In the Press

03/2018: Debaters discuss sex robots (Campus Times)

Coverage of URDU’s public debate about sex robots, co-hosted with UR Robotics!

Before the debate even started, the initial audience, about two-dozen people, was close to equally divided on the issue.

Post-debate, however, over 70 percent of the approximately 40 people present agreed with the opposition.

Despite this, judges and students alike had questions for both sides of the argument.

03/2018: All Writers Should Debate (Campus Times)

An article written by URDU’s own Aryaman about the applicable skills that BP debate can offer!

“Debate’s use of the voice, face, and body as articulators, along with its time constraint, allow it to do something that writing has never managed to do: Turn language and logic into a sport.”

04/2017: Students Tackle Issue of Affirmative Action (Campus Times)

Some press on URDU’s recent Public Debate on Affirmative Action, presented with the Asian American Alliance

“It was definitely an eye-opening experience”

04/2017: Miriam Kohn and Chris Perkins Win Pan-American Championships (Rochester Newscenter)

A feature on URDU’s President and Vice President, Miriam Kohn and Chris Perkins, whose 4 year debate partnership finally culminated in winning the 2017 Pan-American Championships in California.

“Competing successfully as a debate partnership requires fine tuning the best balance of responsibilities… You can’t reasonably write every argument or call all the shots as half the team… Consistency is key to winning tournaments… [and] Our long partnership has allowed us to achieve that needed consistency.”

An additional feature on Kohn and Perkins was published in the German Magazine, Achte Minute

04/2017: High School Students Learn to Debate Without Shouting (Democrat and Chronicle)

Democrat and Chronicle overview’s East High School’s debate program, initiated by URDU’s Reefat Aziz’s 2017 KEY project, among other debate programs in the Monroe County area.

“People are afraid to be wrong. I want people to understand it’s OK to not know everything. I feel like in this society we’re raised to always have to know. Life isn’t like that. It’s important to open our minds to new information. That’s what life is about.”

03/2017: North American Women’s Debating Championships 2017 (Achte Minute)

Record of URDU’s current world coach, Bexley Brown, as a Deputy Chief Adjudicator for the 2017 North American Women and Gender Minorities Debate Championships.

03/2017: The 2017 Budapest Open (Achte Minute)

A record of URDU’s Ben Frazer (’18) and Dan Lemire (’17) making quarterfinals at the 2017 Budapest Open, as well as a list of the motions released at the tournament.

02/2017: Reefat Aziz: Debating Across Borders (Campus Times)

A feature on URDU’s President Ameritus Reefat Aziz and the work they have done to make debate more accessible both in and outside of the U.S., via a program at Rochester’s East High School and through the organization Leaping Boundaries.

“Debate is not just the sport he plays—it’s the medium through which he’s embraced the world. It is the tool he has used to affect change throughout the world, both here in Rochester and in his home country of Bangladesh.”

Another feature of Reefat was published through the Hajim School of Engineering:

09/2016: Debate Union Hosts iDebate Rwanda (Campus Times)

Some press on URDU’s public debate, organized by URDU member and Rwanda native Derrick Murekezi with a program he used to be a part of, iDebate. The topic was: In the aftermath of genocide, is forgiveness more important than justice?

“Debate is a universally valuable thing that empowers individuals and transcends any ethnicity, any religion, and any personal obstacle.”

04/2016: Debate Goes Varsity (Rochester Review)

A piece about URDU’s move from a student club to being housed under the Department of Athletics and Recreation. We are now a Varsity Sports Team!

“In many ways, the team—with a significant budget and an intensive travel schedule—is more akin to a varsity team than it is to other student clubs… We hire professional coaches, we supervise those coaches, and we set standards for their performance. Our goal is to provide programs and facilities of a high quality that are attractive to the very best students around the country.”

02/2016: Debate Union Tackle Beyoncé’s Influence on Feminism (Campus Times)

Coverage from the Campus Times about URDU’s Public Debate, which begged the question: Is Beyoncé good for feminism?

“Argument after argument, comment after comment, the debate focused on Beyoncé’s “black feminism and how white and black women respond to it. The room was engulfed with the sounds of knuckles rapping on wooden tables and people cheering…”

12/2014: Debate Union Tackles Contentious Topics (Campus Times)

Some press on URDU’s public debate, organized with ADITI, SADACA, and PASA about the topic of arranged marriages in South Asia.

“We do a very diverse form of discussion, ranging from the conflict in the Middle East to the legalization of prostitution and marijuana to the Ferguson case… Being informed about the things that matter to people is important.”

03/2014: Debate Union Wins Regionals at Western Connecticut State (Campus Times)

A Campus Times feature on URDU’s Miriam Kohn and Chris Perkins, who won the Novice Policy Division at Western Connecticut State.

“Our students have to be informed about a wide variety of domestic and international issues… [They] work really hard to compete against the best and the brightest students from other universities, so it is great to see all of that work translate into success.”

04/2012: Debate Scores in National Arena (Campus Times)

After sending four teams to CEDA, URDU celebrates its best performance at the tournament yet with the team of Diamond-Kasschau making double octafinals, impressive end for senior Kevin Diamond.

“UR is home to one of the largest debate programs in the nation, and unlike many other leading debate programs, no experience is necessary to join UR’s team.Most of the people who were debating in the Sweet 16 with Vijay and Kevin came from debate programs that only recruit elite high school debaters with lots of experience… Diamond was one of the few debaters at the end of the national championship who started debate as a novice in college.”

02/2012: UR Debaters Score Impressively at Cornell Tournament (Campus Times)

URDU sends 50 debaters to Cornell, sends over 70 members per year to travel — increasing in size, scope, and power every year.

“Our students have a great work ethic and it really paid off this weekend… Next up are regional and national championships, we plan to work hard, debate hard, and win… We sent a large number of teams simply because we had a ton of people sign up… Debate is so important and powerful. Our coaches and team leaders feel they have a duty to try and extend the opportunity to debate to as many people as possible.”

11/2010: UR Debate Team Has Record Participation in Tournament (Campus Times)

URDU sends 38 debaters to the Huber Debates at the University of Vermont, closes out JV Policy Finals, and sends all 5 Novice teams to elimination rounds. Campus Times recaps our success.

“Much of UR Debate’s recent success [can be attributed to] to the hard work put in by the coaches and volunteers who work with the team, helping out with everything from skills-training to research. One of these coaches — UR alum Buddy Khan — was also honored as the “Most Preferred Judge” at the Huber tournament… Some of the team’s greatest leadership comes from the students themselves, with experienced debaters constantly mentoring the younger members.”

12/2009: UR Debate Union Has Exciting Season (Campus Times)

URDU is currently in the top 10 in the northeast and the top 20 nationally! Coaches Ken Johnson and Gordy Miller explain how the team is so successful and highlights our open-door policy.

“What really makes the club different from other universities’ teams is their inclusive nature. Teams at other schools require that members have had a great deal of experience in high school on a debate team.‘We take anyone… We train those who are afraid to speak in front of others and prepare them to debate against the blue chip debaters at other universities. It is a unique opportunity here.’ Being able to compete with such exclusive teams at other schools is a great accomplishment for those who are just starting out.…Apart from trips to other schools and the benefit of another club on one’s resume, the experience offers long-lasting benefits.”

04/2008: Students Debate on Elections (Campus Times)

URDU, Delta Upsilon, and College Republicans host a public debate on the policies of Barack Obama, including foreign policy, immigration, energy, and the environment.

“The Debate Union wishes to increase that interest further and plans to hold more public debates in the future, though not necessarily of a political nature.“It’s a beginning… We’d like to involve more of the campus community in discussion.”

02/2007: Debate Team Wins Numerous Honors (Campus Times)

At the East Region Championships, URDU broke an open policy team of Buddy Khan and Ben Wittwer in the 8th seed to the NDT, as well as novice policy team Ally Bieber and Kevin Diamond taking 3rd. Campus Times covers our recent achievements.

“This was a historic moment for the team… We’ve done well before at the district tournament, but, in all the years we’ve been attending, we’ve never won the open division before.”

04/2006: Debate Team Conquers Circuit of College Teams (Campus Times)

Coverage of URDU’s phenomenal growth and achievements, including ranking 8th and 10th at CEDA and the NDT, and having the top novice policy team in the nation.

“This is no new trend for our Debate Union. For years they have been ranking very high and breaking new ground. Such great accomplishments obviously cannot be reached without the strength of all members of the team, ranging from novice to veteran. ‘The contributions of our novice and junior varsity debaters especially allowed us to break back into the top 10 where we belong…'”

04/2005: Debate Union Wins Awards, Recognition (Campus Times)

URDU ranks 15th in the nation at CEDA and the NDT, Steven D’Amico and Chris Lavin win Academic All-American Awards, and Sam Nelson wins the Brownlee Award

“The UR Debate Union has had some significant achievements this semester, including placing 15th in the nation in both the Cross Examination Debate Association and the National Debate Tournament polls.”

02/2005: UR Debates for Victory (Campus Times)

URDU performs exceedingly well at Cornell, closing out finals and having top speakers in the open, JV, and novice policy divisions.

“You have to do exceedingly well in the initial six preliminary rounds to be able to advance to the finals… They cleared the semi-finals by defeating the University of Vermont and Bard College, to result in a close out that brought us victory. We even received a standing ovation.”

04/2004: Don’t Argue with Debate’s Spirit (Campus Times)

A glowing review of the hard work and accomplishments of URDU, including qualifying for the NDT for the first time, and supporting three All-American debaters Karim Oussayef, Cedric Logan, and Liz Gaskell.

“A lot of my views have changed… Through debate I have been exposed to a wide variety of topics that I might have not been exposed to… The research that the students engage in when preparing for tournaments often can lead to the development of other interests… While success is a primary focus, broadening one’s horizons and learning about different topics and policy issues is a significant means of personal growth. The team is extremely enthusiastic…”

09/2003: Debate Team Starts at Sixth (Campus Times)

After URDU’s summer training and scholarship-recruitment, URDU starts the 2003-04 debate season with zeal and confidence.

“The UR Debate Union is ready to argue circles around its opponents.”

03/2002: Debate Team Wins JV Championship (Campus Times)

Campus Times features Christy Webster and John Vermitsky, who won JV/Novice Nats at Towson University this weekend.

“They were calling the names of the debaters and as I didn’t hear my name called I got more and more anxious… Finally, the tournament director said that the second place speaker from Vanderbuilt had stopped Rochester from closing out the top four. That is when I knew I had the number one spot.”

02/2002: UR Debate Ranked 7th (Campus Times)

Director of Forensics Sam Nelson discusses URDU’s national ranking, including analysis of competitive seniors John Vermitsky and Christy Webster

“[They] make up the most successful debate team in the history of Rochester debate,” Nelson said. The team of Vermitsky and Webster recently went undefeated in a tournament at Cornell.Vermitsky sees the universal benefits of debate. “Debate teaches critical thinking skills that are useful in any profession,” he said. He added that debate made it possible for him to go to law school, and may fund it as well, in the form of scholarships.”

02/2002: Debate Teams Cleans Up Over the Weekend (Campus Times)

URDU closes out novice policy finals, Ken Johnson named Coach of the Year, and President Amy Novak named East Region Debater of the Year

“We are committed to keeping the UR debate team open to the entire campus and will always make it our mission to teach anyone to debate who wants to learn.”

02/2002: Debate Team Gets Additional Funds (Campus Times)

URDU gets approved for additional funding from Student Government

“UR’s top-ranked debate team was given $2,600 by the Students’ Association Appropriations Committee on Tuesday night after a long and contentious process. The team had depleted its budget for this year and without this additional funding the team would have been unable to compete for a national title.”

01/2002: Debate Team Inexperienced, but Still Ranked First in the Nation (Campus Times)

CEDA, the NDT, and ADA have all ranked URDU FIRST! Having won more tournaments ever in URDU history, the team is scorching the season.

“This is the first time in the team’s history that it has been ranked first place.‘The most impressive thing to me is that five of these tournaments were won by debaters that started debating this year… Our team is one of the only teams in the country that will train anyone to debate that wants to learn. Most debate teams only recruit and travel people who debated in high school. We only have two debaters out of almost 50 with high school experience.’The team has won more first places this year than ever before in UR history.”

12/2001: Debate’s Best Year Ever, Ranked 4th in the Nation (Campus Times)

URDU maintains #1 ranking, and our debaters and coaches explain why.

“Debate is one of the greatest things to do because it opens your mind…With such a depth of research… it encourages[you] to put [your] academics and what [you] learn in the classroom, into action.”

04/2001: Debate Ranks 4th in the Nation (Campus Times)

URDU named fourth debate program in the nation, thanks to the efforts of Camber Warren and Amy Novak, who placed in the top 32 at the NDT.

“The great thing about the Rochester debate program is that we have an open-door policy… Anyone who wants to can walk in the door with no experience and we’ll teach them how to debate and take them to tournaments across the country… What I like most about debate is the community of fun, smart people that you get to meet… Debate changes your life.”

03/2001: Debate Poised to Rank in Top 20 (Campus Times)

An Overview of URDU’s recent successes and prospects for our future ranking. URDU members explain some of the benefits and unique cultural aspects to debate.

“I argued a lot at home and I yell at everybody, so debate comes naturally to me.”“Debate is the only place where you can learn about everything from AIDS in Africa to sentient robots”“When you spend eight hours in a van driving to a tournament, you’re forced to be friendly with one another”