Purdue to host national debate tournament

April 8, 2014  

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - The 2014 U.S. National World Style Debate tournament will be at the Purdue University Brian Lamb School of Communication Friday through Sunday (April 11-13).

The event is hosted by the C Richard Petticrew Debate Forum, a student organization within the Brian Lamb School of Communication. The three-day event, which is free and open to the public, will bring 412 college debaters and 130 accompanying judges from 55 colleges and universities from 25 states and Canada. Competition rounds can be observed on Friday from 5:30-9:30 p.m., and from 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. The debates will take place in the Class of 1950 Lecture Hall, Room 224.

"It is a distinct honor that Purdue was chosen to host this prominent debate tournament," said Marifran Mattson, professor and head of the Brian Lamb School of Communication. "It is an excellent opportunity to showcase the developing communication talent and expertise of our students and students from around the U.S. and Canada. Our hosting and participation in this tournament illustrates the Lamb School's commitment to the ideals of openness and innovation in communication."

British Parliamentary- or worlds-style debate consists of eight speeches delivered by four two-member teams, representing the proposition and opposition sides. Each team must convince the audience that its argument is superior based on strength of supporting evidence, logic and organization presented with a persuasive speaking style. The topics of the debate change for each round, and the competitors have 15 minutes to prepare their arguments. More information about this style of debate is available at World Universities Debating Championships.

"Worlds style debate is the dominant format internationally and has exploded in popularity on the east and west coasts. We are just now seeing it catch on in the Midwest," said John Schultz, the coach of the Purdue speech and debate team. "This is one of the reasons Purdue was selected as the host the first tournament of this type in the Midwest."

The C Richard Petticrew Debate Forum was created in 1990 when Petticrew, a champion debater from Purdue in the 1930's, set up an endowment to provide opportunities for Purdue students to speak on and debate current issues. The Purdue team is coached by Schultz, a graduate student from political science, and Doug Pruim, a graduate student from communication It is advised by Pam Deutsch, continuing lecturer.  Members of this year's team include Ryan Farrell, the Pi Kappa Delta national champion in Extemporaneous Speaking, who along with his debate partner, Josh Farrow, were national champion runners-up in Parliamentary Debate. 

Writer: Amy Patterson Neubert, 765-494-9723, apatterson@purdue.edu 

Source: John Schultz, jpschult@purdue.edu 

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