Four UNT students qualified for participation in the 2012 National Debate Tournament, the most prestigious tournament in competitive policy debate for U.S. college and university students.
UNT Debate Squad members Colin Quinn, a junior communication studies major, and Amy Schade, a sophomore biology major, qualified for the tournament by placing eighth at the District Three Debate Tournament, which is open to college and university debate programs in Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri and Oklahoma as well as Texas.
This year's National Debate Tournament will be held March 29-April 2 at Emory University in Atlanta.
The two also qualified in 2011 for the national tournament of the Cross Examination Debate Association, which sanctions more than 60 tournaments throughout the nation. Quinn and Schade reached the quarterfinals in the Open Division, the highest level of competition in that tournament, to rank UNT among the top eight colleges and universities in the nation.
Two other UNT Debate Squad members will represent UNT at this year's National Debate Tournament. Brian Kersch, a junior communications studies major, and Shelby Prior, a junior political science major, qualified by placing 10th at the District Three tournament.
Brian Lain, assistant professor of communication studies and Debate Squad director, says UNT was one of only two colleges and universities in District Three to have more than one team of students in this year's National Debate Tournament.
"That meant that we were not only at a high level of competition, but also that our depth of competition is high. UNT debaters compete every month against the best college students from around the country. This is validation of our squad being among the best," he says.
The topic for the National Debate Tournament, and all NDT- and CEDA-sanctioned tournaments this year, is whether the U.S. government should substantially increase its democracy assistance for one or more of the countries of Bahrain, Egypt, Libya, Syria, Tunisia and Yemen. Students must debate both the pro and the con sides.
This year's National Junior Division Debate Tournament, which is sanctioned by the National Debate Tournament, was held March 10-12 at Johnson County Community College. The tournament was attended by 45 teams from a variety of colleges and universities, and for the third year in a row, UNT debate students made it to the final round of the tournament. Freshman Peter Martinez, a philosophy major, and sophomore Daniel Martinek, a communications studies major, were the runners up in the tournament. Freshman Daniel Abraha, a political science major, and sophomore Meghan Overheim, a marketing major, also competed and were in the top 16 debating in the octafinals.
Martinez and Martinek went on to post wins over Kansas City Kansas Community College, the University of Kansas, Kansas State and Missouri State. They lost in the final round to a team from the University of Kansas.During UNT's Spring Break, the UNT debate team will travel to the Cross Examination Debate Association, which is being held at the University of Oklahoma, March 22-27.
In 2011, Quinn and Schade won the National Junior Division Debate Tournament, which is sanctioned by the National Debate Tournament and is open to 53 teams of students who have competed in college debate for two or fewer years.
At least one two-student team from UNT's Debate Squad has represented the university at the tournament 27 times during the past 30 years.
Nancy Kolsti with UNT News Service can be reached at Nancy.Kolsti@unt.edu.