Detroit Urban Debate League

About Us


The mission of the Detroit Urban Debate League (DUDL) is to provide debate instruction and competition to Detroit and Metro Detroit’s High School Community. The DUDL is open to traditional public, public charter and private schools in the city of Detroit and similarly situated demographic areas in southeastern Michigan. The DUDL was commenced by Dr. George Ziegelmueller, Director of Forensics at Wayne State University, in the 1980s with a grant from the Open Society Institute. 

The Detroit Urban Debate League is currently directed by John Lawson,  Dr. Sydney Pasquinelli, and Darcell Brown. The DUDL is partnered with the Detroit Public Community School District, Wayne State University, and the National Association of Urban Debate Leagues (NAUDL).

The DUDL administers one tournament per month throughout each debate season for its member schools. This amounts to six or seven tournaments between September and March. Our final league tournament also serves as our regional qualifying tournament for the NAUDL Tournament, in which two teams will advance to this National Championship Tournament. Students from the DUDL's University Prep High School have won the prestigious title of NAUDL National Champions two times in the past decade, coached both times by Sharon Hopkins!

The DUDL has maintained a 100% graduation rate for its senior debaters, with over 90% attending college. College scholarships and financial assistance for debate awarded to DUDL graduates include the following universities and colleges: Wayne State University, Michigan State University, University of Iowa, Wake Forest University and Wiley College in Texas. 

Most of the League’s tournaments and other meetings are hosted by Wayne State University, either on campus at Manoogian Hall, or in COVID-Safe Zoom Rooms, and are only possible with the continuous support of the Debate Team, the Communication Department, and the College for Fine, Performing and Communication Arts. Our sponsors include, but are not limited to, the Ronald and Regina McNeil Family Foundation, the Dickinson Wright Law Firm, the Miller Law Firm, and the Dykema Gossett Law Firm. We also rely upon and heavily appreciate our volunteer judges at league tournaments. 

For further information, please contact: 


Participating Schools & Coaches

Berkley High School: Scott Warrow

Cass Technical High School: Tatanisha Lewis and Joshua Harrington

Cody Medicine and Health High School: Bernard Harris and Jordan Branch

Cornerstone Academy: Linda Calo and Jake Kostecke

Detroit School of Arts High School: Brandon Reynolds and Faith Howard

Emerson Middle School: Donald Watkins

Loyola High School: Kathy Gross and Travis McClendon

University High School Academy: Daniel Minadeo and Irshad Reza Husain

University Preparatory High School: Suki Johal and Katja Molinaro