Master the art of debate with Washburn University’s winning team

The Washburn debate squad is consistently among the nation's best university debate teams. The team earned the title of national champions at the 2024 National Forensic Association (NFA) Lincoln-Douglas Debate Championships and placed second in the 2023 tournament. The debate team travels to tournaments from September through April.

A legacy of debate excellence

4 National Top Speaker Championships

6 National Tournament Championships

10 National Squad Championships

Students celebrate their championship by lifting the trophy in front of Morgan Hall.

About the squad

The Washburn debate squad competes primarily in American style parliamentary debate, a form of collegiate debate inspired by both World style parliamentary debate and American team policy debate. The squad travels across the United States to debate tournaments at colleges and universities such as University of California Berkeley, University of Denver and Stanford.

Recent achievements


  • National Lincoln Douglas Grand Prix at Central Michigan University (Mt. Pleasant)
    • First place in Squad Sweepstakes
    • Individual tournament champion
    • Top Speaker and fourth top speaker
  • "Grand Prix" Tournament at Western Kentucky University (Bowling Green)
    • Second Place in Squad Sweepstakes


  • National Forensic Association Championships at Bradley University (Peoria, IL)
    • Second place in Lincoln Douglas Squad Sweepstakes
    • Semifinalist individual debater
  • National Lincoln Douglas Grand Prix at University of North Texas (Denton, TX)
    • Second place in Squad Sweepstakes
    • Top six individual debater
    • National champion junior varsity individual debater

Debate squad posing for a photo with a marquee that says "talking heads stop making sense"
A debater gives a thumbs up behind a row of seats with the trophies strapped in.
Debate team at practice.
The debate team practices.

Join the championship squad

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. Contact the coaches below to learn more.

Kevin M. O’Leary, Ph.D.

Director of Debate
Morgan 206N

Steve D. Doubledee

Assistant Director of Debate
Morgan 206O

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