John Brown University Debate Team National Champions

Siloam Springs, Ark (April 6, 2001) — Organized just this year, John Brown University’s Speech and Debate Squad celebrated as one of their 2-member debate teams was recently named National Great Plains Forensic Competition (GPFC) Debate Team Champion.

JBU’s novice team, under the coaching of Jason Hough, went head to head against 20 teams that had also qualified for nationals at regional tournaments. More than 77 schools represented from 27 states competed in both speech and debate events offered by the Pi Kappa Delta-sponsored National Tournament at Boise State University. Junior Josh Bentley and freshman partner Kassandra Bohlender closed out the final round in team debate against Southwest Baptist University, becoming the National GPFC Debate Team Champions.

“They were absolutely amazing,” says Hough. “The entire audience -- knew they had won the debate.” Hough further said the pair had gained a nickname from other competitor “ fire and ice.” “Kassandra is very passionate and assertive,” said Hough. “Josh is very cool and calculating.” Other JBU students competing included junior partners Octavio Sanchez and Garrett Wilson, senior Scott Crain and junior Heather Brewer. As a team, the JBU squad won an overall excellence award in debate.

The Pi Kappa Delta National Forensics Fraternity is the oldest collegiate speech and debate fraternity, representing over 100 schools nationwide. The GPFC debate encourages quality and ethics in communication and focuses on both value and policy debate topics. The topic for this year’s debate was “Resolved: The US should decrease its dependency on foreign oil.”

Each 2-member team was responsible to prepare cases both for and against the resolution. Bentley and Bohlender won their final round with a plan mandating all vehicles by 2011 be zero-emissions vehicles, which run on alternative fuels other than fossil fuels. Debate leaders Bohlender and Bentley were more than a little enthusiastic about the team’s performance. “We’ve come so far in so little time,” said Bohlender. “And now we have a national championship.” Bentley says, “To have a national championship is great. But to have that type of recognition for John Brown University is even better.”

John Brown University is a private university with an enrollment of more than 1,500 students from 46 states and 30 countries. JBU is a member of the Arkansas Independent Colleges and Universities and the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities.