The Debate Union is 5-C program, open to any interested undergraduate
One of the largest and most successful college debate programs in the world
No prior debate or speech experience is required; About half the members of the Debate Union have had no previous experience



Request to be Added to the CCDU Mailing List

John Meany, Director of Forensics,

There are regularly scheduled training sessions for intercollegiate debating in the British Parliamentary, Social Justice/Lafayette/International Humanitarian Law/Society of Professional Journalists, and Public Debate Program formats, professional communication events support including conference and presentation programming, Healthy Eating Initiative, FirstReporters!, and Civics in Action programs, and national and international educational debate outreach in the Public Debate Program and World Schools formats. National and international opportunities are scheduled throughout the year, including summer and break events. The Debate Union pays all major costs of participation.

Debate Union Office – Bauer South 21, CMC
John Meany, Director of Forensics, Office Hours – Tu/Wed, 12:00-1:30 PM and by appointment

New Members of the Debate Union, Sunday, January 26, 4 PM

There is a meeting for all new students for the Debate Union on Sunday, January 26, 4:00 PM. The meeting will be about 35 minutes and will be held in Bauer Forum, CMC. Please let interested students know about the event.

Public Debate – Abolish the Electoral College, Sunday, January 26

Please promote and attend a public debate on the following topic, The United States should abolish the Electoral College, on Sunday, January 26, 2:30 PM. The debate will be held in Bauer Forum.

Debate Exchange/Practice and Public Debate, Sunday, January 26

On Sunday, January 26, the Debate Union will sponsor the opening session of a home-and-home debate exchange with Cape Cod College. Students are welcome to attend either of the morning sessions, featuring core training in professional communication (10:00 AM-10:30 AM) and argumentation and refutation (10:30-11:30 AM). Practices will be scheduled at 12:30 PM. There will be a public debate on the following topic, The United States should abolish the Electoral College. The debate is scheduled for Bauer Forum, 2:30 PM.

Please contact John Meany to participate in the practice debate and public debate.

Volunteers Needed – Middle School Outreach, Saturday, January 25

The Debate Union will help manage one of its Middle School Public Debate Program league tournaments on Saturday, January 25. The tournament will be held at the Center for Early Education in West Hollywood. The Debate Union will provide staff for tournament tabulation and judging (judges must be PDP-certified). In addition, Debate Union members will assist in training staff and students from Cape Cod College attending the event in order to support the development of an MSPDP league in Massachusetts in Fall 2020.

Please contact Maya Kurkhill by Thursday, January 23, 6:00 PM to register for the tournament. The Debate Union will arrange transportation and meals for participants.

CMC Family Weekend Debate

The CCDU will sponsor a public debate during CMC’s Family Weekend. The debate will take place on Sunday, February 16, 11:15 AM-12:10 PM.

Please let John Meany know if you are interested in participating in the debate. You do not have to be a CMC student to participate.

Lafayette Debates Topic/Tournaments

This year’s Lafayette Debates will use the following topic:

Corporations should prioritize stakeholder value over shareholder value.

Four tournaments will use the Lafayette Debates topic and format. These include the Western Championship at Loyola Marymount University (Saturday, February 8), the Lafayette Debates at Las Vegas (Saturday-Sunday, February 15-16), the Lafayette Invitational at Claremont McKenna College (Saturday, February 29), and the Lafayette Debates Championship at George Washington University and the French Embassy to the United States (Saturday-Sunday, April 3-4).

International Humanitarian Law Topics/Tournament

This year’s Internal Humanitarian Law topics are the following:

• It is unethical to deploy autonomous weapons systems.
• Abolish the International Criminal Court.

There is one tournament on this topic, hosted by the Claremont Colleges Debate Union. It is scheduled for Sunday, March 1.

Social Justice Debate Topic/Tournaments

This year’s topic is The United States Federal Government should provide direct compensation to African-Americans who descended from slaves as reparations for slavery.

Tournaments using the format include George Washington University (November 2019) and Morehouse College (January 2020).

Congratulations to Helena Ong and Naomi Tilles for their outstanding performance at the US Air Force Academy’s British Parliamentary Debate Tournament, held September 21-22, 2019.

Helena and Naomi won the novice championship (an event for students in their first 12 months of intercollegiate debate competition, regardless of prior experience). Helena was also the top individual speaker in that division.

Oregon State Penitentiary Debates

The CCDU is one of 12 college debate programs to receive an invitation to the debate tournament at the Oregon State Penitentiary, October 5, 2019. This is a highly selective and competitive event. Zane Chung-Mehdi and Jonathan Miller will represent the CCDU at this year’s tournament.

If you are interested in judging (should be familiar with BP debating and likely to attend this tournament, if available, in the future), please contact John Meany,, by September 12.

Request Registration – Upcoming Early Fall 2019 Tournaments

To request registration, you may complete the registration forms available at the opening meetings for new and returning debaters on September 3 and September 10, Bauer Forum, CMC  (new to the Debate Union, 8:15 PM and returning debaters 9:00 PM). Registration for later events is rolling but there is a hard deadline for the September tournaments and the Morehouse tournament, October 4-5 – registration for these events closes on September 10.

All tournaments have a mix of experienced and novice contestants. Some events, however, have a much greater proportion of highly experienced debate teams. Students should have considerable proficiency to request registration for these events. On the current list, those tournaments include the Morehouse, Denver, and Vermont tournaments.

IMPORTANT!  Students must complete 2019-20 CCDU contact, participation, and travel documents before requesting registration.

Returning debaters and new debaters with substantial debate experience in any format, able to train in a fast-track for early fall competition may request register now for the following tournaments:

September 21-22 US Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, CO (BP)
September 27-28 Wheaton College, Wheaton, IL (BP)
October 4-5 Morehouse College, Atlanta, GA (SJD)
October 5-6 San Diego State University, San Diego, CA (BP)
October 12-13 Lewis and Clark College, Portland, OR (BP)
October 19-20 University of Denver, Denver, CO (BP)
October 26-27 Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles, CA (SJD/BP)
November 2-3 University of Vermont, Burlington, VT (BP)
November 2-3 Dominican University, San Rafael, CA (BP)

New debaters with limited or no prior speech or debate experience may request registration for the following events:

October 5-6 San Diego State University, San Diego, CA (BP)
October 12-13 Lewis and Clark College, Portland, OR (BP)
October 26-27 Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles, CA (SJD/BP)
November 2-3 Dominican University, San Rafael, CA (BP)