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2013 Archives

SMU Wins the Mid-America Cross Examination Debate Association Championship in the Novice Division

In photo from left to right: Basma Raza, Alex Zier, a debater from Minnesota, and Lila Friedlander
(l. to r.) Basma Raza, Alex Zier, a debater from Minnesota, and Lila Friedlander.
The following is from the March 28, 2013, edition of The Dallas Morning News.

Muslim-Jewish debate partners help team take first place in competition

By Deborah Fleck

Southern Methodist University student Basma Raza is a Muslim whose family fled Pakistan because of political persecution. Alex Zier is Jewish. They may be one of the few Muslim-Jewish college debate teams in the country.

Raza and Zier, along with Lila Friedlander, won the novice division of the Mid-America National Junior Division Debate Tournament of the Cross Examination Debate Association. . .

Raza said she joined the team because of her future career plans.

“I plan to go to law school and become a lawyer,” she said. She attributes her success partly to the team’s size.

“We are a small, intimate group, and we get lots of one-on-one coaching,” she said.

Read the full story.

March 26, 2013

DALLAS (SMU) — SMU Meadows School of the Arts students Basma Raza ’14, Alex Zier ’14 and Lila Friedlander ’15 took first place honors in the novice division of the Mid-America National Junior Division Debate Tournament of the Cross Examination Debate Association (CEDA), held recently in Kansas City.

In addition, Raza was named top speaker for the tournament. CEDA is the largest college policy debate organization in the United States.

The Meadows students dominated the competition with a combined record of 10 wins and only 2 losses. It was the best finish for an SMU team in the four years they have competed in the event, which drew participants from Minnesota, Kansas, Texas, Missouri and Iowa. Held annually in Kansas City, the Mid-America CEDA Tournament is the oldest and most prestigious novice and junior varsity national tournament in the nation.

The debate topic was “The United States federal government should substantially reduce restrictions on and/or substantially increase financial incentives for energy production in the United States of one or more of the following: coal, crude oil, natural gas, nuclear power, solar power, wind power.” SMU debated both sides during the competition, defending increased subsidies for wind power or arguing that global warming was not a problem.

The three SMU students have only been competing for a short time – Zier for one month, and Raza and Friedlander for six months. Zier and Raza took third as a team several weeks ago at a competition in Oklahoma, where Raza placed second in the individual speaker category.

The squad’s final competition will take place in April at James Madison University.

SMU’s debate teams are coached by Tim Glass, Lauren Sabino, director Ben Voth and assistant director Chris Salinas. The debate program is part of the Division of Communication Studies at SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts.

For more information, contact Dr. Ben Voth at bvoth@smu.edu.

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