Black Female Debate Team is First to Win National Championship

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Baltimore Sun - Two Towson University students edged out 170 other teams to win a national debate championship held in Indiana this week, the second time in recent years a Towson team has netted national debate honors.

Ameena Ruffin and Korey Johnson, both from Baltimore, bested a team from the University of Oklahoma in the final round. Their argument likened police brutality, the prison-industrial complex and structural poverty issues to a warlike violence against African-Americans in the U.S. and identified solutions.

Ruffin and Johnson are the first black women to win a national debate championship tournament, according to the Cross Examination Debate Association. Another Towson team won at the same championship in 2008.

Amber Kelsie, one of two coaches for Towson's debate program, compared the Cross Examination Debate Association national championship to the "Super Bowl" of debate championships. The students are preparing for a second challenge, the National Debate Tournament, later this week at the same location, Indiana University.

The Towson debate team was at the center of a controversy last fall when its members said the university was preventing it from participating in a tournament at Harvard University. Towson eventually relented and the team took part in that competition.

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