Harry C. Behler Debate Society


Debate, one of Colgate’s most enduring extracurricular activities spanning generations of Colgate students, offers you training and practical experience in advocacy, issue analysis, and public speech. Its competitive speaking activities will enable you to solidify your own stance while questioning and rebutting others. As a debater you will use the spoken word to advance and defend diverse points of view while improving your persuasive skills. You will win debates. You will lose debates. But, no matter what, you will gain valuable experience, improve your speaking skills, and form lasting friendships with your fellow Colgate debaters. You will also have opportunities to develop your leadership skills by serving as an elected member of the Harry C. Behler Debate Society’s Executive Board.

We have a longstanding tradition of teamwork. Our members work together and help each other become better debaters.  For example, experienced debaters and new debaters team up together to compete and judge at regional tournaments. In fact, some of Colgate’s best debaters joined the Harry C. Behler Debate Society with no experience in public speaking or debating.


Here's where it all began!
British Parliament: Where it all began!

We compete in the British Parliamentary style of debate. Competitive travel occurs throughout the academic year to a variety of locations, with past destinations including Canada, England, New England, Oregon, California, Malaysia, Ireland, Thailand, Turkey, and Botswana.

Recently, we competed in the 2015 Worlds Universities Debating Championship (WUDC) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. We also compete annually in invitational tournaments at Oxford University and Cambridge University. During the 2015-16 academic year, in addition to competing in regional tournaments, and competing at Oxford and Cambridge, our travels will include the Thessaloniki, Greece 2016 WUDC. In 2017 we will travel to the Netherlands to compete in the WUDC. In addition, every year we host the Colgate Invitational Debate Tournament and the British National Debate Team Showcase Debate!

About our name

Harry C. Behler was a beloved faculty member and debate coach at Colgate University for many years. As a tribute, the Debate Society bears his name.

Join Here: Get Involved!

Contact: Alex Taylor Debate Society President

Debate Videos: CSU Vimeo

ContactColgate Speaking Union for information about other clubs involved in extracurricular competitive speaking activities.

Visit: www.colgate.edu/csu

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