After becoming fed up with the lack of a debate team at the university, three freshmen, Jason Jang, Brooke Becker, and Tristan Loveless, decided to form an intercollegiate debate team this year.
“A lot of us debated in high school and really wanted to debate in college as well,” said founder, Tristan Loveless, “but the University did not have a debate team which is unusual for a highly ranked private university.”
The university did at one time have a debate team, but it was disbanded after an embezzlement scandal that occurred during the 08-09 school year dubbed “DisneyGate.”
The incident involved a few debaters and a trip to a conference at Disney World. The conference was cancelled shortly before it was scheduled to occur, but the students traveled to Disney World in spite of this using team funds. The results were an investigation, severe disciplinary action, and the loss of the university’s debate team.
The new debate team, officially known as the University of Tulsa Debate Association will focus on Cross Examination Debate in order to compete in the Cross Examination Debate Association National Debate Tournament.
“The CEDA-NDT debate circuit is the largest, most prestigious and intellectually diversified debate association in the college world,” said founder, Jang. “It only seems like an advantage to get TU involved.”
Aside from competition, the founders, who debated in high school, want to dedicate some time to helping the Tulsa Urban Debate League by forming an outreach program, led by Loveless. The Tulsa Debate League is a nonprofit organization devoted to forming debate teams at inner city high schools.
“A lot of us wanted to help local high school debate programs,” Loveless stated. “Since the Tulsa Urban Debate League is just now starting its operations, it provided us a great way to channel our debaters that want to volunteer into local Tulsa Public Schools to help teach debate. I know the Tulsa Urban Debate League is extremely excited by the idea of working with a TU debate program and is in need of volunteers we could provide.”
“We’re still working on getting official recognition and funding from the Student Association,” said Loveless, “but I am very confident we’ll get approval soon.”