Debate and Mock Trial at Macalester

Macalester has a long and storied tradition in intercollegiate forensics. Our first intercollegiate debate took place on April 7, 1911. While our story began with a 2-1 loss to St. Olaf College, it did not take Macalester debaters very long to develop a reputation as one of the best forensics programs around. Over the course of the last 107 years, Macalester students have won national titles in events ranging from extemporaneous speaking and oratory to debate and mock trial. Today, our co-curricular forensics program provides a wide variety of opportunities for students to improve their skills in the core liberal arts disciplines of rhetoric, logic, and argumentation.

The Macalester Debating Union is designed to serve a broad range of students: those who wish to make intercollegiate competition a central part of their college experience as well as those who want to make improving their public speaking skills just one of the many tasks that they hope to accomplish during their time at Macalester. For both groups, the Macalester Debate Union provides a place where those needs can be met.

The Macalester Debate Union offers an extensive schedule of tournament competitions. Our students compete in mock trial tournaments using the case materials provided by the American Mock Trial Association, participate in the Ethics Bowl, a competition sponsored by the Association for Professional and Practical Ethics, and also take part in the national Bioethics Bowl competition. The program also serves as the home for Macalester’s internationally-recognized Model United Nations program.

These “varsity sports of the mind” are both challenging and enjoyable. The Macalester Debate Union is open to all interested students. While we encourage those with considerable high school experience to join our ranks, we are also open to those who have never competed before.