Students to represent UNT in National Debate Tournament
DENTON (UNT), Texas -- Four University of North Texas students have qualified for this year's National Debate Tournament, the most prestigious tournament in competitive policy debate for U.S. college and university students. The UNT Debate Team also had four of its students -- the maximum of number that any college or university can qualify for the National Debate Tournament -- qualify in 2012 and 2013.
Brian Kersch, a senior communication studies major from Austin, and his debate partner Max Anderson, a sophomore communication studies major from Omaha, Neb., will represent UNT along with Colin Quinn, a senior communications major from Glenview, Ill., and his debate partner Hope Sauceda, a senior political science major from Houston.
This year's National Debate Tournament will be held March 27-31 at Indiana University in Bloomington. Seventy-eight teams of two students will participate, with all of the students debating whether or not the U.S. government should substantially increase statutory and/or judicial restrictions on the president's war powers authority for targeted killing, indefinite detention, offensive cyber operations or the introduction of the U.S. military into hostilities.
The four UNT students qualified for the 2014 National Debate Tournament by placing at the District 3 tournament held Feb. 28-March 2 at the University of Central Oklahoma. District 3 includes colleges and universities from Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma as well as Texas. Kersch, who also competed in the National Debate Tournament last year, and Anderson placed fourth in the regional tournament. Sauceda and Quinn, who will make his third straight appearance in the national tournament, placed fifth.
The National Debate Tournament is both the sanctioning body for college and university policy district debate tournaments and the national championship tournament. The championship tournament began in 1947. Fifty-eight of the teams qualify for the tournament by placing among the top 10 teams in their district tournaments, while 32 teams receive at-large bids based on their performances at tournaments held throughout the academic year.
Brian Lain, UNT associate professor of communication studies and director of debate, said the four students qualifying for the tournament "marks the beginning of the end of a season of success." Kersch and Anderson, he said, started competition in September and won almost 73 percent of their debates. They won the invitation-only Weber State University Round Robin tournament in Ogden, Utah, in January, and also placed in the top eight of the University of Nevada-Las Vegas tournament in October, with Kersch winning the top speaker award. Quinn, who had a different debate partner until the District 3 tournament, also qualified for the Weber State Round Robin tournament, and he and his partner finished third.