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SMU Debate Attends the National Debate Qualifier for the First Time in More Than 20 Years

National attendees will debate U.S. immigration policy at the Wichita, Kansas competition this weekend

For the first time in more than 20 years, SMU is attending the National Debate Tournament District Three qualifying tournament. The tournament is a highly selective tournament for the top varsity debate teams within the District Three region composed of Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri and Kansas. 25 teams in this region are eligible to compete for nine slots that will go to the National Debate Tournament in late March. These teams were selected via a tournament process among hundreds of debate teams.

SMU students Chris Dawkins and Tyler Murray are the varsity debaters competing this weekend. The debate program was re-born in 2008 under the direction of professors Chris Salinas and Ben Voth. The Meadows School re-created the debate program at that time in the Communication Studies division. Since its inception in the fall of 2008, the debate program has progressed steadily up the ranks into varsity level competition. Dawkins and Murray completed more than 24 two-hour debate rounds this year as part of their eligibility process. They scored a historic upset against top-ranked Dartmouth College in Dallas during a January tournament at UTD.

SMU will compete against a variety of top competitors from the University of Texas, Baylor, Oklahoma, Kansas, Trinity and many more. This year's debate topic concerns U.S. immigration policy. The tournament is in Wichita, Kansas, from February 25 to February 27.

For more information, contact Director of Debate, Ben Voth, at

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