University of Pittsburgh
March 22, 2007

Pitt Heads to National Debate Tournament March 30-April 2

William Pitt Debating Union qualifies for National Debate Tournament for 10th consecutive year
Contact:  412-624-4147

PITTSBURGH-The University of Pittsburgh's William Pitt Debating Union (WPDU) will head to the 61st National Debate Tournament (NDT) in Dallas, Texas, from March 30 to April 2, qualifying for the national competition for the 10th consecutive year.

School of Arts and Science senior Melina Forte, majoring in history and philosophy, and first-year student Michael Mangus, majoring in computer science and linguistics, won the District VII qualifying tournament's final six consecutive ballots, defeating opponents from Clarion University and the United States Naval Academy to finish among the top eight teams in the region. At the District VII qualifying tournament, hosted by University of Mary Washington, Fredericksburg, Va., Forte and Mangus argued that the U.S. Supreme Court should overrule its decision in "U.S. vs. Morrison," which held that Congress lacked authority, under either the Commerce Clause or the 14th Amendment, to enact the Violence Against Women Act of 1994. Forte and Mangus won earlier elimination rounds hosted by Miami University in Ohio, the U.S. Naval Academy, and the University of Richmond in Virginia.

Each year, the NDT brings together the top 78 debate teams in the nation for five days of intense analysis on a common topic. This year's debates will focus on U.S. Supreme Court decisions.

The NDT began at the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1947. For the first 20 years, the tournament was organized and conducted by the academy. The tournament still holds many traditions, including the "big board", oral announcement of round pairings, cadet escorts for each team, teams for each debate meeting under the banner of the affirmative team, and team signs in the rooms.

The American Forensic Association sponsors the NDT. This year, 74 teams will participate in the tournament.