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SMU Takes Second Place in University of Central Oklahoma Intercollegiate Debate Tournament

Team finish is highest since debate program was reintroduced at SMU in 2008

Meadows Communications Studies majors Anthony McAuliffe and Bianca Marzullo took second place in the novice division of the University of Central Oklahoma Joe C. Jackson intercollegiate debate tournament held Nov. 4-6. McAuliffe also won second speaker overall at the tournament, in a field of 16 novice debaters. It was the highest finish of a debate team from SMU since the program’s reintroduction in 2008.

Approximately 60 teams attended the tournament from 17 schools across the country. Eight of the teams were in the novice division, with less than one year of debate experience.

McAuliffe and Marzullo, along with Tyler Murray, Ceci Hutchings, Evan Roberts, Brittany Dickey and Heberth Flores, were coached by Dr. Chris Salinas, assistant director of debate at the Meadows School, and Lauren Sabino. The students won eight two-hour rounds on the collegiate resolution concerning possible U.S. aid to new democratic movements in the Middle East. For these competitions, students research and select data from among thousands of pages of argumentation briefs to present the most persuasive cases to top national coaches in policy debate. Each student gives 20 minutes of oral argument and cross examination during the debates. SMU’s debate teams advocated a policy of training police forces in Egypt to reduce dangers to civilians in the transition to democracy from Mubarak’s rule.

SMU debate is part of the Communication Studies division in the Meadows School of the Arts. The program is directed by Dr. Ben Voth, division chair, and the teams are also coached by Tim Glass. Students will travel to Iowa for the final tournament of the fall semester before starting the spring season at Dallas area tournaments in January. For further information, please contact director Ben Voth at or 214-768-3028.

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