Great debates: Students from around the country match wits and words in national forensics competition at Eastern Michigan University April 18-21

by Geoff Larcom, Published April 16, 2014

YPSILANTI – Ladies and gentleman, start your arguments.

More than 1,000 students from about 100 college and universities around the country will compete April 18-21 in the National Forensic Association Competition, to be held at Eastern Michigan University.

"We are excited and proud to play host to the national championships in a sport that has enjoyed great success and tradition at EMU," said Nick Romerhausen, a professor of communications and director of forensics at Eastern. "We finished fourth in the country last year, and hope to bring more national awards to the University while speaking on our own campus."

The opening ceremony will be held at EMU's Pease Auditorium at 8 a.m. Friday morning, and preliminary competition will be Friday through Sunday in the EMU Student Center, McKenney Hall, the Science Complex and the Pray Harrold classroom building.  All information on observing can be obtained at the tournament information center in the Student Center's South Lobby. The quarterfinals, semifinals and finals will be held Monday, April 21 in the Student Center.

The National Forensic Association sponsors the national championship tournament for both individual event speaking and the Lincoln-Douglas debate. The tournament covers four to five days, and championships are awarded in ten individual events and Lincoln-Douglas debate. Team awards are given in several divisions, based on the size of each school. The event will be headquartered at the EMU Student Center.

The Lincoln-Douglas debate on the intercollegiate level is a one-on-one policy debate. The debate format is named after the Lincoln-Douglas Debates of 1858, which were a series of seven debates between Abraham Lincoln, the Republican candidate for the Senate in Illinois, and Senator Stephen Douglas, the Democratic Party candidate.

Last year, EMU’s forensics team finished fourth in team sweepstakes overall at the National Forensic Association Competition, held in April at Marshall University in West Virginia. Bradley University, located in Peoria, Ill, won the 2013 national championship. For more information on this year's national tournament, see

Patrick Seick, a junior at Eastern placed second in the nation in After Dinner Speaking, fourth in the nation in Impromptu Speaking and fifth in Extemporaneous Speaking.

One definition of forensics is "the quest for truth." The term is commonly associated with police and crime television dramas. Competitors in forensics also seek truth, doing so through communication and performance. Whether persuading an audience that legal reform is needed or exploring the emotional truths of the human experience, competitors seek to give an audience a greater understanding of our world and our place within it.

The National Forensic Association is an academic association dedicated to providing leadership in intercollegiate speech and debate education in the United States. The NFA sponsors the annual collegiate national championship. 

EMU Forensics began a tradition of success with its first national championship in 1973. Nationally, the forensics team has placed in the top 10 for more than 40 years, and has won over 35 Michigan State Team championships. Please visit the Forensics homepage for more information.

Geoff Larcom


Make a Gift
  • facebook
  • twitter
  • youtube
  • linked in
  • Blog EMU
  • EMU app