The Texas Southern University Debate Team is internationally renowned. Organized under the leadership of Dr. Thomas F. Freeman more than 70 years ago, the Team attracts approximately 25-50 students annually. Students may be introduced to the Forensic Arts for the first time or continue involvement with debate activities that may have started in high school. The Forensic Arts include: Parliamentary Debate, Lincoln Douglas Debate, Individual Parliamentary Debate, Persuasive Oratory, Informative Speaking, After Dinner Speaking, Poetry, Prose, Dramatic and Duo Dramatic Interpretation, Impromptu and Extemporaneous Speaking, and Reader’s Theater.
The Debate Team office is a popular tourist attraction for visitors to the campus, to see the thousands of trophies won by the team and the numerous photos of students in competitions around the world. Other memorabilia in the office attests to the popularity of this campus organization- the certificates of achievement, merit awards and proclamations from national dignitaries
Interviews for selection of students are conducted throughout the year. Joining the Debate Team assures participants of training to prepare for the numerous styles of debate and other forensic activities. Students with the best scores in the various events conducted during the Fall Term may qualify for an International competition held the following Spring Term.
The mission of the TSU Debate Team is to continue the legacy of its founder- preparing students for the highest levels of competition in the various forms and styles of Forensics. While acquiring an appreciation for the Forensic Arts, the training will also aid students who want to improve writing and oratory skills for course work and public speaking.
The vision of the TSU Debate Team is to conduct training and provide opportunities for presentations available for all interested students. The intent is to improve language arts skills that may be used in any number of contexts. The services of coaches, instructional materials and practice sessions are resources that will be used to achieve that goal.
- Due to the COVID-19 global pandemic, the Debate Team Center will not be open to students but will operate remotely via Microsoft Teams, Group Me, Face Time, Zoom, cellular, emails and other technical contacts, until further notice.
- Head Coach will continue to stay in touch with all volunteer assistant coaches and will research books, catalogs and periodicals for materials suitable for collegiate competition in the Forensic Arts.
- All students on the Debate Team will have contact information for the Debate Coach and all volunteer assistant coaches. Students will be contacted regularly to ensure that they are progressing with their online courses.
- Coaches will have teleconferences on Facetime and Microsoft Teams with students to review their presentations and will continue to conduct student workshops and assist in research, team building exercises and programming.
Gloria Batiste-Roberts, Dr.P.H., LMSW-AP