The MSU Speech and Debate Council serves two functions, representing the university in intercollegiate speech and debate competition and promoting public speaking and debate on campus and in the community. Our members come from all segments of the student body, from freshmen to graduate students, encompassing a wide array of majors.
The Council was established in 2015 to carry on the traditions of previous speech and debate teams and organizations at Mississippi State University. We compete in individual and team debate under International Public Debate Association (IPDA) rules, as well as all American Forensic Association (AFA) individual events. For those new to forensics, these include multiple events in public speaking and dramatic interpretation, as well as limited preparation events like extemporaneous and impromptu speaking, so there really is something for everyone.
Cheryl Chambers is the advisor for the Speech and Debate Council and coaches Individual Events. She was raised in Starkville and received her Bachelors in Communication from MSU. After receiving her Master's in Communication Studies from the University of Alabama, she accepted a teaching position back home. In the Department of Communication, Cheryl teaches public speaking and communication and media studies courses. She also manages Starkville’s Downtown Martial Arts Academy with her husband.
Brett Harvey coaches IPDA debate. His real job is being the university’s Title IX/EEO Director, but he sometimes needs a break from the heavy stuff. Before coming to MSU, he was a lawyer who handled federal appeals. Before that, he was a high school and college debater. His wife is a debate coach. His kids are debaters. Even his dog has an argumentative streak.
- President: Lindsay Culpepper
- Vice President of Debate: Claire Green
- Vice President of Speech: Madison Culpepper
- Secretary: Tanner Marlow
- Treasurer: Claire Carter
- Social Media Coordinator: Nyla Jones
All MSU students are welcome to join the Council. Whether you have years of experience or are completely new to speech and debate, there is a place for you.
Remember that competition is optional. We also need members whose involvement focuses on our mission of promoting speech and debate on campus and in the community. So if your interest were, for example, planning and promoting Student Association debates or volunteering to teach forensics to high school students, we definitely have a place for you.
Expectations for Council members are straightforward. We expect all members to actively participate in general body meetings and service projects. In addition, we expect members who plan to compete to attend practice regularly and follow the coaches’ instructions to improve.
Current MSU Students interested in learning about the Council can contact Cheryl Chambers at email@example.com. Feel free to check out our Cowbell Connect page for more information on practices and upcoming events. Practices are generally open to the public, and all are welcome to attend and learn more.
High School Students, Coaches, and Teachers seeking more information about the Council can contact Brett Harvey at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 662-325-8124. Whether you are considering attending MSU or are looking for advice on starting a high school program, we’d be happy to answer any questions or provide any assistance we can.
For incoming freshmen, note that MSU offers a First Year Experience course, Let Me Speak: Introduction to Competitive Speech and Debate, that lets you earn an hour of credit for learning the basics of intercollegiate forensics competition from our very own Cheryl Chambers. So if you’re interested in joining, be sure to take advantage of this opportunity.