Elite to Compete

April 4, 2013 by University of La Verne

La Verne faces nation’s best when it hosts USU National Debate Championships

For more than a century, the University of La Verne debate team has enjoyed its share of success. Over the past two decades, La Verne has gone against the world’s best and earned international recognition and acclaim at tournaments across the country and around the globe.

“We’re right there at the top. We’ve proven ourselves year after year,” said Robert Ruiz, director of Forensics at
La Verne. “We’re nationally and internationally known. Ask someone from Harvard or Sydney; they know who we are.”

On April 12-14, La Verne will compete in the most prestigious British Parliamentary style national debate tournament in North America without having to pack a bag. A total of 164 teams representing more than 50 elite colleges and universities are coming to Southern California as La Verne hosts the 2013 United States Universities National Debate Championships.

La Verne, 2007 USU National champions, will be joined in the field by past champions Harvard, Yale, Loyola Marymount, University of Alaska Anchorage, Hobart & William Smith Colleges, and the Claremont Colleges. Among the other participating institutions represented will be Stanford, UCLA, USC, Duke, Cornell, Columbia, St. John’s, Portland State, Seattle, Vermont, Clemson, and the University of Miami.

Friday’s schedule opens with the first two rounds at 1:45 p.m. and 4:15 p.m.  Four more rounds are slated for Saturday, beginning with the third round at 9 a.m. and concluding after the sixth round, which gets underway at 5:30 p.m. The event concludes on Sunday with quarterfinal competition at 11 a.m., the finals at 3:15 p.m. and the tournament awards ceremony at 4:45 p.m.

All rounds of the national championship competition are open to the public and admission is free. During the tournament’s first two days, teams will compete at various sites across the entire university campus, with the best viewing locations being Dailey Theatre, Jane Dibbell Cabaret and La Fetra Auditorium. All of Sunday’s competition will take place in the Ann & Steve Morgan Auditorium.

The judging pool for this year’s tournament is of the highest quality, with international judges coming from Oxford University, Cambridge University and University College Dublin. “The national tournament is prestigious and offers a good amount of competition,” Ruiz said. “The judges we have coming are highly, highly competitive.”

Students from high school debate programs throughout Southern California will also be in attendance to watch the collegiate tournament. La Verne alumni who helped establish and maintain the program’s reputation will also be present, including World Finalists JJ Rodriguez ’00 and Sean Krispinsky ’02.

It has been a stellar season already for La Verne. At the USU National Debate Open, it placed as finalists and sophomore Carl Decker placed as America’s Top Speaker. It also was declared champions of the UC Davis IV, where Decker was honored as top speaker, and it recently won the inaugural USC Trojan Parliamentary Debate Tournament.
La Verne teams placed highly at 50th U.S. Air Force Academy Forensics Classic, the World Universities Peace Invitational USA Debate, the Pan Pacific Championship in Hawaii, and the Seattle University IV.

For the latest information on the national championship tournament, visit http://laverne.edu/nationals/.

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