Debate Team

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Rhetoric for Social Justice

Developing leaders through experiential education, competitive and non-competitive activities, and civic engagement.

  • Become a part of a team of outstanding students and compete in intercollegiate debate against the top University programs in the nation.
  • Engage in advocacy about social justice, government policy, philosophy, socio-economics, and much more. 
  • Take Rhetoric 298, “Practicum in Debate,” and earn up to 16 units towards your degree.  
  • Travel to locations steeped in history and tied to event topics and themes. 
  • Lead dynamic campus events.
  • Collaborate with diverse individuals and become a thought leader. 
  • Develop empathy, worldliness, and eloquence as you grow as a scholar and speaker.
  • Be inspired by an extracurricular that law and grad schools look for.

No experience required!

Contact: Robert R. Boller, Ed.D. Director of Debate -


Debate has traditionally been a leading progressive community in promoting diversity and inclusion. At USF, this tradition persists and is reflected in our activities.  

Competitive events:

  • Civic Debate Conference
  • Northern California Forensics Association
  • World Universities Debating Championship (British Parliamentary)
  • National Parliamentary Debate

On Campus:

  • St. Ignatius Dialogues Civic Debate Tournament
  • Diversity in Campus Policing Forum
  • Open campus debates 


Our Values 

Discernment is at the heart of Ignatian spirituality. Discernment is when you are pondering a difficult choice and there is a vacillation between reason and emotion, between logos and pathos.  Calm and respectful debate, free from hostility and ego, is akin to discernment. We reject the “debate as war” metaphor. We believe debate is a collaborative public dance of discernment.  

Cura Personalis
Cura Personalis is defined as: “Care for the whole person.” Our talents, health, hearts, faith, and minds are all equally worthy of care and attention. USF Debate is where we integrate these qualities and learn how to argue for the values that complement the intellect. We seek to develop the whole person through competitiveness and cooperation, so we can be advocates for change.

Eloquentia Perfecta
We strive to be eloquent when communicating our values to change the world to be more just, inclusive, and supportive in the constructive clash of diverse points of view. We seek to “Change the World From Here.”


We’re a team of open-minded individuals that encourage diverse opinions” -  Nandika Murugavel, Business


Students are excited about the debate team, I think in the coming years, this is gonna be a big part of USF.” - Liv Harrington, Architecture 


Debate is excellent preparation for the real world. College students learn to analyze the pressing social, economic, environmental, and humanitarian issues that face our generation by considering diverse perspectives.” - Ambra Jacobson, Environmental Science


USF Debate offers a platform to diverse perspectives in an inclusive environment to create modern solutions towards a more equitable world” - Alana Beltran-Balagso, Politics