War of the Words: Debaters Preparing for Battle

UT Dallas to Host More Than 100 Teams at Tournament Starting Saturday

Jan. 7, 2008

On the heels of The Great Debaters — a film about the students at Wiley College in Marshall, Texas, who scored an upset victory over Harvard — UT Dallas welcomes more than 100 collegiate teams from across the country to compete this week in the school’s fifth annual tournament. 

As it has been in years’ past, the competition will be one of the largest collegiate events of the season.

In all, more than 300 students, coaches and judges are expected to attend. The entries will represent at least 28 universities from 18 states, including Georgetown, Iowa, Johns Hopkins, Kansas, Minnesota, Oklahoma, UT Austin, Vermont and Wake Forest.

Only about eight tournaments a year draw 100 teams or more.

Preliminary rounds will take place in numerous venues across campus on Saturday and Sunday.  Elimination rounds are Monday at the Westin Park Central Hotel at LBJ Freeway and Coit Road in North Dallas.  The sessions are open to the public at about 8 a.m. each day.

In college debate, two teams of two students each face off on a general topic, with one taking the affirmative position and the other the negative.  A school may enter more than one team in the tournament. There are three divisions — varsity, junior varsity and novice.  The topic for the 2007-08 season focuses on foreign policy in the Middle East. 

It’s been a busy and successful year for UT Dallas debaters. 

Last week, the squad hosted the inaugural “Comet Challenge Speech and Debate Tournament,” in which high school students from the Dallas-Fort Worth area competed.  The tournament included about 200 competitors and 50 coaches and judges. 

The UT Dallas debate program has performed well for the season, competing in nine tournaments to date.  The program is currently ranked 28th in the varsity points division of the National Debate Tournament.  Emory University is ranked first. 

UT Dallas’ top team includes Sara Stephens, a senior majoring in political science from Pensacola, Fla., and Brian Rubaie, a sophomore majoring in sociology from Kansas City, Kan. 

The duo has excelled at major national-caliber tournaments held at Harvard, Kentucky and Southern California. 


More information: (972) 883-4806
Media contact: Jenni Huffenberger, UT Dallas, (972) 883-4431, jennib@utdallas.edu

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Sara Stephens and Brian Rubaie
UT Dallas’ top debate team is made up of Sara Stephens and Brian Rubaie.

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July 30, 2014