UMKC debate team returns after 2-year disbandment

UMKC Debate is officially back after two years of disbandment. (UMKC Debate)

Alivia Meyers

After nearly two years of absence, UMKC has officially welcomed back its debate team.

UMKC freshman Yasmeen Hanon helped revive the team because she believed there were students that were passionate enough about speech and debate to get the organization operating again.

“Debate, speech and public speaking are so ingrained into who I am, my life, and my passions that I simply could not stay away,” Hanon said. “I have been doing speech and debate for about six years and would love to continue to have the experiences it brings in my life.”

The team initially disbanded on May 29, 2020, when the UMKC debate team Facebook page sent out an update regarding the discontinuation of the team.

“We were informed yesterday that the University is discontinuing the Debate Team at UMKC,” the Facebook post said. “It also potentially marks the end to a profound legacy of competitive success and community involvement and leadership.”

Now, Hanon and others are working to bring back the team. Double majoring in political science and environmental science, Hanon serves as both the secretary and the coach of the debate team. 

“I am responsible for arranging meetings and other housekeeping tasks,” Hanon said. “I also coach the team on how to perform certain debate styles and have broken down the differences in each style/method.”

Although the debate team has reformed under the same name as in previous years, there have been some changes to the overall style and execution of the competitions.

Kaitlin Torres, a freshman majoring in political science, said the most notable difference is the style of debate, aside from some of the more obvious changes as a result of the pandemic.

“The major change is that we’re now doing parliamentary debate as opposed to formerly being a policy debate team,” Torres said. “It is a different format of debate that we’re learning along the way.”

Along with Hanon, Torres is an executive member of the debate team and serves as the team’s treasurer.

As the debate team continues to gain traction, they are still in the midst of searching for new, passionate members to join.

According to the team’s RooGroups profile, membership is open for all students who are currently enrolled at UMKC.

“It’s an experience that I would recommend for all,” Hanon said. “The significance it holds over our lives is what has driven us to continue and to make a space that allows us to do so.”

For more information on UMKC’s debate team, visit

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