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Members of Inaugural Cal Poly Spanish-language Debate Team Ranked as World Finalists

Two Cal Poly Spanish-language debate team members finished as finalists at the largest international Spanish-language university debate competition — the Campeonato Mundial Universitario de Debate en Español (CMUDE) — at the University of Francisco Marroquín in Guatemala City this summer.

Throughout the 10-day competition, biology senior Megan Boyd and business senior Yessenia Sanchez argued their way into the final round in a competition against 300 other participants from all over the world including Spain, Colombia, Mexico, Guatemala and more.

Members of Inaugural Cal Poly Spanish-language Debate Team Ranked as World Finalists
From left to right, Yessenia Sanchez and Megan Boyd at the
Campeonato Mundial Universitario de Debate en Español
(CMUDE) in Guatemala City.

“It was nerve-racking because we were debating against Spanish speaking teams from top Spanish speaking universities like in Colombia,” said Sanchez of the debate in Guatemala. “I’m glad I lived through that experience because it made me stronger as a Spanish speaker and in my role in the community. I really like the community that the debate team fosters where we share ideas that should be important to everyone. These ideas can range from immigration, to any other political arguments happening in the country and in the world.”

“Boyd and Sanchez’s groundbreaking success in the CMUDE represents the expansion of the Cal Poly debate team into the Spanish language world of debate,” said Marion Hart, Cal Poly Spanish-language team coach and a lecturer in the World Languages and Cultures (WLC) Department.

“It extends Cal Poly’s historic recognition in the national and international worlds of competitive academic debate,” added Christopher Skiles, interim director of forensics at Cal Poly.

The Cal Poly debate program initiated its first Spanish-language debate team in January 2017, under Hart’s direct coaching. With guidance from Skiles and Assistant Director of Forensics John Patrick, Hart worked with a dedicated group of seven students to launch this new addition to the longstanding Cal Poly debate program. 

During the 2017-18 academic year, the Cal Poly debate team will participate in four intercollegiate debate tournaments in fall quarter and six in winter quarter. Internationally, they plan to compete at the World University Debating Championship in Mexico City, the Pan-Pacific Debate Championships in Hawaii, the Pan-American University Debate Championship, and the 2018 CMUDE in Chile.


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