debate tournament Jan. 8-10 featuring some of the nation’s top teams, including the current number one school, Emory University, and the most prominent and successful college debate team in recent years, Northwestern University.

Nearly 80 teams from approximately 30 colleges have registered for the event, making it the largest college debate tournament held this year between Chicago and Los Angeles, said Christopher Burk, UTD’s director of debate.

Other top forensics programs scheduled to participate include Dartmouth, Cornell, Rochester, Georgetown, Richmond, Macalester, the University of Texas at Austin, Kansas and Iowa. However, despite its lofty ranking (number 25 in the country among varsity teams), UTD, as host, will follow debate protocol and not enter a varsity team in the competition, according to Burk.

In all, nearly 250 people – including both participants and judges – are expected to attend the event, representing schools located from Minnesota to Texas and from Alabama to Vermont.

The tournament will be held at various venues on the UTD campus on Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 8 and 9. On the third and final day of the tournament, Monday, Jan. 10, competition will be moved to the Crown Plaza Suites Hotel near the intersection of Coit Road and LBJ Freeway in North Dallas. Members of the public are invited to attend the event.

In college debate, two teams, each composed of two students, face off on a general topic – one taking the affirmative position, the other the negative side. Each of the four participants speaks for a total of 18 minutes – nine minutes of opening arguments, followed by three minutes of cross examination and a six-minute rebuttal speech.

The topic of this debate is the same resolution college debaters across the country have been addressing all season long – “Resolved: the United States federal government should establish an energy policy requiring a substantial reduction in the total non-governmental consumption of fossil fuels in the U.S.”

This year, UTD, home of the country’s best collegiate chess team, has achieved its highest ranking ever in college varsity debate standings. The university currently is ranked ahead of traditional debate powers such as Boston College, Georgetown, Michigan, New York University, Southern California and Stanford.

The debate program’s fortunes began to rise when Burk, a former student debater and assistant debate coach at U. T. Austin, was hired in 2001. At the end of the 2002 season, UTD had a varsity ranking of 74 th in the country. That standing improved to 69 th in 2003 and 63 rd the following year.

For more information about the upcoming tournament, please call Burk or Scott Herndon, UTD’s assistant director of debate, at 972-883-4806.

About UTD

The University of Texas at Dallas, located at the convergence of Richardson, Plano and Dallas in the heart of the complex of major multinational technology corporations known as the Telecom Corridor®, enrolls more than 14,000 students. The school’s freshman class traditionally stands at the forefront of Texas state universities in terms of average SAT scores. The university offers a broad assortment of bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs. For additional information about UTD, please visit the university’s web site at www.utdallas.edu.