Send an email to John Meany, Director of Forensics, indicating interest. Please use “Join the CCDU” as the email subject heading.

Complete the member forms located at

Done. You are in. Welcome!



Zoom Link:
Topic: CCDU Meetings – Summer/Fall 2021
Meeting ID: 873 673 7540
Passcode: CCDU2021

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, 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, 12-2 PM, in-person and online, by appointment

THE CLAREMONT COLLEGES DEBATE UNION (CCDU), a 5-C program centered at Claremont McKenna College; it is among the largest and most successful college debating societies in the nation. The Debate Union offers three major debate and communication programs – intercollegiate competitive debating, professional communication training and events, and educational outreach. Programming is national and international. Students may participate in any or all programming.

Any undergraduate of the Claremont Colleges is eligible to participate in sponsored activities. No previous experienced is required – generally, about half of CCDU members have no prior speech or debate training. There is substantial staff and peer training available for all CCDU members.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, nearly all initial 2021-22 events will be conducted online.


The CCDU participates in national and international debate competition in the World Universities Debating Championship (WUDC) format, also known as the British Parliamentary (BP) debate format. It is the most popular and among the more rigorous college debate models extant. The CCDU attends 30 or more tournaments each year. CCDU teams have won 5 national championships (varied formats) and placed second five times, ranked in the nation’s top ten in 24 of the past 29 years, and received many, many hundreds of team and individual awards at major national and international competitions. Students have won major awards at US national debate championships in the BP format, including first place in 2010 and second place in 2008. The CCDU established the BP US national debate championship, now the largest college championship debate event.

In addition to WUDC events, the Debate Union attends specialized competitions in select other formats, including Social Justice Debates, Lafayette Debates, International Humanitarian Law Debates, Society of Professional Journalists Debates, and Public Debate Program Debates. In 2021-22, the CCDU will participate in 8-10 tournaments in these additional formats.


The Debate Union has an unparalleled historical commitment promoting public debate and discussion on matters of controversy and concern. The CCDU sponsors scores of campus and community events each year, including debates, lectures, discussion panels, academic conferences, town hall meetings, broadcast productions, advocacy training seminars, international student/faculty exchanges, poetry slams, and other national and international community, interscholastic, and intercollegiate events. The Debate Union has designed and moderated candidate electoral discussions and debates in Southern California communities and provided training and support for campus public policy debates. The CCDU has received national awards from debate organizations and non-profit groups for its public debate and discussion activities. Student papers have been accepted for argumentation, education, democracy promotion, development studies, neuroscience, mathematics, security studies, and political science conferences in Asia, Europe, and the United States. Students have participated in public events, academic conferences, and workshops in Croatia, Slovakia, Korea, the United Kingdom, Uganda, China, Slovenia, Italy, Turkey, Nigeria, Germany, the Czech Republic, Tanzania, Hungary, Qatar, Peru, Russia, and the US. The CCDU held a 2016 Conference on Nuclear Policy; it will host a Conference on Electoral Reform in Spring 2022.
Among other 2021-22 events, the Debate Union will sponsor public affairs podcasts, a lecture series on legal practice and theory, a deliberative book club, an intra-collegiate public debate series – the Pentagonal Debates, a film club, and multiple civic/social engagement projects.



The Debate Union has extensive outreach programming and sponsors one of the nation’s largest class and contest debate and public speaking training programs for secondary school students – the Public Debate Program. Hundreds of thousands of middle and high school students, primarily representing socially and economically marginalized communities, receive instructional resources and participate in class and contest programs each year. The program operates throughout the US and in 37 other countries. College students produce text and video curricular materials, conduct educational research, direct instructional seminars for secondary school teachers and students, manage tournament operations, and judge at competitions. Public Debate Program development and event partners have included Asante Africa, English-Speaking Union of the United States, Tulane University Service Learning, NASA, and the Forum for African Women Educationalists. The Public Debate Program US middle school national debate championship is now the largest debate tournament competition in the country.

The CCDU supports additional educational outreach initiatives in the US and abroad, including leadership communication, photojournalism, healthy eating, and civic engagement projects. In 2021-22, the CCDU will launch a series of new events for students interested in extra-curricular activities directly promoting academic and career success.

Summer/Fall 2021 Contact

All listed times on this site are Pacific Time.

Zoom contact for all meetings:
Topic: CCDU Meetings – Summer/Fall 2021
Meeting ID: 873 673 7540
Passcode: CCDU2021

Summer/Fall 2021 Contact

All listed times on this site are Pacific Time.

Zoom contact for all meetings:
Topic: CCDU Meetings – Summer/Fall 2021
Meeting ID: 873 673 7540
Passcode: CCDU2021

There are 3 tracks to help guide your decisions about events to attend:
Track A – For those new to debating
Track B – For those experienced in other debate formats and new to the BP and SJD formats
Track C – For returning members of the Debate Union

Orientation/Information Sessions

Orientation/Information sessions for those unfamiliar with the Debate Union. Attend any of the following orientation/information sessions to learn about opportunities for intercollegiate debating, professional communication, educational outreach, and participating for course credit:

Friday, August 6, 7:00-7:45 PM (Track A, B)
Monday, August 9, 7:00-7:45 PM (Track A, B)
Sunday, August 15, 3:00-3:45 PM (Track A, B)
Tuesday, August 31, 8:00-8:45 PM (Track A, B)
Monday, September 6, 2:00-2:45 PM (Track A, B)
Monday, September 20, 7:00-7:45 PM (Track A, B)

Thursday, September 23, 8:00-8:45 PM (Track A, B)
Monday, September 27, 7:00-7:45 PM (Track A, B)

Competitive Debate Format Training – BP format/Debate Demonstration

Learn the British Parliamentary impromptu debate format (majority of debate opportunities are in this format):

August 9, 8:00-9:00 PM (Track B)
August 18, 8:00-9:00 PM (Track B)
Sunday, September 5, 4:00-5:00 PM (Track B)

August 11, 6:00-7:00 PM (Track A)
Sunday, September 5, 2:00-3:00 PM (Track A)

Thursday, September 23, 6:00-7:00 PM (Track A, B)
Monday, September 27, 7:45-8:45 PM (Track A, B)

Demonstration Debate
August 11, 7:00-7:45 PM (Track A, B)
Format demo – Topic: This House believes that US military withdrawal from Afghanistan does more harm than good.
Attend any practice after September 1 for a debate demonstration

Debate Instruction Workshops (BP)

Tuesday, September 7, 7:00-7:55 PM (Track A, B) – Public Speaking for Debate, Argumentation (ARESR), Topic Categorization and Interpretation
Monday, September 13, 6:00-6:55 PM (Track A, B) – Public Speaking for Debate, Argumentation (ARESR), Topic Categorization and Interpretation
Monday, September 13, 7:00-7:55 PM (Track A, B, C) – Counterplanning
Tuesday, September 21, 9:00-9:55 PM (Track A, B, C) – Public Speaking for Debate, Argumentation (ARESR), Topic Categorization and Interpretation
Thursday, September 23, 4:15-5:10 PM (Track A, B, C) – Counterplanning
Thursday, September 23, 5:15-6:00 PM (Track A, B, C) – Public Speaking for Debate, Argumentation (ARESR), Topic Categorization and Interpretation
Sunday, September 26, 2:00-2:55 PM (Track A, B, C) – Critiquing
Sunday, September 26, 3:00-3:55 PM (Track A, B, C) – Writing a Case
Sunday, September 26, 4:00-4:55 PM (Track A, B, C) – Counterplanning

Debate Practice (BP format)

All practices will use impromptu topics, although the difficulty of the motion will be set by the experience level of participants.
Register for a Fall 2021 practice debate slot with an email to Maya Kurkhill,

Practice Times; effective September 27 (please use prior announced times for this week). Practice is scheduled for 1:45 hours. Please be on time for sufficient time for the debate and comprehensive feedback.
Mondays, 3:00 PM and 4:45 PM
Tuesdays, 8:15 PM
Wednesdays, 4:45 PM and 6:30 PM

Sample motions for previous Fall 2021 practice debates
This House believes that reality television does more harm than good.
This House would substantially restrict First Amendment free speech.
This House would lower the voting age to 16.
This House would abolish the Olympic Games.
This House believes that it is unethical to have children.
This House believes that it is unethical to use Facebook.

Competitive Debate (SJD format)

Learn the Social Justice prepared topic debate format (8-12 tournaments annually in several aligned formats, including Social Justice Debates, Lafayette Debates, Society of Professional Journalists Debates,  International Humanitarian Law Debates, and other tournaments using the original and modified SJD format):

August 18, 7:00-8:00 PM (Track A, B, C)
Sunday, September 5, 3:00-4:00 PM (Track A, B, C)
Training for forthcoming SJD debating – TBD week of September 27

Debate Outreach – Judge Certification (PDP format)

Learn the Debate Union’s proprietary debate outreach format for middle schooling high school debating. Used nationally and internationally. Learn the format, 2021 rubric, and updated judging norms for in-person and online debating. All PDP judges must complete certification for eligibility for competitive judging. All Debate Union members interested in outreach support (workshops, summer instruction opportunities, etc. must satisfactorily complete certification).

Thursday, September 9, 6:00-7:15 PM

Online –
Please view the presentation on the PDP format, judge certification for the 2021 PDP championships, and download the accompanying documents on rules, rubrics, judging.