The KDS Model

King’s debaters train and compete in the Worlds Parliamentary debate format, a form of British Parliamentary debate. This model features four teams per round and limited preparation time, and uses points of information for argumentation and questioning. Worlds is the most internationally-recognized debate format and is also one of the fastest-growing debate formats in the United States.

We expect debaters to articulate both sides of an issue in order to discern what is true and to learn to constructively respond to those who differ from us. We believe that debate stretches both communication skills and sharpens students’ understandings of political, philosophic, and economic controversies occurring around the world.

KDS is run by students, and operates under the advisement of a coach and The King’s College Academic Affairs department. We hold bi-weekly practices open to all students, represent King’s in competition against national and international universities, and host informative events open to the student body and the public.

The King's Debate Society team for 2016 and 2017
The 2016-17 Debate Team


At bi-weekly practices, KDS debaters discuss current events, participate in public speaking drills, and learn about debate strategy. Debate alumni from King’s and other universities often visit to judge practice debate rounds and provide feedback, and sometimes professors will stop in to lecture on how research within their field is contributing to public discourse and debate.


KDS competes in 10-12 tournaments each academic year. On average, each debater attends about three tournaments annually. Most KDS competitions are in the competitive Northeastern debate circuit, though our teams also compete nationally and even internationally. In recent years, debaters have competed at tournaments in Toronto, Montego Bay, Mexico City, Oxford, Vienna, and The Hague.

Public Events

The King’s Debate Society (KDS) regularly hosts or co-hosts public events on campus to elevate the level of discourse on certain topics of interest to the student body. KDS debaters have put on showcase debates, such as a 2017 debate on public restroom policies, a 2018 debate about the U.S.’s role in Venezuela, and a 2019 debate bout the U.S.’s response to Hong Kong protests. Other events have featured faculty debating or discussing different positions on topics ranging from the death penalty, international intervention in North Korea, the refugee crisis in Europe, and the appropriate behavior in college dating relationships. Some events feature outside speakers, including lectures on the rise of nationalism and on the many waves of feminism.