Brown Debating Union

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The Brown Debating Union (BDU) is a student-run debating organization at Brown University in Providence, RI. It has existed since 1824 and its many members include CNN founder Ted Turner, who was a vice-president of the Union. It began to organize formal debate tournaments with peer institutions, as well as on-campus disputes for student groups, during the early twentieth century. By the 1950s, the debate program had become part of the Brown University English Department. Competing on the National Debate Tournament circuit, the debate team was fairly successful.

However, in the 1980s the English department stopped funding the team, and the BDU became an autonomous student organization funded by the Undergraduate Finance Board. Without the funds to participate in costly policy debate, they participated in parliamentary debate. The Union currently competes in debate tournaments held by the American Parliamentary Debate Association. Their annual debate tournament is held during the last weekend of October every year.

Contemporary alumni include Dr. Alfred C. "Tuna" Snider '72, the Lawrence Professor of Forensics at the University of Vermont in Burlington; Kit Kinports '76, professor of law at Penn State University Dickinson in Carlisle; and Keith Hemmerling '77, president of the Hemmerling Foundation in Los Angeles.

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