The HWS debate team competes throughout the school year at tournaments around the world. We regularly compete against, and beat, teams from Harvard, Yale and Stanford discussing current questions of politics, international relations, and law as well as more abstract or “fun” debates about art, science-fiction and social media. Our teams often advance to the elimination rounds of the national championships and in 2012 an HWS team won the US national championship title!
Our team hosts two tournaments each year, a large fall event - The Fall Classic - with nearly 400 participants from across North America and a more exclusive 16-team event - The International Round Robin @HWS - bringing together the best debaters from around the world in early April.
We meet three times a week for practices where members debate with and get feedback from one another and the coaches. Members are not required to attend all three meetings to be part of the team and each practice has a different focus to help new and returning members grow. Our members also enjoy hosting on-campus debate events, social gatherings and team parties throughout the year.
The HWS Debate Team is dedicated to promoting debate at the highest level. We promote a culture of excellence, of critical thought and of strong teamwork. Our members are confident public speakers who continually hone their analytic and rhetorical skills to master the art of persuasion.
- Won the 2021 Cross Debsoc Pre-United Asian Debating Championship
- Won the 2021 Silver Championship at the Strathclyde President’s Cup
- Won the 2021 English as Secondary Language category at the Hart House Intervarsity Debate Competition
- Ranked 12th at the 2021 Yale Intervarsity Debate Competition
- Ranked 22nd at the 2021 Oxford Intervarsity Debate Competition
- Ranked 3rd at the 2021 Singapore Management University Debating Competition
- Won the 2017 US Eastern Regional Novice Championship
- Advanced to the octo-finals of the 2016 US National Championship
- Advanced to the finals of the 2016 Colgate Open
- Won the 2016 Cornell IV
- Won the 2015 Brad Smith Debate Tournament @ University of Rochester
- Advanced to finals of Queens in 2015
- Gerald “Buzz” Klinger ’12 won Queens in 2014
- Advanced to finals of Ottawa in 2014
- Advanced to the finals of the 2013 Colgate Open
- Advanced to the semi-finals of the 2013 US National Championships
- Won the 2012 US National Championships
- Advanced to the elimination rounds of the 2012 World Championships
- Ranked 21st out of 396 teams at the 2012 World Championships
- 2012 Northeast Regional Champions
- 2011 Hart House IV Semifinals
- 2011 Yale IV Semifinals & 4th best speaker
- 2009 Northeast Regional Champions
THE INTERNATIONAL ROUND ROBIN @ HWS
- Each April, HWS hosts an international tournament of champions.
- Our round robin is second only to the World Championships in competitiveness.
- 16 teams and 15 judges from around the world come to HWS to compete and exchange ideas.
- In the last three years, 22 nations have been represented at the HWS Round Robin.
- Internationally renowned speakers give lectures to the debaters.
- World champions regularly come to HWS because of this competition.
- The best debaters in the world compete each year to earn a place at the HWS tournament.
THE FALL CLASSIC
- Each fall, HWS hosts a regional debate tournament.
- The Fall Classic attracts many of the best teams in the Northeastern US and Canada.
- Over 100 debaters and judges participate.
- Members of the HWS Debate Team run the tournament and do most of the judging.
- New HWS debaters may participate as swing teams, if necessary.
Director of Debate: Eric Barnes
Eric started debating in 9th grade and it changed his life. He is now an associate professor of philosophy at HWS, where he revived the Debate Team in 2004. His research is about moral theory, applied ethics and competitive debate. In 2007, he invented the Round Robin format for British Parliamentary debate, and the HWS Round Robin has served as a laboratory for debate research as well as a venue for high quality debating. Eric is a firm believer that debate is a centrally important element of a strong liberal-arts education. He is committed to improving the activity of competitive debate by promoting both better arguments and better ways to run tournaments.