UA Debate Series

The UA Debate Series is dedicated to elevating public discourse through respectful, rhetorically-sound, and competitive – at times voracious – debate.

Student speaking in front of large audience at debate

About Us

The 2018-2019 academic year will be the inaugural year of the UA Debate Series, a monthly forum dedicated to addressing matters of public concern, including (but not limited to) public health, crime, economics, social issues, foreign affairs, and entertainment. Our students debate in British Parliamentary format, both traveling to intercollegiate tournaments and facing off against visiting universities. We gladly invite any schools who may be interested in visiting to contact us!

Interested in joining the UA Debate Series? Want to join the University of Arizona's debate team and get class credit while participating? Fill out the internship application today!

Apply for Internship

Mission statement

The UA Debate Series is envisioned to engage Arizona's public university students in civil discourse. We honor participants for articulating dramatically different points of view in an environment where combatants can remain friends. It should be our goal to graduate well-educated human beings capable of resolving differences that exist in a democracy in an environment of civil discourse rather than force. Our campuses should provide an opportunity for people to say foolish things in a process that safely allows for change, growth, and correction. It is through such a process that one will come to say smarter things – which of course is the process we call education.

The Inaugural Regents' Cup

November 16, 2019

Optional reception: Friday, November 15, 2019 at University of Arizona

The University of Arizona and the Board of Regents is giving potential applicants the opportunity to compete with ASU and NAU in a tri-university competition highlighting civil discourse through Debate, Discussion, and Storytelling events. This is a great opportunity!

First, second, and third place winning teams will receive scholarship money to apply toward the advancement of their education. Students who are selected to take part in the Regents’ Cup also may be eligible to receive either internship or course credit at their university for their work.

Thirteen UA students will be chosen to participate in the events and must meet the following criteria:

  • Freshmen through graduate students
  • Full-time UA student 2.5 or higher cumulative GPA
  • Able to meet university expectations for preparation and participation

Applications are due April 26, 2019. You must submit a 700-1000 word essay to your University. Mock tryouts for finalists will take place during last week of August

Apply now

Past Debates

November 2018 – Political Correctness

In these divisive times, what we say, and how we say it, matters. Political correctness was in many ways conjured up as a way to address this, but has political consequences gone too far? Are we shutting down conversation when we “watch what we say,” or simply becoming more cognizant of who hears us? Watch UA Debates and Dr. Jen Roth-Gordon for a powerful talk on political correctness and language.

October 2018 – Rights to Information

Does the government have the right to protect its information from the press in the interest of national security? Does the press have the right to protect its anonymous sources from the government? Who’s looking out for your best interests? Watch for a spirited discussion of this very topical issue! We were joined by the UA Journalism department’s own Dr. David Cuillier, security expert Volodymyr Lysenko, and Arizona Public Media’s Christopher Conover and Nancy Montoya!

October 2018 – Rights to Vote

How do we ensure free and fair elections? Can our democratic process handle its ideologically diverse citizenry? Have gerrymandering, voter ID laws, and the repeal of the Voting Rights Act fractured our “one person, one vote” philosophy? Are there—should there—be restrictions on who can partake in the voting process? We were joined for a special midterms edition of our speaker series, featuring the whip-smart debate team from Santa Clara University who argued the negative, and our very own debate members Sam Sheeder, Nathan Sawyer, Vincent Jasso, and Savannah Day argued the affirmative on this resolution: That Voting Rights Should be Extended to All.

September 2018 – Immigration

How does immigration law affect our day-to-day lives? What is its impact on our country, and our very own state of Arizona? Get ready and get out to our inaugural Distinguished Speaker Series Event on Immigration and Asylum, featuring three superb experts on the topic, Shefali Milczarek-Desai esq., Dorien Ediger-Seto esq., and Representative Sally Ann Gonzales!



Contact Us

Executive Director:
Ted McLoof
Office: Modern Languages 344

You can also follow us on Twitter or Instagram at @UADebateSeries, or like our Facebook page.

Support the UA Debate Series 

You can help fund student travel for national tournaments, support hosting visiting speakers, and ensure regular and enlightening events for our students and community by donating online through the English department. Be sure to specify "UA Debate Series" in the comments.