UMKC Team Spotlight: Debate

UMKC Debate Coach and competitor, Yasmeen Hanon. Photo courtesy of LinkedIn.

Zach Gunter, Staff Writer

  UMKC Debate coach and competitor, Yasmeen Hanon, brought the club back after nearly 2 years of being absent from campus. 

  “I had a lot of experience in high school with speech and debate,” said Hanon. “I thought I could take my expertise and use it to re-establish the team.”

  On May 29, 2020, the UMKC Debate Facebook page put out a post outlining that the university was discontinuing the team. While they made no comments on the matter at the time, the discontinuation may have been linked to budget cuts caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

  The new team has differences from the old one. The team meets and competes over Zoom, rather than in person. Hanon believes this is better for the university environment. 

  “What I really enjoy about this format is that it’s more hands-off,” Hanon said. It allows students to work at their own pace, to go to the tournaments they want to go to, and encourages an environment of self-learning and self-sustainability.” 

  This “at your own pace” style applies to all aspects of the organization. There are no official meeting days or times for the team. In Hanon’s words, “I’m an “on-call” coach.”

  Hanon’s former high school coach, Amanda Dolinger, said debate has been a passion and talent of Hanon’s since middle school.

  “Her dedication at 14 brought me to tears then and that dedication has grown leaps and bounds, as has my admiration,” Dolinger said. “Her confidence has soared and watching her grow into a young woman who is capable and proud to speak her mind makes me unbelievably proud.”

  Students do not have to be affiliated with any specific school within the university to join the team.

  For more information on the team, contact Coach Yasmeen Hanon at [email protected].

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