Less than a week after two students on the UNT Debate Squad won the National Junior Division Debate Tournament, another two-student team reached the quarterfinals at the Cross Examination Debate Association National Tournament to rank UNT among the top eight colleges and universities in the nation in the Open Division, in which students with all levels of debate experience may participate. The Open Division is the highest level of competition.
The CEDA National Tournament was attended by 139 two-student teams. Colleges and universities could enter multiple teams.
Amy Schade, a freshman majoring in biological sciences from Grapevine, and Brian Kersch, a sophomore political science major from Austin, reached the quarterfinals by posting six wins in the preliminary rounds of the CEDA National Tournament, which was held March 19-22 at Binghamton University in Binghamton, N.Y. By reaching the quarterfinals, the students placed among the top eight debate teams in the nation for the 2010-11 competition season, along with two-student teams from Binghamton University, Kansas State University, Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va.; Towson University in Towson, Md.; the University of Kansas; and Whitman College in Walla Walla, Wash.
Brian Lain, assistant professor of communication studies and director of the Debate Squad, says reaching the quarterfinals of the CEDA National Tournament is a significant accomplishment because UNT's squad has only sophomores and freshmen.
"We have had a very successful close to the season. This is another area where UNT students are competing and achieving with the best students in the nation," Lain says.
The two-student team that won the National Junior Division Debate Tournament included Schade and Colin Quinn, a sophomore communication studies major from Chicago. They defeated a team from the University of Oklahoma in the final round to take first place at the tournament. They also posted wins over teams from Augustana College, the University of Kansas, the University of Northern Iowa, the University of Texas at San Antonio and Wichita State University in the preliminary rounds and four elimination rounds.
The National Junior Division Debate Tournament, attended by 53 teams of two students each, was open to students who have competed in college debate for two or fewer years. It was sanctioned by both the Cross Examination Debate Association and the National Debate Tournament, the two governing bodies for competitive debate at the college and university level.
The students in the tournament debated whether or not the U.S. government should substantially increase the number of, or should substantially expand beneficiary eligibility for, employment-based immigrant visas, nonimmigrant temporary worker visas, family-based visas and human trafficking-based visas — the topic for all CEDA/NDT-sanctioned tournaments for this year. Students must prepare both sides of the arguments.
Nancy Kolsti with UNT News Service can be reached at Nancy.Kolsti@unt.edu.