The University of North Texas Debate Team competed March 20-24, 2019 at the 2019 Pi Kappa Delta National Tournament hosted by Hofstra University. The tournament featured over 750 competitors from 77 universities/colleges that represented 28 states from across the United States. The University of North Texas was represented by 13 team members and they competed in 4 debate events and 2 individual events. Pi Kappa Delta recognizes the top debate and speech programs in the nation in an overall ranking. UNT Debate was awarded a "superior" award (top 10%) and officially finished tied with Idaho State for 11th place in debate. Overall, the team was recognized as "excellence" in Debate and Speech and finished 16thout of 77. Pi Kappa Delta is among the oldest forensics organizations in the United States and was founded in 1911.
In the National Parliamentary Debate (NPDA) division, UNT was represented by 2 teams and competed in a field of over 60 teams and 120 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, International Studies) won 4 of their 6 preliminary debates and finished at the 9th best team at the tournament. The team of James Renfroe (sophomore, Accounting) and Jose Sanchez (first year, Political Science) won 4 of their 6 preliminary debates and finished at the 11th best team at the tournament. Both teams were awarded with an "Excellence" ranking (top 30%) in the division. UNT Debate posted wins over Boise State, Kansas City Kansas Community College, Grove City, Morehouse, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and Simpson College before the tournament ended.
In extemporaneous and impromptu speaking, students are given a topic and allowed limited preparation time to prepare a 5-7 minute speech about domestic or foreign events. At Pi Kappa Delta, there were over 140 students competing in this highly demanding event. Josiah Atkinson (junior, International Studies) was ranked superior (top 10%) in extemporaneous speaking and qualified for the Final Showcase which featured outstanding speakers from colleges across the nation. Atkinson finished ranked 7th out of all college students in the event. Alex Dickson (junior, Communication Studies) finished with an "Excellence" ranking (top 30%) in both Extemporaneous and Impromptu Speaking. Ta'Corian Tilley (junior, Journalism) finished with an "Excellence" ranking (top 30%) in impromptu speaking.
In the International Public Debate (IPDA) division, UNT was represented by 3 students and competed in a field of 162 competitors. Alex Dickson (junior, Communication Studies), Michael Pulver (sophomore, Political Science) and Mink Sandhu (first year, Political Science) all finished the 6 preliminary debates with 3 wins and 3 losses. 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 Public Forum Debate division, UNT was represented by 2 teams and competed in a field of over 42 teams and 84 competitors. In Public Forum competition, debaters compete in teams of two and had a resolution they debated throughout the year. This year's resolution is - Resolved: The United States should rejoin UNESCO as a full member. The UNT students worked with coaches and their partners to prepare arguments on both sides of the resolution. The team of Joy Sandoval (first year, Political Science) and Josiah Atkinson (sophomore, International Studies) won 3 of their 6 preliminary debates and the team of James Renfroe (sophomore, Accounting) and Jose Sanchez (first year, Political Science) won 3 of their 6 preliminary debates.
In the Lincoln-Douglas Debate division, Michael Pulver (sophomore, Political Science/Business Management) won 3 of his 6 preliminary debates. Emily Jackson (junior, Ecology) won 2 of her 6 preliminary rounds. 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.