Wayne State University Speech & Debate Teams

A Motor City Tradition Since 1918

Beginning in 1918, the Wayne State forensics program has produced hundreds of team and individual debate and speech champions. Our students have won the National Delta Sigma Rho-Tau Kappa Alpha Championship eight times, placed first at the National Forensics Association (NFA) Championship, placed second at the National Debate Tournament (NDT) twice and won the NDT top speaker award, won the American Debate Association national championship, placed among the top 10 at the NFA and National Individual Events Tournament and have won virtually every major national debate tournament at least once. Debate and speech team activities provide students with rigorous training and opportunities to sharpen speaking and critical thinking skills. In addition, we provide a great amount of outreach to local middle school and high school forensics programs and campus critical thinking activities.

If you are a Wayne State student or are considering joining the team, read on and e-mail us soon or stop by the 5th floor of Manoogian Hall! If you are visiting our page from another team, welcome! The Wayne State University forensics program has established a long tradition of competition in both team policy debate and individual events.

We are supported by and housed in the Wayne State Department of Communication,the College of Fine, Performing and Communication Arts (CFPCA) and the Office of the President.

Speech & Debate teams and the WSU University Mission

Our teams fulfill the Wayne State University mission, to "create and advance knowledge, prepare a diverse student body to thrive, and positively impact local and global communities," by….

Creating and advancing knowledge by conducting vast amounts of research to create hundreds of arguments about numerous contemporary political and social issues. Over the course of a season, a speech and debate team will produce more research than a PhD dissertation. Our undergraduate students supplement and extend much of their classroom learning by advancing that knowledge in competition and then bring back to the classroom what they learned in competition against some of the best students from other universities. Thus, we develop knowledge, take it out into the world, test those ideas, and return to the classroom and squad room to refine our ideas to test them again at the next competition.

Preparing a diverse student body to thrive by recruiting and supporting diverse students to attend Wayne State. Our teams are populated by a diverse set of students of different genders, ethnicities and races, religions, socio-economic statuses, and sexual orientations.

We also promote diversity and positively impact local populations by bringing hundreds of high school students to our campus to train them in argumentation and debate and persuasion. For instance, we host the Detroit Urban Debate League, which instructs DPS and Charter school students in argumentation and debate. We also host summer debate institutes to future train these students.

Due to our almost 60 years of debate and speech excellence, we impact our local community by being widely recognized as a vital hub of support for college and high school debate activities in the state of Michigan and the country. Further, our graduate assistant coaches have left WSU to become successful coaches at colleges and high schools around the nation. Lastly, we host events that promote campus debate and dialogue. For instance, on September 26 at 8:30 pm at the Student Center Ballroom, we are hosting a presidential debate watch that is open to the entire campus community. 

Thus, we believe the many activities we support and hundreds of students that we host and train each year support the university mission in many ways.