Rutgers University-Newark Debate Team

The Rutgers-Newark Debate Team, founded in 2008, is sponsored by the School of Public Affairs and Administration and the Office of the Chancellor. The team is open to undergraduate students at the university.

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Join the Rutgers-Newark Debate Team

The Rutgers-Newark Debate Team is looking for few good men and women to become the newest group of spirited debaters.
While there are a host of reasons you should accept this invitation, here are just a few for your consideration.

Participation on the debate team:

  • Improves grade point averages
  • Improves listening and note-taking skills
  • Improves reading skills
  • Improves oral communication skills (e.g., analysis, delivery, organization, and overall public speaking competency)
  • Enhances critical thinking skills
  • Improves researching skills
  • Improves knowledge of the social sciences
  • Transfers teachers into coaches, a perspective that encourages mentoring
  • Provides leadership training
  • Looks great on your resume

Many top attorneys, business executives, physicians, engineers, and elected officials were debaters, and for good reason. The power to persuade is highly respected, and there is no better way to master this art than through debate. Most notable examples of leaders with debate experience include Samuel Alito, Tom Brokaw, Jackson Browne, Jilly Carter, Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Johnny Cochran, Harry Connick Jr., Phil Gramm, Lee Iacocca, Barbara Jordan, John F. Kennedy, Nelson Mandela, Richard Nixon, Brad Pitt, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Karl Rove, Antonin Scalia, Sonia Sotomayor, Margaret Thatcher, Ted Turner, and Oprah Winfrey.

The thrill of competition, camaraderie of teammates, and travel opportunities make debate lots of fun!

Debate Format

Policy Debate
Policy debate is a form of research-based speech competition in which teams of two advocate for and against a resolution that typically calls for policy change by the United States federal government; it is for this reason that this debate is unique to the United States. It is also referred to as cross-examination debate (sometimes shortened to Cross-X, CX, or C-X) because of the 3-minute questioning period following each constructive speech. Affirmative teams generally present a plan as a proposal for implementation of the resolution.

In all forms of policy debate the order of speeches is as follows:

  • First Affirmative Constructive (1AC)
  • Cross-examination of First Affirmative by Second Negative
  • First Negative Constructive (1NC)
  • Cross-examination of First Negative by First Affirmative
  • Second Affirmative Constructive (2AC)
  • Cross-examination of Second Affirmative by First Negative
  • Second Negative Constructive (2NC)
  • Cross-examination of Second Negative by Second Affirmative
  • First Negative Rebuttal (1NR)
  • First Affirmative Rebuttal (1AR)
  • Second Negative Rebuttal (2NR)
  • Second Affirmative Rebuttal (2AR)

In high school, all constructive speeches are 8 minutes long and rebuttal speeches are 4 or 5 minutes; in college they are 9 and 6 minutes long respectively. All cross-examination periods are 3 minutes long in high school and in college.

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