Claremont McKenna College participates in the Debate Union, a joint intercollegiate debate program with the other undergraduate Claremont Colleges. All Claremont students are invited to participate in one or more of the programs of the Debate Union - no prior experience is necessary. The Debate Union prepares students for enriching professional careers, engaging graduate study, and effective leadership. Students develop sophisticated public speaking, listening, argumentation and refutation skills. The Debate Union is the largest college debate society and among the most successful. There are four major program elements—national and international intercollegiate competition, public debate and discussion, professional communication experience, and educational outreach.
Students in the program have won major national and international tournaments, four national championships, and placed in the top ten in the nation for 18 years. The Debate Union schedules major public events annually, including live and broadcast debates, panel discussions, and town hall meetings. In professional programs, students have received training and financial support for participation in academic conferences and instructional workshops throughout Europe, China, Korea, South Africa, and the United States. Among its outreach programs, including higher education debate promotion and international cultural exchange projects, the Debate Union manages the nation’s fastest growing educational enrichment community service endeavor—the Middle School Public Debate Program (MSPDP). More than 25,000 students and teachers participate in MSPDP leagues and classroom activities—members of the Debate Union provide curricular and administrative support.
Although Claremont McKenna College does not offer a major in speech, CMC offers a course in debate and argumentation. A number of other courses, which are part of or related to a speech program, are listed under other disciplines, such as government, philosophy (logic), and psychology.
Primary Contact: John Meany, Program Coordinator