Debate now or forever hold your peace: Speech club created at CSU


CSU’s new Speech and Debate Union, established in September, is eager to welcome new members –– students who revel in arguments and gawk at presidential debates.


“We started the Debate Union at CSU because we had a sincere belief that an institution as great and prestigious as our school needed a team,” said Ian Ingraham, the group’s president. “Moreover, our belief in the value of speech and debate led us to believe our fellow students could benefit from the establishment of our union.”

Rather than focus on the more traditional policy debate, the union places an emphasis on parliamentary debate.

The union focuses on parliamentary debate rather than the more traditional policy debate.

The style doesn’t allow for written evidence during a competition, unlike other forms of debate, forcing debaters to rely on their own knowledge to contrive compelling arguments on the spot.

Team meetings run every Tuesday from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. at the Spring Creek Room in the Lory Student Center. Meetings will consist of debate practice rounds and discussions on debate theory to give students a better grasp on the fundamentals of argumentation.

The team plans on participating in four local tournaments this semester.

The group covers topics from affirmative action to American involvement in Syria.

“To anyone considering a degree in law, public speaking, business, or high level corporate enterprises, all will in some way require a degree of public speaking along with critical thinking that I feel no club or activity offers such as debate,” Ingraham said.

The team is open to students of all skill levels. Debate coach Carl Wangsvick has 25 years of coaching experience at Fort Collins high schools and has sent many of his students to national competitions.

“Out of any of the activities students may participate in at CSU, debate certainly offers distinct advantages that other clubs may not offer,” Ingraham said.


Wangsvick has high hopes for the Speech and Debate Union despite the fact that this is the team’s first year.

“Given that there is commitment to the activity and that CSU will be in local, not national competition for a while, and that CSU looks to have some people experienced at the national level both in competing and in coaching, I expect good results,” Wangsvick said.

Wangsvick added that those students with experience can do well to start and the rest will improve a lot by the end of the term.

“There are no downsides to debating, win or lose,” Wangsvick said.

Collegian Writer Alex Beyer can be reached at