2015-16 Lafayette Debates


Stanford University

Military Academy Champions

Ecole de Guerre


The George Washington University


James Madison University
Ecole de Guerre


Resolved: Democracies should respond to the threat of terrorist attack by substantially increasing domestic surveillance.

Topic Statement

In the wake of the 2015 Paris attacks many have raised the question of whether liberal democracies can secure themselves from the threat of terrorist attack without sacrificing the civil liberties that define their political and cultural values and heritages. The 2015-16 Lafayette Debates Topic asks elite college debaters from France, Canada and the United States to scrutinize this question and its implications for global democracies in general and the citizens of France, Canada and the United States in particular. While the topic raises questions relevant to all liberal democracies, debaters are asked to focus their topic analysis and topic examples on the unique challenges facing these three countries and other similarly situated countries. In addition debaters are asked to broadly focus on the core questions raised by the topic rather than isolated or atypical examples: i.e., the topic asks affirmatives to broadly defend the proposition that granting substantial domestic surveillance powers to  national security agencies is desirable and asks negatives to rebut this general proposition.  

Exhibition Debates

U.S. and Canadian schools were invited to participate in exhibition debates on the 2015-16 Lafayette Debates topic. Last spring exhibition debates were hosted at the French Consulate in San Francisco between the University of California at Berkeley and Stanford University and at the Millennium Gate Museum in Atlanta between Emory University and Morehouse College.

2015-16 Opening Round

The opening round of the 2015-16 Lafayette Debates was held at the Hart House Invitational at the University of Toronto in Fall 2015. Two hundred and twenty six students from over thirty different U.S. and Canadian colleges and universities participated in the event. Congratulations to the tournament champions from McGill University for being the first team to qualify for the 2016 Young Ambassadors Program & Study Tour!

Early Bird

The 2015-16Lafayette Debates Early Bird was held at The George Washington University Intervarsity in Fall 2015. Over 100 students from over fifteen different U.S. colleges and universities participated in the event. Congratulations to the tournament champions from Patrick Henry College!