A two-student team on the UNT Debate Squad won second place at the Baylor University Glenn R. Capp Debates Oct. 20-22, and placed among the top 16 teams in the nation at the invitation-only Harvard University Debate Tournament Oct. 27-29.
Both tournaments were sanctioned by the Cross Examination Debate Association and the National Debate Tournament. The National Debate Tournament National Debate Tournament is both an organization and an annual championship for college debate.
Teams qualify for the Cross Examination Debate Association National Tournament, which will be March 21-24 at Wichita State University in Wichita, Kan., and the National Debate Tournament, which is scheduled for March 28-31 at California State University at Fullerton, through their performances at national and regional tournaments throughout the academic year.
The Baylor University tournament attracted more than 20 teams from 10 colleges and universities. John Elson, sophomore economics science major from Round Rock, and Cameron Vaziri, freshman political science major from Hebron, posted wins in the tournament against teams from the University of Texas at Austin, Trinity University in San Antonio, the University of Nevada at Las Vegas and Missouri State University. They were defeated in the final round to a team from Wichita State University. Elson also was recognized as the fourth best speaker in the tournament.
At the Harvard University tournament, which was open to 62 teams, Elson and another partner, Kuntal Cholera, senior economics major from Clear Lake, defeated six other teams to reach the octafinals, which placed them among the top 16 teams. Elson and Cholera also reached the top 16 at the Georgia State National College Tournament in September.
The topic for all CEDA/NDT-sanctioned tournaments for this year focuses on U.S. foreign policy. Students are debating whether or not the U.S. federal government should increase its constructive engagement with the governments of Afghanistan, Iran, Lebanon, the Palestinian Liberation Authority and Syria, making the arguments for or against offering one or more of these nations security guarantees, a substantial increase in foreign assistance, or both. Students must prepare both sides of the arguments.
Brian Lain, director of debate and assistant professor of communication studies, says the UNT students' showings at the Baylor, Harvard and Georgia State tournaments indicate "that we are in the race to be ranked in the top 16 teams in the country this year."
"Our debaters have really made the most of the fall semester so far. I am hoping we will continue to have success as we approach next semester and the run into the National Debate Tournament," Lain says.
UNT has qualified at least one team of two students to participate in the National Debate Tournament 24 times during the past 25 years. In 2006, Elson and Cholera represented UNT after qualifying for the NDT by placing sixth at the District III Qualifying Tournament. District III includes debate programs at colleges and universities in Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas.
Elson and Cholera also qualified for participation in the 2006 Cross Examination Debate Association National Tournament, where they advanced to the octafinal round of the competition as one of the top 16 teams before being defeated.
UNT News Service Press Release
Nancy Kolsti can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.