Correction to the results of 1983 WUDC

I recently received an e-mail from Frank McKirgan.  Frank was part of the Glasgow Dialectic team that won the World Universities Debating Championships in 1983.  He was able to correct a number of mistakes in the records of the tournament and provide a short colour piece about the tournament.  I have corrected the information on this blog but I am aware that the results and history are replicated on many other sites around the world. 

Therefore if you have the results of the 1983 championships on your website you need to make the following corrections:
- The beaten finalists were actually Auckland (Stuart Bugg and David Kidd) not Toronto.
- The best speaker was Michael McFarlane (Glasgow Union) not John Geisnell

Thanks to Frank for the corrections and it was great to communicate with someone from the early days of the championships.

Here is the updated "History" I have posted to the section on Princeton 1983:

Princeton 1983
Princeton took up the torch when the University of Auckland failed to organize a tournament. There had been a great deal of talk of subsidized airfare to New Zealand, but this all suddenly went quiet. Frank McKirgan and John Nicolson of Glasgow Dialectic met and defeated the defending champions Auckland (Stuart Bugg and David Kidd).  It had been reported in the past that the beaten finalist was a University of Toronto team of Jeff Nankivell and Francis Daniels. However Frank McKirgan contacted me directly to correct this.  The best speaker at the tournament was Michael McFarlane from the Glasgow University Union (a different society from the winning Dialectic team).  As with the beaten finalists John Geisnell, from an unknown university, was previously recorded as the best speaker but again Frank McKirgan has corrected this and confirmed it with John Nicolson. For better or worse, the World Debates council was formed at this tournament. The general idea was to get a bit more organized, and possibly prevent world tournaments from evaporating completely. Prior to that, issues such as the next tournament location and haggling over who should get to go had been decided by a general meeting of all teams present. Given the track record on bidding and hosting the tournament, a World Council probably couldn’t hurt.

Here is a little colour piece written by Frank McKirgan

The competition took place in March and the rest day coincided with St Patrick's Day. A number of the competitors went up to New York City the night before and spent a very long night and day experiencing the 'St Patrick's Day spirit' in the city. The final was between defending champions from Auckland (Stuart Bugg and David Kidd) and Glasgow University Dialectic Society (John Nicolson and Frank McKirgan). The final was held in Nassau Hall (the first home of the US Congress) and the motion was 'This House would apologise for the American Revolution' with Glasgow proposing.


All the previous rounds had been judged by a three judge panel. For the final, there were three judges and the organisers decided to award 2 votes to the result of the audience vote. After the debate the organisers announced that the judges voted 2-1 in favour of Glasgow and the 500-odd audience vote was exactly tied. The 2 audience votes were split evenly giving Glasgow the trophy 3-2. Just one person in the audience could have changed the result.


Michael McFarlane from Glasgow University Union won the prize for best speaker.


After the event the both the Glasgow teams plus the team from Edinburgh went on a tour which visited Harvard, Yale, McGill, Toronto, Ottowa and Hamilton.

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