The Washburn debate squad competes primarily in American style parliamentary debate, which is a form of collegiate debate that finds its inspiration in both World's style parliamentary debate and American team policy debate. The Washburn debate squad travels to debate tournaments at colleges and universities across the United States, such as William Jewell, Denver U., Missouri Columbia, Texas Tech, Rice, California Berkeley, Stanford, and Concordia Irvine. Our season runs from September to April.
In 2012, Washburn students Lauren Knoth and Josh Ramsey won both the National Parliamentary Debate Association Championships and the National Parliamentary Tournament of Excellence. In 2017, Washburn students Kaitlyn Bull and Ryan Kelly won the National Parliamentary Tournament of Excellence. In that same year, Kaitlyn and Ryan also took 1-2 with their teammates Quintin Brown and Will Starks at the National Parliamentary Debate Association Championships and the National Round Robin. Washburn became the only school to ever close out (have both teams in the final round) at the National Parliamentary Debate Association Championships. In 2018, WU Debate travelled to Portland, OR to compete in the National Parliamentary Debate Association Championships, hosted by Lewis & Clark College. Washburn travelled four teams to this year's Championships: Matt Parnell (sr.) & Bailey Hockett (sr.), John Williams (sr.) & Will Starks (sr.), Brooke Manny (jr.) & Jackson Hermann (jr.), and Jaishivani Balram (so.) & Emily Unruh (fr.). Our teams were joined by alumni Kaitlyn Bull (one of last year's national co-champions), Quintin Brown (also one of last year's national co-champions), and Sarah Dweik. Portland attorney and former debater, Paul Hood, and longtime debate coach, Jeremy Christensen, rounded out our squad.
Washburn Debate has won the overall squad sweepstakes five times at the National Parliamentary Debate Association Championships (2010, 2012, 2016, 2017, and 2018). Washburn students have also been recognized three times as the national champion top speaker.
Washburn's Bailey Hockett and Matt Parnell are Washburn students who have experienced a Final Four individual team finish at the 2018 NPDA Championships.
Our squad meetings are 1:00-3:00 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays. Students with high school debate experience will certainly have a leg up in joining the squad, but we have also had great success with students new to debate. Scholarships are available.
Kevin M. O’Leary, Ph.D.
Director of Forensics
Steve D. Doubledee
Assistant Director of Forensics