Team Battles to Third Place in Harvard Debates

Nov. 6, 2008

UT Dallas debate team members Brian Rubaie and Andrew Baker took third place at Harvard University’s annual Intercollegiate Debate Tournament Monday night in Cambridge, Mass.

The University of Kansas team finished first and Northwestern University’s team finished in second place. UT Dallas tied with the University of California-Berkeley for third place. Eighty teams from across the country competed at the Harvard tournament.

“This is undoubtedly the best that any UT Dallas debate team has ever done at a major national tournament,” said Chris Burk, director of the University’s debate team. “The success at the Harvard tournament places the UT Dallas debate team among the top teams in the country.”

The Harvard tournament is one of a hand full of “major” tournament-style debates during the regular debate season. The three-day tournament consisted of eight preliminary rounds on Saturday and Sunday, with the top 16 teams advancing to an elimination bracket on Monday.

Rubaie, a junior criminology major, and Baker, a sophomore political science major and Collegium V honors student, defeated the top partnership from reigning national champions Towson University in the quarterfinals. UT Dallas was the only Texas university to have teams reach the top 16.

“This is a huge step forward for Rubaie and Baker, and our entire debate program,” said Burk. “We competed well against the most prestigious and historically successful programs in the country.”

Burk and Scott Herndon, associate director of debate, coached Rubaie and Baker at the Harvard tournament.

The UT Dallas debate program began as a student-driven team about 12 years ago. Debate duo Rubaie and Baker and other members of the UT Dallas squad will compete at the Wake Forest University tournament Nov. 15-17 to conclude the fall tournament schedule. UT Dallas will host its own intercollegiate debate tournament Jan. 10-12.


Media Contacts: Karah Hosek, UT Dallas, (972) 883-4329, karah.hosek@utdallas.edu
or the Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, newscenter@utdallas.edu

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Brian Rubaie (left) and Andrew Baker

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