Our program believes that Forensics represents the best way to develop the human voice of students. We believe competition is an appropriate means for developing strength of character and a degree of excellence necessary for the formation of civic leaders. We strive for the strongest development of the human voice because it is the most ideal means of resolving conflicts, establishing our personal identities, and advocating for the well being others. With these goals in mind we submit to rigorous processes of research, organization, presentation, and judgment in order develop student abilities to speak well.
We are a program created by the Meadows School and the Communication Studies division in 2008. We are appreciative to Dean Sam Holland and the SMU Student Affairs office led by Vice President K.C. Mmeje.
SMU Wins its Sixth National Championship at IPDA Debate Nationals in Louisiana
Price Morgan won the junior varsity national championship in Shreveport, Louisiana on April 16, 2019 after completing a 6-2 win/loss record and winning five consecutive elimination rounds. Morgan won a 4-1 decision by a national panel of debate coaches based on his arguments concerning whether Hulu should be able to sell consumer data gathered from its subscribers. Morgan was the #6 speaker at the tournament based on his speaker points. He defeated the #1 rated speaker in the final round. One of Price’s coaches was Farmer fellow Matthew Lucci who won the overall season national championship in junior varsity IPDA for 2018. Both Lucci and Morgan won their titles with one year of debate experience and no previous high school debating experience. SMU fielded nine debaters in all five divisions of the 2019 tournament: team, novice, junior varsity, varsity and professional. Five of the nine students advanced to elimination rounds in team, novice, junior varsity, and varsity. Maggie Cook Allen and Price Morgan defeated and knocked out of the tournament the #2 rated team varsity team in the nation and won a quarterfinal award. Stephen Frantz completed the varsity division as the #17 ranked varsity debater and won his double octafinals debate before losing in the octafinals. Maggie Cook Allen was the #29 seed in varsity after completing a 5-3 record. She lost in the double octafinals round. Connor Pittman was the #4 seed in novice after completing a 7-1 preliminary record among more than 120 competitors. Berkley Breaux competing in only her second debate tournament ever completed a 5-3 record and advanced to the elimination rounds of the tournament. Pittman (journalism major) won two elimination rounds before losing in the quarterfinals. Pittman was 11th speaker based on speaker points.
This was the best performance of an SMU debate squad overall at a national championship tournament in more than 10 years. More than 150 colleges and universities nationwide competed in IPDA debate in 2018-2019. SMU’s nine debaters completed more than 70 preliminary rounds including topics such as health care, sports, international affairs, domestic politics, and entertainment. Students debated more than 50 different topics and had 30 minutes to research and prepare for each debate. SMU won more than 58% of its preliminary round debates. SMU won 67% of its elimination round debates. There were more than 200 competitors from across the nation at the IPDA championship tournament. SMU has competed in the IPDA debate format since 2015 and Jaden Warren won the overall season national varsity debate title in 2016.
SMU entered the tournament as the number eight rated program. With only nine students, SMU was able to finish in the overall sweepstake rankings as the number five program in the nation. More than 130 universities compete in the International Public Debate Association debate league nationwide for 2018-2019. Competing universities include: University of North Texas, Texas Christian University, Liberty University, Idaho State University, University of Tennessee, University of Oklahoma, Exeter University (Great Britain), University of Colorado, California State University, Oregon State University, and Boise State University.
SMU debate is supported by the Vice President of Student Affairs, the Provost office, Dedman School of Liberal Arts, and the Meadows School of the Arts. SMU Student government also provides considerable financial support. This is the tenth year of SMU debate since it restarted in fall of 2008. The program has won six national titles in policy and IPDA debate.
DIRECTOR OF DEBATE
Dr. Ben Voth