UK Debate Has Impressive Season Opener, Hopes to Continue Past Success

The 2019 University of Kentucky Intercollegiate Debate Team
2019 University of Kentucky Intercollegiate Debate Team

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Sept. 20, 2019) — The University of Kentucky Intercollegiate Debate Team had a tremendous start to its competitive season. With a run against 122 teams from 25 states at the Atlanta Season Opener, the UK debaters worked to defend last year’s national champion status.

The top team of Genevieve Hackman (junior) and Christopher Eckert (freshman) shot out to a 7-1 record in the preliminary rounds including impressive wins over Michigan, Dartmouth and Wake Forest. The team was the fifth seed heading into elimination day on Monday.

In the round of 32 they defeated Pittsburgh in an impressive 3-0 decision. The round of 16, however, ended with a close 2-1 decision loss to Harvard. Wake Forest was the eventual champion of the Atlanta tournament.

Each year, all debaters discuss the same topic, which is announced in advance of the season. The topic this year is space policy. 

“As a debater, you never know if your preparation is going to match up with your results,” David Arnett, director of debate, said. “I really liked our preparation going into the year, and it’s nice to see it being rewarded in competition. Getting off to such a strong start can be hugely motivating as we head into the rest of the semester."

The team now has a quick turnaround. UK will compete in and host two tournaments next week.

The University of Kentucky Intercollegiate Debate team is housed in the College of Communication and Information. Follow them at

The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion two years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. The Chronicle of Higher Education judged us a “Great College to Work for," and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes' list of "America's Best Employers."  We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for three straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.