News and Events
9th Annual Ray Buchanan Invitational Debate
Pepperdine University hosted the 9th Annual Ray Buchanan Invitational Debate Tournament Oct. 20 through Oct. 22 on the Seaver College campus.
Named after a retired communications professor, the tournament is a long-standing Pepperdine tradition with a reputation for bringing together the most prestigious schools across the country. 82 different teams attended the tournament representing numerous universities, including Cal Berkeley, Stanford, University of Iowa, Whitman College, CSU Fullerton, Gonzaga University, CSU Northridge, Idaho State, University of Puget Sound, University of Texas at Austin, University of Texas at San Antonio, Weber State University, CSU Sacramento, CSU Northridge, CSU Long Beach, and more. The tournament is reputed to be one of the largest in the western United States.
The debate structure involved two, two-person teams engaged in discussion with a critic in the back of the room who evaluated the students’ arguments and presentations. Two varsity policy debate teams from Pepperdine competed in this year’s tournament. The teams were composed of last year's octofinalist, junior Michael Wang partnered with freshman Carina Yagheszian, as well as junior Stevie Seibert partnered with freshman Elizabeth Limbeck. Last year’s overall winner, Whitman College, returned to defend its title.
This year participants debated the overturning of United States Supreme Court decisions and focused on four controversial decisions in particular: U.S. v. Morrison, which addressed the violence against women act; Milliken v. Bradley, which addressed forced busing for desegregation purposes; Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which addressed spousal notification on abortions; and Ex Parte v. Quirin, the 1942 case which made military tribunals constitutional. In the spirit of the highlighted legal debates, this year School of Law professor Roger Alford joined the festivities to offer a keynote address at the awards ceremony on Sunday, Oct. 22.
Pepperdine has an excellent reputation in the debate community, not only for the school’s many competitive successes, but also for its continued willingness to serve the community by hosting this event.