The University of Miami Debate Team won the championship at the National Tournament for Delta Sigma Rho — Tau Kappa Alpha, the National Forensics and Debate Honorary, March 1-3, at the University of Florida in Gainesville.
Securing the win for the Canes were Ali Jessani, 19, a sophomore majoring in Communication Studies and Political Science, and Ryden Butler, 20, a sophomore majoring in Political Science, History, and Economics.
The debate team is sponsored by the School of Communication at UM and directed by Communication Studies Professor David L. Steinberg with the help of coaches/graduate assistants Randall Martinez and Joe Graziano.
The topic of the final debate was, “The U.S. Federal government should better fund colleges and universities.” Jessani and Butler defended this statement by defining “better funding” as allocating current funding to support beneficial programs rather than harmful ones. They clinched the victory over Valdosta State University.
Jessani and Butler were inducted into Delta Sigma Rho–Tau Kappa Alpha, the most prestigious national forensics honorary, for their excellence in intercollegiate debate competition and their outstanding academic achievements.
Five UM teams competed in the tournament, and three advanced to the quarterfinals.
Matt De La Fe, a junior majoring in Political Science, and Adir Paner, a senior majoring in Psychology and Business Law, performed well in the quarterfinals but lost in a split decision.
Renee Reneau, a freshman majoring in Public Relations and Political Science, and Michael Fuentes, a freshman majoring in accounting, advanced to the semifinals.
UM previously won the DSR-TKA National Championship Tournament in 1996.