See our new website at: 

Many people separate intellectual life from practical actions and "take refuge in theory and think that they are becoming philosophers and will become good in this way, behaving somewhat like patients who listen attentively to their doctors, but do none of the things they are ordered to do. As the latter will not be made well in body by such a course of treatment, the former will not be made well in soul by such a course of philosophy."

-Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, Book II, Chapter 4


September 2013: The League was mentioned on NPR's affiliate WWNO as facilitating Philip Razem's greatest accomplishment as a teacher at Martin Behrman Middle School:

"The number one greatest success I’ve had in New Orleans is the Martin Behrman debate team. At Tulane University, four times a year we meet with 10, 12, 15 other middle schools and we talk about complicated issues that a middle schooler would never touch in a classroom, because it would never be on a test, ever. They talk about things that I think most adults in America can’t discuss at length. Last year we had a topic on the Electoral College. How many Americans can really tell you exactly what the Electoral College is?"

The Times-Picayune:

NPR affiliate WWNO:

Program Description:

The Tulane Debate Society was founded in 2009 to build on the work of Tulane students in Ryan McBride's classical rhetoric course, "Aristotle in New Orleans." Tulane Students coach at five local middle schools where over 95% of the students qualify for assisted lunch. Additionally, the Debate Society has launched a thriving citywide debate league that provides debaters an exciting and challenging venue for testing their skills. The Debate Society hosts four citywide tournaments every year. Students in the Debate Society organize almost every aspect of the tournaments, including judge training, tabulation and trophy distribution. Every sixth to eighth grader in the New Orleans area is invited to participate in our tournaments and the Debate Society holds regular training workshops for local teachers interested in starting their own debate teams.


Prior to the founding of the Debate Society, there was no formal middle school debate in New Orleans. Currently, well over one hundred students from fourteen local middle schools regularly compete in our tournaments. And the number of participating students and schools increases every year. Over two hundred and fifty Tulane students have coached, judged, or organized tournaments with the Debate Society. 



  • Kwame Anthony Appiah, Laurence S. Rockefeller Professor of Philosophy at Princeton University, awarded the Tulane Debate Society an American Philosophical Association grant.
  • The Middle School Public Debate Program is currently using our project here at Tulane University as a model as they work to start similar debate projects at universities across the country.
  • Mayor Mitch Landrieu and Mayor C. Ray Nagin have both honored Ryan McBride, the program’s founder and director, for working with teachers, principals, middle school students and Tulane students to establish a citywide debate league in New Orleans.

School of Liberal ArtsFinal Tulane Logo Horizontal.jpg


2013-2014 Tournaments
Saturday, October 26th from 8:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at Andrew Wilson Middle School, 3617 General Pershing St. 

Saturday, November 23rd at Tulane University in 117 Richardson Building and in the buldings around the Gibson Quad.

2012-2013 Tournaments: 

October 20th from 8:15 to 4:00 p.m. at John Dibert Community School, 4217 Orleans Ave.
November 17th from 8:15 to 4:00 p.m. on the second floor of Tulane University's Lavin-Bernick Center
March 9th from 8:00 to 3:30 at Lafayette Academy Charter School
April 27th from 8:00 to 4:00 at Tulane University's Gibson Quad 

2011-2012 Tournaments:

October 22nd, from 8:15 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at Lusher Charter School
November 19th, from 8:15 am to 4:30 pm at Tulane University's Lavin-Bernick Center
March 24th at Sophie B. Wright Charter School from 8:15-4:00 p.m.
April 28th at Tulane University's Lavin-Bernick Center from 8:15- 4:00 p.m.

2010-2011 Debate Tournaments: 
October 23rd, from 8:30 am to 4:15 pm at Lafayette Academy Charter School
November 20th, from 8:30 am to 4:15 pm at Tulane University's Lavin-Bernick Center
March 19th, from 8:30-3:30 at Benjamin Banneker School
April 9th, from 8:30 am to 4:15 pm at Tulane University's Lavin-Bernick Center

Listen to an actual debate from the citywide middle school debate tournament at Tulane University, April 9, 2011:
Topic: Rap music does more harm than good.

Sophie B Wright vs. Audubon.mp3

Notes from our most recent meeting:

Meet every Tuesday at 5 in Norman Mayer 200c

Individual Projects: 

Beau - Banneker liaison 
Jeff - Sophie B. liaison, Video and documentation for SBW/Debates 
Harry - Lafayette liaison, Einstein Charter School Project 
Jessie L. - PR: Radio station, etc. getting the word out 
Billy - High school debate team at Sophie B. (meeting with McBride and Jeffrey thursday) 
Natalia - future plans (high school and college, scholarship opportunities) 
Caroline - Future plans at Tulane/Loyola - College Day at Tulane 
Chris - Incorporating debate idea/future into 
Jessica- 501C3 Proposal, nonprofit, eligible for grants, Presentation for Pros and Cons 
Jessie F. - Newsletter, 501C3 
Danielle - guide booklet for middle school students 
Casi - Documentary, short clip for website, Taking individual interviews of debaters 
Mike - 6 judges for next debate,  Spread the word about judges needed. [according to middle school debate league, in order for our debate society to become a league, each school must provide one judge for every six students] 

An Aristotle in New Orleans

Class Project

(Note: these are not the rules used in the middle school debates. They are an attempt to collaboratively extrapolate the rules used in the ancient Academy and Lyceum as described by Aristotle in the eighth book of his Topics. College students taking this course use this exercise to discuss the nature of ancient dialectic as well as larger issues of rationality and logic.)

Dialectical Contest Rules Collaboratively Extrapolated from Aristotle's Topics by the 12:30 Class and by the 9:30 Class. Just click on the time your class meets and begin working on your class page.


You can learn to use this editing program in less than 10 minutes by watching the first three of these very simple and helpful instructional videos:

Guest Book:

Posted by Jennabel on
Hey, good to find seomone who agrees with me. GMTA.
Posted by Danielle on
Hi there!

Just wondering if Tulane takes part in the annual World University Debating Championship (this year in Berlin)
Posted by jwimmer on
A late reply to the above: Tulane has not in the past, and probably won't have the infrastructure in place to do so for at least a few years. Tulane currently doesn't have a Parliamentary debate team, for one. Tulane's debate team focuses on IPDA at the moment, but plans on branching out once we become more established. However, to add to the confusion, the Tulane Debate Society (what this site is dedicated to) and the Tulane Debate Team are separate.

If you would like to talk to someone on the Tulane Debate Team about anything, you should email Lance Tran (his email is in the sidebar). He is the president of the Debate Team at Tulane. In case you do not see this reply, I will send you an email.

EDIT: It seems as though this was not too late of a reply, but the website thinks that today is the 2nd of February...I'll try to figure out why.
Posted by Kevin Young on

Is there anyway for freshmen to be involved in the Debate Society?

Thank you,

Kevin Young
Posted by Ryan on
Good question, Kevin.

We always need judges -- there is a tournament on Oct 26th at Andrew Wilson Middle School and on on Nov 23rd here on Tulane's campus. Contact Greg Tacconi Moore at to attend the judge training that is offered the week before the tournaments (pizza is included in the training session).

You're welcome to join our open meetings in Alcee Fortier Hall's conference room on Mondays from 7-8 pm. I'd recommend taking ENLS 3650 with McBride or Godden to get started coaching middle school debate (which is part of the service requirement for that course).
Leave a Reply

(Your email will not be publicly displayed.)

Please type the letters and numbers shown in the image.Captcha Code