MIFA organizes two State Debate Tournaments (one Novice, one Varsity) in three disciplines of debate competition. Policy Debate and Public Forum Debate are both 2-person TEAM events in which students argue in favor or against a domestic or foreign policy of national importance. Legislative Debate is an Individual event in which which students emulate members of the United States Congress by debating bills and resolutions.
MIFA awards numerous State Championships every year including:
Novice Policy, Novice Public Forum, Novice Legislative, Varsity Policy Tier 1, Varsity Policy Tier 2, Varsity Public Forum, Varsity Legislative.
MIFA also presents the George Ziegelmueller Award, recognizing the best team in the state. A mathematical formula is used to compile points for all debates won and lost across all disciplines (Legislative, Policy and Public Forum) at both the Varsity and Novice State Debate Tournaments. Details.
In addition, MIFA presents the Elice Howard Award, recognizing the achievements of Directors of Debate in Michigan. Details.
Members serve 2 year terms.
Odd numbered regions elect in odd years. Even in even.
Chair Debora Marsh, Dexter (2019-2020, one year appointment)
Region 1 Bill Harris, GR City (2019-21)
Region 2 Shelly Venema, Saline HS (2018-2020)
Region 3 Ryan Nierman, Groves (2019-2021)
Region 4 Chris Kuhlman, UAIS (2019-2021)
Region 5 Brad Meloche, Seaholm (2019-20, one year appt)
Region 6 Tim McPherson, Gaylord (2018-2020)
Region 7 Ruth Kay, Detroit Country Day (2019-20, one year apt)
Key MIFA Dates & Forms
Sept 15, 2018 Public Forum Student Workshop @ Dexter HS
>Students are invited to attend a PF workshop from 9:30am-12pm. If students wish to stay after lunch there will be a mini tournament of practice rounds. Interested? Email Courtney Bassett at email@example.com
Oct 12-13, 2018 Pappas Invitational @ Wayne State University
Dec 14-15, 2018 Debate State Finals @ TBD
May 17-19, 2019 Public Forum w/MSCI @ Grand Hotel, Mackinac
Traveling to an upcoming tournament? Check out MIFA's pre-arranged hotel blocks and rates.
Travel Questions? Contact Becca Weissman, Business Manager
List of Invitational Tournaments
Are you hosting an invitational? Send details HERE! so the MIFA can put it on the calendar!
Registration for (most) Invitational Tournaments can be found on:
tabroom.com - OR - speechwire.com
Speech Activities - Relevant portions of our "rule book", SPEECH ACTIVITIES for all MIFA events can be found under the "Resources" tab.
Other helpful documents for policy debate, public forum debate and legislative debate (student congress document) are available here.
Policy Debate is a two-person team format in which teams argue in favor or against various interpretations of a nationally agreed upon resolution.
The Policy Debate topic for the 2018-19 season is: Resolved: The United States federal government should substantially reduce its restrictions on legal immigration to the United States.
2017-18 Season Resolved: Resolved: The United States federal government should substantially increase its funding and/or regulation of elementary and/or secondary education in the United States.
2016-17 Season Resolved: The United States federal government should substantially increase its economic and/or diplomatic engagement with the People’s Republic of China.
The Policy Debate Topic Resolution for 2015-16 was Resolved: The United States federal government should substantially curtail its domestic surveillance.
Policy Judge Certification
The Michigan Interscholastic Forensic Association requires policy debate judges for the Novice and Varsity State Debate Tournaments to be a high school graduate, submit an ethics statement and have a paradigm (posted on the wiki) no later than one week prior to a state tournament.
To become certified, fill out this form.
Currently Certified Judges are posted on the wiki along with their paradigm.
Paperless Debate Guidelines
Public Forum Debate
Public forum debate is often compared to a nationally-televised debate, such as 'Crossfire' in which the debaters argue a topic of national importance. Successful public forum debaters must make persuasive and logical arguments in a manner that is accessible to a wide variety of audiences.
Nationally, Public Forum debate changes its topic monthly however in order to provide students with a little more preparation time our schedule is slightly modified. Tournaments in September and October will use the September topic. Tournaments in November and December will use the November topic. Tournaments in January will use the January topic.
Sept/Oct 2018 Topic
Resolved: The United States should accede to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea without reservations.
Nov/Dec 2017 Topic
Resolved: The United States should require universal background checks for all gun sales and transfers of ownership.
Sept/Oct 2017 Topic
Resolved: Deployment of anti-missile systems is in South Korea’s best interest.
November 2016 Topic Area: Fourth Industrial Revolution
Resolved: On balance, the benefits of the Internet of Things outweigh the harms of decreased personal privacy.
Sept/Oct 2016 Topic Area: US Constitution
Resolved: In United States public K-12 schools, the probable cause standard ought to apply to searches of students.
Public Forum Topic Release Date
September/October August 15 — 9a CT
November October 1 — 9a CT
December November 1 — 9a CT
January December 1 — 9a CT
February January 1 — 9a CT
March February 1 — 9aCT
April March 1 — 9a CT
National Tournament May 1 — 9 a.m. CT
2016 January PF Topic Area: Russia
Resolved: On balance, economic sanctions are reducing the threat Russia poses to Western interests.
2015 November PF Topic Area: Migrant and Refugee Crises
Resolved: In response to the current crisis, a government should prioritize the humanitarian needs of refugees over its national interests.
2015 September/October PF Topic Area: Racial Justice
Resolved: The United States Federal Government ought to pay reparations to African Americans.
PLEASE NOTE: The Novice and Middle Level Public Forum State Tournaments in early December will be using the November topic above. Varsity Tournament in January will be using the January topic.
Potential PF Topic Areas for 2015-16: (in alphabetical order)
Legislative Debate (aka Congressional Debate) is a format in which students emulate members of the United States Congress by debating bills and resolutions. Before the event, each school submits mock legislation to each tournament. After the legislation has been compiled, it is distributed to each participating team. Each team researches as many topics as possible, with the goal of being able to speak on both sides of every legislation