Four University debate teams are among 220 competing April 14-17

April 13, 2017

Regis University is hosting 220 debate teams from 65 universities for the 2017 United States Universities Debating Championship (USUs), which begins Friday, April 14, and runs through Monday evening, when the final four teams will compete.

The third national debating championship Regis has hosted in seven years, it begins with preliminary rounds on Saturday and Sunday at the University of Denver, 2199 S. University Blvd., and continues Monday with elimination rounds at the Hyatt Regency Denver, 650 15th St. The debates are free to attend and open to the public. The final round begins in the Hyatt’s Grand Ballroom at 7 p.m. Monday, April 17.

The championship is the official national tournament for the world format of debate known as British Parliamentary Debate (BP). Some of the best debate teams in the nation will compete, said Jon Denzler, director of the Regis debate team and an instructor in the University’s communications department. All are two-person teams.

“All of the Ivy League is going to be here for this debating championship,” said Denzler. “Why not come see Harvard, Cornell, Stanford and Berkeley compete? Basically, every university you can think of that does debate will be here.”

That’s at least 600 debaters and another 150 judges coming to Denver for the USUs this weekend. Many will be staying at the Hyatt Regency.

Teams are given the topics they must debate 15 minutes before a session begins. At this time, they’re also assigned the side they must argue – the affirmative or negative side.

Topics are generally current events related, said Rob Margesson, a Regis professor of communications who is the USUs’ lead organizer this year. He coached Regis’ debate team for 10 years, retiring from that role when Denzler picked it up this year.

“Because the topics change at every round, anyone who’s there to watch gets to experience a wide range of viewpoints,” Margesson said. “And these are some of the fastest, brightest thinkers at our universities. It is always engaging, and really, it’s a lot of fun to watch.” 

Regis has four teams in this year’s championship. Its teams have fared well during the USUs, having advanced to semifinals and to quarterfinals twice. Regis last hosted the annual USUs seven years ago.

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Regis University is a premier, globally engaged institution of higher learning in the Jesuit tradition that prepares leaders to live productive lives of faith, meaning and service. Regis University has four campus locations in the Denver metro area and Colorado Springs. If you would like more information about this topic, please contact Jennifer Forker at 303.458.3537 or jforker@regis.edu.