USF Debate Team Wins First Place at Tournament (Oct 13, 2020)

This past weekend, the University of San Francisco Debate Team competed at a 3 full day debate tournament hosted by Lewis and Clark University. The tournament had over 70 different schools competing across 5 different types of debate. 
I am proud to announce that our team, Maggie Dale and Stephanie Soderlund, were the champions in their division, placing first in the tournament for their style of debate.  They worked incredibly hard and I am very proud of them. 
Best Regards,
Orion Steele

Debate Team Intramural Tournament – Thank you from USF Debate! (May 2, 2019)

The University of San Francisco Debate Team would like to thank the Rhetoric and Language Department for hosting the Tri-Force Intramural Debate Tournament at the USF campus on April 12, 2019. The tournament was a tremendous opportunity for students to experience competitive college debate and showcase their public speaking skills in a friendly and supportive environment. 

The University of San Francisco has a debate team tradition going back over 100 years, with a strong competitive streak in the 1970s. We are proud to continue that tradition today. The intramural tournament held on April 12 was the first debate tournament held at the USF campus in 30 years, and it was a resounding success:

– 26 students from the University of San Francisco, Community College of San Francisco, and San Francisco State University, came together to participate in evidence based debates about executive authority to launch nuclear bombs. 

– The tournament provided 104 hours of combined public speaking experience for the participants, as well as many hours of individual research and preparation. 

– Two USF students, Stratton Adams and Shek Ramesh, were undefeated at the tournament, and Stratton received a separate award for being the second highest rated individual speaker throughout the tournament. Additionally, there were 3 undefeated teams from San Francisco State University. 

– Ten experienced debate coaches, faculty members, and graduate students volunteered their time to judge debates and offer feedback and advice to help students improve. 

– The event served as an opportunity to promote the new Debate Team class being offered next semester by the Rhetoric department to further institutionalize the debate team and preserve its legacy at USF. 

Attached to this message are a number of photos from the event. Please check them out!

This event received high praise from faculty members and students alike. I am incredibly grateful to everyone who helped make it happen. Special thanks to Ted Matula and Genevieve Chan, who provided logistical and material support that the tournament could not exist without. Thank you to Jacqueline Horton and the USF Speaking Center, who brought their experience to the planning process and execution of the event. Thank you to Teddy Albiniak and Alexis Litzky, debate coaches at SFSU and CCSF, for bringing students and judges to participate! 

We look forward to additional debate tournament events at USF in the future. The next Intramural Tournament for college students throughout the bay area will be held at San Francisco State on May 10. 

The USF debate team meets every week in Kalmanovitz building. Next semester, students who are interested in the debate team should register for the class and attend our first meeting! Please contact Orion Steele ( with any questions. 

Best Regards,
Orion Steele

Nov 8, 2018 – Debate Team Tournament News

The University of San Francisco debate team just returned from a tournament at CSU Northridge (in Los Angeles) and we are excited to share news of our success! We had two teams compete in novice parliamentary debate in a field of 20 competitors. 

One team, Andy Chan and Ethan Tan, won 5 out of 6 preliminary debates. They went on to win the quarterfinal round and the semifinal round. Andy and Ethan lost the final round to El Camino College, and therefore finished in SECOND place at the tournament! In addition to their success as a team, Ethan was individually rewarded with an award for 2nd Speaker!

Our other team, Monique Ray and Jehiele Luevanos, won 3 out of 6 preliminary debates. They went on to compete in the quarterfinal round and finished in 5th place overall. This tremendous achievement is underscored by the fact that it was Monique and Jehiele’s very first debate tournament. Monique also won 7th speaker overall.

I am incredibly proud of our students and I am honored to work with them. Most of all, it seems like everyone had fun and learned how to be better advocates during the trip. Our next tournament is scheduled for the beginning of December, when students will be asked to participate in a local “intramural” tournament with SFSU and CCSF.

Thanks for your support.

Orion Steele