1. Resolutions

A. A list of possible resolutions will be compiled and given to debaters upon arrival at the location.

B. A different resolution for each round will be presented to the debaters about 15 minutes prior to the beginning of each debate. Each team will have those 15 minutes to organize their arguments, out of earshot of each other.

C. The NYC Debate Club will debate a wide range of topics - from current events to philosophy to policy. The resolutions will be general enough that a well-educated college student can debate them. They may be phrased in literal or metaphorical language.

2. Objective of the debate

The proposition team must affirm the resolution by presenting and defending a sufficient case for that resolution. The opposition team must oppose the resolution and/or the proposition team's case.

If, at the end of the debate, the judge believes that the proposition team has supported and successfully defended the resolution, they will be declared the winner, otherwise the opposition will be declared the winner.

3**. During the debate**

A. You can only bring your hand-written notes into the debate. No published or printed materials allowed.

B. Debaters may refer to any information that is within the realm of knowledge of liberally educated and informed citizens. If they believe some cited information to be too specific, debaters may request that their opponent explain specific information with which they are unfamiliar. In the event further explanation of specific information is requested, the debater should provide details sufficient to allow the debater to understand the connection between the information and the claim. Judges will disallow specific information only in the event that no reasonable person could have access to the information: e.g., information that is from the debater's personal family history.

C. Format of the debate

Note: Flex time may be used by the controlling team to prepare arguments, drink water, set up stands, ask questions of their opponents, etc. Flex time may not be used as additional speech time.

First Proposition Constructive Speaker: 4 minutes

Cross-examination: 3 minutes

Opposition Flex Time: 1 minute

First Opposition Constructive Speaker: 4 minutes

Cross-examination: 3 minutes

Proposition Flex Time: 1 minute

Second Proposition Constructive Speaker: 4 minutes

Cross-examination: 3 minutes

Opposition Flex Time: 1 minute

Second Opposition Constructive Speaker: 4 minutes

Cross-examination: 3 minutes

Opposition Rebuttal by First Speaker: 3 minutes

Proposition Flex Time: 1 minute

Proposition Rebuttal by First Speaker: 5 minutes

D. Constructive and Rebuttal Speeches

Introduction of new arguments is appropriate during all constructive speeches. However, debaters may not introduce new arguments in rebuttal speeches except that the proposition rebuttalist may introduce new arguments in his or her rebuttal to refute arguments that were first raised in the Second Opposition Constructive. New examples, analysis, analogies, etc. that support previously introduced arguments are permitted in rebuttal speeches.

E. Cross-Examination Period

Following each constructive speech, there is a three-minute cross-examination period in which the opposing team questions the team which just spoke. Usually, the cross-examination is conducted by the opponent who will not speak next of the speaker who just spoke, but some cross-examinations are open, that is: either partner may ask or answer questions. However, it is often frowned upon when a partner who is not the previous speaker answers cross-examination questions.

F. Points of Information

A debater may request a point of information—either verbally or by rising—at any time after the first minute and before the last minute of any constructive speech. The debater holding the floor has the discretion to accept or refuse points of information. If accepted, the debater requesting the point of information has a maximum of fifteen seconds to make a statement or ask a question. The speaking time of the debater with the floor continues during the point of information.

4. Judging the Debate

A. The judge will decide which team has done the better job of debating. "Better" is, of course, subjective, but you should consider quality of argumentation, rhetorical skill, and wit. Again, try not to allow your own biases to taint your decision. Do not base your decision on arguments that were not presented in the round. Do not base your decision on any new arguments brought up during the rebuttals. After the round, decide which side -- Government or Opposition -- won the round, and write that on the decision line of your ballot.

B. For the first Debates, I will judge, and once others are more comfortable, we will get more people involved in judging.


A. Points of Order