ANN ARBOR—It's probably not a good idea to argue with University of Michigan students Ellis Allen and Alex Pappas.
The two students proved to be a skilled debate team by taking second place at the 2014 National Debate Tournament Monday at Indiana University. They improved on their fifth place standing in the quarterfinals at last year's tournament.
This year in the four-day event, which drew the top 80 teams in the country, Allen and Pappas defeated Harvard University in the Final Four to reach the final round before losing a 4-1 decision to Georgetown University.
This is the first time since 1991 that the U-M Debate Team has won second place at the National Debate Tournament.
Allen is from Atlanta and Pappas is from Chicago.
"I am thrilled by the performance of Alex and Ellis at the 2014 National Debate Tournament," said Aaron Kall, who directs the debate team. "It's a tremendous accomplishment to reach the final round of the national championship and win second place. Since the two debaters are both juniors, we will work even harder to bring home the 2015 national championship to the University of Michigan."
Teams argued whether the federal government should substantially increase statutory and/or judicial restrictions on the war powers authority of the president in one or more areas.
The debate team, which is part of the Division of Student Life, began in 1890. It first qualified in 1971 for the National Debate Tournament and has since made 31 appearances. The team has won second place three times (1989, 1991, 2014), third place six times (1988, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2008, 2011) and fifth place seven times (1971, 1972, 1988, 1989, 1992, 2001, 2013).