UNT Debate Wins State Championship | Communication Studies
February 13, 2019

UNT Debate Wins State Championship

Photo of the UNT Debate Team

The University of North Texas Debate Team competed February 1-3, 2019 at the 2019 Spring Texas Intercollegiate Forensic Association (TIFA) Championship Tournament hosted by Texas State University. The tournament featured competitors from 15 universities/colleges from the State of Texas including competitors from Texas State, University of Texas at Tyler, Southern Methodist University, Wiley College, Rice University, and the University of Texas at Austin. The University of North Texas was represented by 9 team members and they competed in 3 different debate events. The team won trophies in all 3 debate formats, won the IPDA State Championship for a second year in a row and finished 2nd in Debate Sweepstakes.

In the International Public Debate (IPDA) division, UNT was represented by 5 students and competed in a field of over 50 competitors. Alex Dickson, junior Communication Studies major, advanced to elimination debates as the #2 seed and defeated 3 additional Texas colleges on her way to winning the State Championship. In IPDA competition, debaters compete by themselves and are given a new topic 20 minutes before each debate. The IPDA provides contestants with a forum debate which enhances their education through the laboratory of productive, "real-world" competitive debate experiences.

In the National Parliamentary Debate (NPDA) division, UNT was represented by 2 teams and competed in a field of 34 competitors. In NPDA competition, debaters compete in teams of two and are given a new topic 15 minutes before each debate. NPDA style of debate acts as a platform to discuss numerous topics students might not have a chance to discuss in the classroom. The team of Joy Sandoval, first year Political Science, and Josiah Atkinson, sophomore Converged Broadcast Journalism, won all 5 of their preliminary debates and advanced to the elimination round as the #1 seed. They lost a very close debate in the semi-finals to finish in 3rd place. Josiah Atkinson was named the Top Speaker of the NPDA division. The team of Alex Dickson and Emily Jackson, junior Ecology, won 4 of their 5 preliminary debates and advanced to the elimination round as the #5 seed. After losing in the quarter-final debate they finished the tournament in in 4th place.

In the Lincoln-Douglas Debate division, Emily Jackson finished in 2nd place. In three years, Emily has won the state championship twice and finished 2nd. Lincoln-Douglas debate is a one on one format where the students research on resolution throughout the year. This year's resolution is - Resolved: the United States federal government should substantially increase actions by United States Cyber Command to prevent complex catastrophe and/or protect critical infrastructure. UNT students have spent numerous hours researching the topic, writing arguments and working with the coaches to develop winning arguments.

The UNT Debate Team was even featured in the local news! Check their story out here: