College of Arts & Sciences Communication Studies

Speech and Debate Team

USD Speech and Debate participates in parliamentary debate and all 11 American Forensic Association (AFA) individual events, including impromptu speaking, informative speaking, prose interpretation, dramatic duo, extemporaneous speaking, persuasive speaking, program oral interpretation, after dinner speaking, communication analysis, drama interpretation, and poetry interpretation. Descriptions of AFA speaking events can be found on the Organization's Website.    

Parliamentary Debate

Parliamentary debate was created as a reaction to the esoteric excesses of traditional policy debate. With minimal preparation time, two-person teams use their innate knowledge to argue a different prompt in each round. The structure and general rules for parliamentary debate are provided on the National Parliamentary Debate Association's website.   

Parliamentary debates can concern policy, value, or factual propositions. In our region (MN, NE, SD, ND, & WY), the most successful parliamentary debaters excel at their college coursework and dedicate about 10 hours per week to practice and additional study (e.g., in current events, philosophy, history, etc.). Parliamentary debate is most similar to public forum. By design, parliamentary debate is intended to be adjudicated and enjoyed by intelligent but general audiences.   

The USD Speech and Debate Team will travel to about 3 tournaments in the fall semester and 2 tournaments in the spring semester. All tournaments are located in SD or in surrounding states. None will require more than a single overnight stay.