DENTON (UNT), Texas – The University of North Texas Debate Team received the Debate Sweepstakes Award at the fall Texas Intercollegiate Forensic Association Championship Tournament, held this month in Corpus Christi. Team members won three of the 14 events and accumulated enough points for wins in preliminary rounds and participation in elimination rounds to win the award for best overall performance by a team.
For the second year in a row, two members of UNT's team won the National Parliamentary Debate Association division. Matthew Hernandez, a freshman broadcast journalism and political science major from Athens, and Abron Hester, a senior political science major from Harker Heights, defeated a team from Prairie View A&M University in the final round by arguing the opposition for "Resolved: The United States federal government should substantially increase its funding for a human colony beyond the Earth’s mesosphere."
The win in the National Parliamentary Debate Association division was the second in a row for Hester, who won the division at the 2016 fall Texas Intercollegiate Forensic Association Championship Tournament . Hester was named the fourth best speaker in the division at this year's tournament, while Hernandez was named the division's sixth best speaker.
"I've never been prouder than to be able to bring home two championships for UNT debate. To be able to do that with a freshman partner means that he'll be able to continue our legacy forward," Hester said.
The National Parliamentary Debate Association is the largest national intercollegiate debate organization in the U.S. Parliamentary debate focuses more on rhetoric than policy debate. Topics in a NPDA tournament change for every round, and the two-student teams have only 15 minutes to prepare their arguments before a round begins.
Hester also won the International Public Debate Association division for arguing in favor of the position that social services in the U.S. should be increased for those living in poverty. Emily Jackson, a junior ecology major from Plano, won the Lincoln and Douglas Debate division of the tournament for debating both sides of the topic "Resolved: The United States federal government should substantially increase the regulation of state and/or local police misconduct in the United States."