Frequently Asked Questions

​​​​General Questions

What is the NYU CEDA policy debate team?

CEDA stands for Cross Examination Debate Association. CEDA is the largest, evidenced-based intercollegiate debate organization in the world.   Policy debate requires an affirmative to advocate an action on an issue of current controversy and defend its advantages against the negative team. Schools send numerous pairs of students to tournaments to debate against pairs of students from other schools on a topic voted on by all the colleges annually.

Are there any special advantages to being on the debate team?

SKILLS: Debate teaches you problem solving, critical thinking, research skills and information filtering.   You can use it to become more persuasive through rebuttals, more insightful through cross-ex and more reflective through evaluating evidence. Over the last six years, the team GPA has averaged 3.55. 

CASH: The team covers your registration, accommodations and travel.  Essentially, NYU pays thousands for you to travel, see the country and meet some of the smartest college students around. Team members have the inside track to win a share of $30,000 of tuition awards available in the Global Debates.  

RECOGNITION:  If you have over 60 credits, you can be named a National Debate Scholar.  Finally, you have a chance to win TWO national championships and be named to the Debate All-American squad.

COMMUNITY SERVICE:  We work with the law firm Brewer Attorneys LLC to host the International Public Policy Forum (IPPF), a competition for high school students in 42 states and 30 countries.   Students serve as ambassadors, judges, guides and other key roles during the prestigious event. Separately, our debaters will also do demo debates and public debates on campus, help out area middle school and high school debate programs and work with international programs on a case-by-case basis.

Tournament Questions:

How do we get to tournaments?

Depending on the start time, the squad leaves together on Friday morning or Friday evening and travels to the tournament. For East coast tournaments, we travel by bus, car or van. For national tournaments, we fly. We stay until our judging commitments are fulfilled, our last team is eliminated or we win the tournament on Sunday and return home late Sunday evening. NYU pays for shared lodging transportation and registration fees. At some tournaments, meals are included.

How does a college debate tournament work?

A tournament is held on a weekend in either a 3-day format (Fri-Sun, Sat-Mon.) or 2-day format (Sat-Sun).  Tournaments charge fees ranging from $100-$350/per two person team to compete.   Once you sign up, NYU will pay these fees.   Tournaments are organized into divisions: open (very experienced debaters), junior varsity (debaters with extensive high school experience or some college experience), and novice (debaters with minimal experience).  There are 21 competitions on the calendar for the year (11 regional, 10 national).  However, we only expect active members to attend 3-4 tournaments in the fall and another 3-4 tournaments in the spring. IF YOU COMMIT TO A TOURNAMENT, YOU MUST GO. The entire annual schedule is available to committed team members on our Dropbox.  

How do we prepare ourselves to compete against other teams?

Already, the returning team members and coaches have prepared lots of evidence as well as strategies for all the major topic approaches. Your job is to focus on learning HOW to debate in college, contribute to organizing the evidence and familiarize themselves with the material. Once that’s complete, the rest of the semester is spent fine tuning those arguments and preparing strategies against specific positions developed by our opponents.

Logistical Questions:

How do I join? Do I need to try out?

Stop in at a Wednesday night meeting at 8:30pm in the Kimmel Center on the 9th floor.  Each year, we have some open slots available for people who want to join and can commit early.  We will interview students for those slots.  Others may join after that but may have to try out or demonstrate proof of their work ethic.

How do I get paired with a partner?

Most interview with other experienced debaters and choose partners. Also, you can bring a friend and become partners or be partnered by the coaches if all else fails.

What would my time commitment be as a member of the debate team?

In September and October, when you are learning and first competing, the average will be 3.5 hrs/wk. Outside of going to tournaments, your time may be spent finding evidence, doing speech drills, redoing speeches, and doing practice rounds.