What is Speech and Debate?

The MJC Speech and Debate team is an award winning and nationally ranked program that travels and competes in local, statewide, and national tournaments. You might hear Speech and Debate referred to as “forensics,” which roughly translates to “the search for truth.” Many people are familiar with this term because of shows like CSI, but within the Communication Studies discipline we search for truth through dialogue. This can take a variety of forms in competitive speech and debate. Students in our program can compete in the following events: platform speaking, oral interpretation, limited preparation, and debate. To learn more about these events, check out the events section of this site for more detailed descriptions and video examples of what past students have done.

What are the class requirements?

Students on the team have different levels of experience and free time, so some students choose to be more involved than others — but everyone can excel! These are some of the things you should expect to do during your time on the team.

  • Attend class. The class meets twice a week for approximately 2 hours and 25 minutes each time.
  • Prepare your events. Students in their first year need to have at least two events, one of which is a “prepared” event which requires research, writing, memorization, blocking, etc. These events are used all season long.
  • Travel to at least one tournament. Tournaments take place on weekends and usually last 2-3 days. All tournament dates are available at the beginning of the semester for those who need to request time off from work or make child care arrangements. Students can choose to attend more than one tournament.
  • Help facilitate Speech Night. Students on the team perform in Speech Night and help run the show by passing out programs, taking video, and working backstage.
  • Complete 9 service hours. Students give back to the Communication Studies community each semester by completing service hours. This can include performing a sample speech in a professor’s class, volunteering as a judge at a local high school tournament, helping to design flyers for a Communication Studies event or class, etc.

How do I get involved?

The MJC Speech and Debate program provides a great chance to enhance your skills as an actor, debater, or public speaker. Students who are interested in the team can join by enrolling in COMM 105: Intercollegiate Speech and Debate on PiratesNet. The class meets twice a week for approximately 2 hours and 25 minutes each time. The class is worth 3 units and can be repeated up to 4 times. During class meetings and outside practices, you will gain the skills and experiences needed to excel as an orator.