HWS Debate Team

The HWS debate team competes throughout the school year, at tournaments across the world. We regularly compete against, and beat, teams from Harvard, Yale, and Stanford discussing current questions of politics, international relations, and law as well as more abstract or "fun" debates about art, science-fiction, and social media. Our teams often advance to the elimination rounds of the national championships, and in 2012 an HWS team was US national champions!

We also host two tournaments each year, a large fall event with nearly 400 participants from across North America and a more intimate 16-team event bringing together the best debaters from around the world in early May.

We meet for twice weekly practices where members debate with and get feedback from one another. Our members also enjoy hosting on-campus debate events and team parties throughout the year.


The HWS Debate Team is dedicated to promoting debate at the highest level. We promote a culture of excellence, of critical thought and of strong teamwork. Our members are confident public speakers who continually hone their analytic and rhetorical skills to master the art of persuasion.

2017-2018 SCHEDULE

9/22-9/24 - Season Opener @ University of Rochester

9/29-10/1 - HWS North American University Debating Championship

10/6-10/8 - Hart House (Toronto) Invitational

11/3-11/5 - Yale Inter-Varsity

12/1-12/3 - Brandeis Inter-Varsity

2/27-1/4 - World University Debating Championships @ Mexico City

1/19-1/21 - CUSID/APDA North American Debating Championships

3/30-4/1 - Colgate Open

4/6-4/7 - 2018 HWS Round Robin

4/13-4/16 - US Universities Debating Championships


  • Won the 2017 US Eastern Regional Novice Championship
  • Advanced to the octo-finals of the 2016 US National Championship
  • Advanced to the finals of the 2016 Colgate Open
  • Won the 2016 Cornell IV
  • Won the 2015 Brad Smith Debate Tournament @ University of Rochester
  • Advanced to finals of Queens in 2015
  • Gerald "Buzz" Klinger '12 won Queens in 2014
  • Advanced to finals of Ottawa in 2014
  • Advanced to the finals of the 2013 Colgate Open
  • Advanced to the semi-finals of the 2013 US National Championships
  • Won the 2012 US National Championships
  • Advanced to the elimination rounds of the 2012 World Championships
  • Ranked 21st out of 396 teams at the 2012 World Championships
  • 2012 Northeast Regional Champions
  • 2011 Hart House IV Semifinals
  • 2011 Yale IV Semifinals & 4th best speaker
  • 2009 Northeast Regional Champions


Tournament website

  • Each April, HWS hosts an international tournament of champions.
  • Our round robin is second only to the World Championships in competitiveness.
  • 16 teams and 15 judges from around the world come to HWS to compete and exchange ideas.
  • In the last three years, 22 nations have been represented at the HWS Round Robin.
  • Internationally renowned speakers give lectures to the debaters.
  • World champions regularly come to HWS because of this competition.
  • The best debaters in the world compete each year to earn a place at the HWS tournament.


  • Each fall, HWS hosts a regional debate tournament.
  • The Fall Classic attracts many of the best teams in the Northeastern US and Canada.
  • Over 100 debaters and judges participate.
  • Members of the HWS Debate Team run the tournament and do most of the judging.
  • New HWS debaters may participate as swing teams, if necessary.


Coach: Eric Barnes
Assistant Coach: Steve Penner

Executive Board:
President: Haley Giunta '18
VP: Grace Marshall '19
Treasurer and Transport: Ryan Skinner '19
Secretary: Bart Lahiff '20


If you are interested in joining the Debate Team, just come to one of our meetings!

Contact Bart Lahiff to be added to our mailing list.


Preparing Students to Lead Lives of Consequence.