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Debate Team Qualifies for Two National Tournaments

The University of Central Oklahoma Debate Team of Derek Hilligoss  and Jasmine Stidham qualified for the National Debate Tournament in Iowa City, IA. The National Debate Tournament is the most prestigious event in college debate and pits the top 78 teams in the country from all schools against each other. This is the second year in a row that UCO has qualified a team to the event. Derek and Jasmine also finished as the 22nd seed at the Cross Examination Debate Association’s National Championship tournament March 19-23. Derek and Jasmine beat teams from Rutgers, UNLV, Wyoming, Dartmouth, Kansas, and Lindenwood University before losing in the second elimination round to Arizona State.

The UCO Debate Team was awarded Third Place in the Cross Examination Debate Association’s National Public Debate Award. This award is given to the intercollegiate debate program which, over the course of the past academic year, has best advanced the values of debate in the public sphere through sponsorship of one or more public debate activities including international public debates, multimedia debates, public debates on campus or for community groups, and through general promotion of public discourse to promote critical examination of public issues for diverse and general audiences. The award recognizes the work the UCO debate team has done in service to the College of Liberal Arts through hosting public debate events, in class debates for professors, and furthering the goals of transformative learning through dialogue and argumentation.

Over the course of the year, team members have held debates for many classes in the college on a range of issue including alcoholism, immigration, minimum wage reform, and death penalty issues. Tess Botkin and Lexi Frederickson  qualified for the Lafayette Debates hosted by the French Embassy in Washington, D.C. The Lafayette Debates is an academic series initiated by the Higher Education Department of the French Embassy in the United States in partnership with The George Washington University and U.S. civil society to promote intercultural understanding and relations by means of public debate on issues lying at the very heart of the Franco-American relationship. The program builds upon the central role of dissent in both the French and American intellectual traditions, as well as the prominence of competitive intercollegiate debate in the United States, to realize the possibilities for public debate as a method for education and diplomacy in a globalized world and digital era.