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OU Debate Team Wins National Championship


Inside OU

OU Debate Team Wins

National Championship

Make room in the trophy case! The University of Oklahoma Debate Team duo of Jazmine Pickens and Darius White won the 2019 National University Debate Championship tournament April 7, beating out 102 teams from across the country. 

Pickens, a senior in political science from Sacramento, California, and White, a junior in communication from Shreveport, Louisiana, took home the championship, besting a team from the University of Kansas. Pickens and White earned the top seed from the preliminary rounds with an 8-0 record. The team competed in 13 rounds of debate during the tournament.

Stephen Ellis, interim director of debate, expressed how proud he was of the performance of the OU students.

“They did it their way, with scholarship and arguments that they believed in,” he said. “They didn't try to please anyone else or play it safe, and nothing could have been more impressive.”

This year’s resolution to be debated focused on whether the United States federal government should substantially increase statutory and/or judicial restrictions on the executive power of the president in a list of areas including the use of nuclear weapons, trade power, Article II treaties and congressional-executive agreements, and the use of foreign intelligence information collected on U.S. citizens.

A second OU team finished tied for ninth, losing to a team from the University of Iowa. Nico Juarez, a senior in Native American studies from Youngsville, Louisiana, and Jacob Smith, a senior in political science from Jenks, Oklahoma, were the 10th seed from the preliminary rounds with a 6-2 record.

An OU freshman team made a good showing in the tournament. Raelynn Hanson, from Moore, Oklahoma, who majors in women and gender studies, and Brandon Rogers, from Norman, Oklahoma, who majors in biochemistry, finished tied in 33rd place with a 5-3 record from the preliminary rounds.

Teams from around the country competed in the tournament including the University of Kansas, University of Iowa, Wake Forest University, Rutgers-Newark University, Cornell University, University of Texas, University of Central Oklahoma, University of West Virginia and West Point Military Academy, among others.

The National University Debate Championship is awarded by the Cross Examination Debate Association and is the largest collegiate debate tournament in the United States. The 2019 CEDA National Tournament was hosted by California State University, Long Beach, the week of April 3-7.