HWS Debate Team

If you are interested in joining the Debate Team, just come to one of our meetings! Meetings are held every Monday and Thursday at 5 p.m. in Stern 103.

Contact Daniel Schonning at schonning@hws.edu for more information.

The HWS debate team competes throughout the school year at tournaments around 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 won the US national championship title!

Our team hosts two tournaments each year, a large fall event - The Fall Classic - with nearly 400 participants from across North America and a more exclusive 16-team event - The International Round Robin @HWS - bringing together the best debaters from around the world in early April.

We meet three times a week for practices where members debate with and get feedback from one another and the coaches. Members are not required to attend all three meetings to be part of the team and each practice has a different focus to help new and returning members grow. Our members also enjoy hosting on-campus debate events, social gatherings 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.


  • Advanced to the Finals in the Novice Division of the 2024 North American Universities Debating Championship in Mexico City, Mexico
  • Advanced to the Semifinals in the 2024 North American Universities Debating Championship in Mexico City, Mexico
  • Advanced to the Finals at 2024 Colgate Open Debate Championship
  • Advance to the Finals at 2024 Novice National Debating Championship at Cornell University
  • Ranked 17th overall and 4th in English as a Second Language at 2023 World University Debating Championship
  • Advanced to Semifinals at 2023 United States University Debate Championship
  • Won 1st place, advanced to finals in Rookie division at 2023 Novice Nationals at University of Rochester
  • Advanced to Semifinals of Cornell University's 2023 Campeonato Hispanohablante Interuniversitario de Debate y Oratoria
  • Advanced to the Octo-Finals of the 2022 World Championship
  • Ranked 13th at the 2021 North American Universities Debating Championship 
  • Ranked 6th at the 2022 Uhuru Worlds Panthera Division Championship 
  • Won the 2022 Vermont Debate Championship 
  • Advanced to the Novice Semifinals of the 2022 National Championship
  • Advanced to the Finals of the 2022 Western Regional Debating Championship
  • Advanced to the Finals, Novice Finals, and Novice Semifinals of the 2022 Cornell University Debating Championship 
  • Advanced to the Partial Octo-Finals of the 2021 World Championship 
  • Won the 2021 Cross Debsoc Pre-United Asian Debating Championship
  • Won the 2021 Silver Championship at the Strathclyde President’s Cup
  • Won the 2021 English as Secondary Language category at the Hart House Intervarsity Debate Competition
  • Ranked 12th at the 2021 Yale Intervarsity Debate Competition
  • Ranked 22nd at the 2021 Oxford Intervarsity Debate Competition
  • Ranked 3rd at the 2021 Singapore Management University Debating Competition
  • 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

judge results

  • Advanced to the EFL finals and Open octo-finals of the 2022 World Championship 
  • Advanced to the Grand Finals of the 2022 Hart House Intervarsity Debate Competition 
  • Advanced to the Grand Finals of the 2022 Western Intervarsity Debate Competition 
  • Advanced to the OctoFinals 2023 North American Universities Debating Championship


Watch the HWS Round Robin on YouTube

  • 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.
  • Debaters from six continents and more than 20 countries participated in the 2024 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.