UNC has been without a debate team since the 1990s — but a UNC professor and graduate student are staying engaged with debate through a team at Harvard University.
Christian Lundberg, a professor in UNC’s communication studies department, is an argument consultant for Harvard this year, coaching the team via email, phone and occassional visits.
“Some people take their spare time on the weekends to build things or golf,” he said. “I take my spare time to help people win debate tournaments.”
Lundberg previously coached at Liberty University, Emory University and Northwestern University.
Calum Matheson, a graduate student in communication studies, also consults with Harvard’s team.
“It doesn’t take a rich, private school to have a successful debate team,” he said. “But to have a debate team — although it would great here, and there are advantages — it’s expensive to run.”
Bill Balthrop, a communication studies professor who coached UNC’s last debate team for 14 years, said the team had to compete on a local and regional level due to the cost.
“(Students) couldn’t develop and grow,” he said. “They wouldn’t be facing as difficult and experienced competition.”
Balthrop said the team’s funding came from student government, the college and the provost’s office, but it wasn’t enough to sustain a competitive team.