Debate Team Finishes Season at National Event

The UT Dallas debate team finished its 2016-2017 season with their  14th consecutive appearance at the National Debate Tournament,  held at the University of Kansas March 23-27.

The UT Dallas debate team was among the nation's top teams invited to the National Debate Tournament in March.

The UT Dallas debate team finished its 2016-2017 season with its 14th consecutive appearance at the National Debate Tournament (NDT).

The top 78 teams in the nation were invited to the tournament held March 23-27 at the University of Kansas. UT Dallas notched strong wins against Georgetown University, Trinity University and Missouri State University at the tournament.

“This was a season of growing for a very young team,” said Scott Herndon, director of the debate program. “Qualifying one team is difficult. Qualifying two teams this year is a sign of our depth and a testament to the hard work of the debaters and coaches who are putting in hundreds of hours of preparation throughout the season. It’s easy to forget, with all they accomplished this year, these teams are mostly freshmen. Only one debater graduates this spring, so we’re looking forward to building on the showing we had this season.”

This year was the first since 2011 that the debate program has qualified two teams to the NDT — finance senior Daniel Becker and geospatial information sciences junior Brandon Johnson comprised one team, and neuroscience freshman Ali Rizvi and economics and finance freshman Varad Agarwala was another team.  

two teams to compete in the  National Debate Tournament for the first time since 2011. From left:  Brandon Johnson, Daniel Becker, Ali Rizvi, and Varad Agarwala

From left: Brandon Johnson, Daniel Becker, Ali Rizvi and Varad Agarwala represented UT Dallas in the National Debate Tournament.

This was the final tournament for Becker, who will be graduating in May.

“I couldn't be happier to have debated at UTD,” Becker said. “The entire team — coaches and students alike — worked tirelessly this past year in a very competitive season. The team has a lot of great talent in its freshmen, and some of the best coaches in the nation. It's been a real pleasure these past four years, and I know UTD Debate will keep it up.”

Becker said he plans to apply to law schools in the upcoming year — a decision influenced by his experience on the debate team.

The debate program is also introducing a new training camp this summer for student debaters in various formats including Policy CX, Lincoln Douglas, public forum and congressional debate. The Mean Green Comet Debate Institute is open to the public and sessions start June 30.

“Next season has already begun for us,” Herndon said. “We’re glad to have the multiple qualifications, but honestly, no one is satisfied with how this season ended. Everyone is anxious to get back to work and build on the positives from the 2016 season. It’s always an adventure with a young team, but the table is set for a great 2017.” 

Mean Green Comet Debate Institute Debuts This Summer

This summer, UT Dallas is teaming with the University of North Texas to offer the inaugural Mean Green Comet Debate Institute, bringing together the region's largest debate programs.

The institute will be held at the UT Dallas campus June 30-July 19, with instruction in policy, Lincoln Douglas, public forum, Congress, individual events, mock trial and model UN. A revamped and expanded curriculum for middle school students also will be introduced.

There will also be a teachers workshop July 2-July 9, which will provide coaches with an in-depth exploration of cross examination debate, Lincoln Douglas debate, public forum, congressional debate and individual events. The workshop will include material from multiple institute lectures, presented in an open-discussion format.

Registration is open on the institute’s website.

Media Contact: The Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, [email protected].