UCLA Speech & Debate

Welcome to UCLA Debate 

Home of the 9-Time National Debate Champion Bruins 


 Bunche 1221

 Tuesday & Thursday 6:00 PM


 Thomas Miller: Director of Forensics, Department of Communication

profmiller@speech.ucla.edu 310-267-5344 


Drew Latimer, Coach

dlatimer@ucla.edu | 336-380-6716

Nish Selvalingam, Coach

nishselvalingam@gmail.com | 424-354-7567

Ian Greer, Coach

ian.greer88@gmail.com | 714-580-4876

Esther Lu, Co-Captain

estherylu21@gmail.com | 630-946-8396

Nikhil Idiculla, Co-Captain

ntidiculla@ucla.edu | 424-355-6173

Below is some information about the team and what we do.

Joining the team
: There are no try-outs; anyone can join the team and participate to the extent that they want to. Whether your goal is to be competitive on the national circuit, or to simply learn the basics of debate and compete at a local tournament, you are welcome here. Your expected commitment increases with your level of tournament participation: debaters who want to travel to tournaments will be expected to attend practice regularly, put in work outside of our scheduled practices, and contribute to team research. Additionally, for the more expensive tournaments, you will also be required to be competitive at that level of difficulty (i.e., we won’t take people to the national tournament who don’t have a serious chance of breaking to out-rounds).


Format of debate: 
 We compete in a style of parliamentary debate called “BP/WUDC debate” (British Parliamentary or World University Debating Championship debate). In this format, debaters compete on teams of two. Resolutions change every round, and teams are given limited time (about 15 minutes) to prepare their arguments, without the help of Internet resources. The only thing allowed into the round is what the debaters can write themselves during prep time—there are no evidence cards or pre-written positions. In BP, four teams, two arguing for the resolution and two arguing against, debate in front of a panel of judges, which will then determine the ranking of the teams, 1-4. The BP style of debate focuses on persuasion, logical reasoning, and is a more conversational style of debate.

Also, don’t worry about partnerships. Nearly all-new members, and some returning ones, won’t have partners yet. We generally try out different potential teams to see what works.


Other events and debate formats
: Because of our limited resources we unfortunately do not compete in alternative styles of debate or individual events at this time.


We attend mostly weekend tournaments hosted locally by other schools. Many are nearby (Ex: Claremont, Loyola, and Moorpark), while some others are further away and will require overnight trips (Ex: Pt. Loma in San Diego and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo). When funding is available, we take a limited number of students to the BP National Championship tournament.

Our goal is to compete against the best schools in the nation.  To see a video of the BP final round for the past eight years click here. National champions in BP for the past eight years have been: Harvard, Tufts, Yale, Bates, Yale, Dublin, Harvard and Claremont, respectively. A list of the tournaments that we will likely attend is available on the Facebook website and below.

Travel Schedule 2018-2019


Unless otherwise specified, we meet twice per week, on Tuesday and Thursday evenings, at 6 pm in Bunche 1221. Generally, we do drills, topic analysis, and run a practice round during our meetings. We also sometimes hold special practices at other times in the week when preparing for tournaments. Outside of practice, members do additional work during the week: research, writing cases, and re-doing speeches. Although you should come to practice and contribute regularly if you intend to compete in tournaments, there is no strict attendance requirement. If you have a midterm the next morning, skipping a practice is understandable, even encouraged—you should not put debate above academics, and will not be expected to.


Facebook group: 
The primary means by which the team communicates is our Facebook page. The group is called "The UCLA Debate Union," and if you request to join one of us will confirm you. Important announcements and discussions happen on this page, so I highly encourage you to join. If you do not use Facebook but want to be on the team, consider creating a mock profile just to access the page, as there’s no easier way to keep you up-to-date with the daily news articles and announcements.


Instructional Resources:  In addition to the communication studies instructional courses (Comm 102, 103, and 104) and the regular team meetings on Tuesday and Thursday, there are over 800 different videos available on every aspect of debate.  You will find the link at the bottom of the first page of Debate Videos.  They are:

Training:  Here you will find ‘How-to’ lectures for BP style debate arranged for Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced students.

Debates:  Here you can watch final debate rounds on topics ranging from Abortions to the War on Terror.  They are arranged alphabetically by subject, with each debate running approximately one hour.  Watching these debates will help inform you on the topic and help your note-taking ability.

Topics:   Here are lectures on how-to-debate
 certain topics.  Each video discusses what the ‘pro’ and ‘con’ sides are for numerous public policy questions, from the Arab Spring to Zionism.  These lectures, too, are arranged alphabetically.

Flashpoint:  Here are half-hour programs of the director of forensics and three students discussing pressing issues of the day. These videos are designed for a general audience and are highly informative.

America’s Cup:  A one-day tournament held before BP nationals each year.  16 teams from around the nation (including some coaches and TA’s) are chosen and debate one seeding round, quarters, semi and then a grand final round.  The winner receives the AMERICA’S CUP and will be ask to defend it the following year.  Topics are on pertinent public policy questions.

BP/USU Final Rounds:  The best four teams in the nation debate a question at the end of the national tournament each year.  This is an opportunity for you to see the best of the best go up against each other.


Other questions: 
Feel free to contact Professor Miller, Drew, Nish, Esther, Nikhil or returning team members with any questions.


For more pictures, click here!