Debating Society



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About Us

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Since our founding in 1893, the Debating Society (DebSoc) has become one of the largest and most prestigious societies on campus, and we run two main events every week: Monday workshops and Friday show debates.

Our Monday workshops are catered to all levels of debating They give you a chance to learn and refine your public speaking skills. These fun sessions allow for complete beginners to be introduced to debating while the more experienced debaters jump straight in. DebSoc regularly enters and performs well in debating competitions (IV's) which are deceptively addictive. IV's are held across the country. If you fancy a go at representing your University, just talk to one of the IV Captains! As a society, we're also proud to host two competitions a year within the University, providing an opportunity to societies across the country to come and see what we can do! 

Friday debates offer an opportunity for our members to see experienced, external speakers battle it out! We tackle big, controversial topics such as; sex work, euthanasia, no-platforming, religion and the EU.  Some of our recent speakers at our debates have included:

Politicians;  Jacob Rees-Mogg MP; Ben Bradshaw MP; John Bercow; and Natalie Bennett.

Celebrities; Stephen Fry (comedian, writer, and general intellectual); Karina Currie (pornstar, writer and producer); and Larry Sanders (academic and brother of Bernie Sanders).

Journalists; Peter Hitchens (Daily Mail); Jane Fae (Guardian); Harry Fear (Independent).

Historians; Stephen Bungay (The Art of Action); Diane Atkinson (Rise Up Women! The Remarkable Lives of the Suffragettes)

These debates give attendees the chance to ask our panellists questions and join the conversation via Twitter. They also provide an excellent opportunity to gain a better understanding of new subjects and to network with influential decision-makers.

We are also proud to boast of the historically notable leaders and Prime Minsters which have spoken with us: H.H. Asquith (Prime Minister 1908-16), Anthony Eden (Prime Minister 1955-57), Ludovic Kennedy (a key figure in the abolition of the death penalty, and Michael Foot (Leader of the Labour Party 1980-83).

As well as our weekly events, the society has a hugely active social side. We run annual Winter and Spring Balls, a Prosecco Social at the start of the term, a Rail Ale Trail as well as many other social activities -- many members join us purely for these socials alone.

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Aims and Objectives:

  1. Critical engagement with public discourse. To guarantee that members can engage with notable intellectual and public figures on their area of expertise; as well as having the opportunity to converse with them.
  2. Exposure to a diversity of thought. Members should be able to argue for what they are passionate about; moreover, the society should act as a central hub for criticism and argument on campus.
  3. Strong social engagement. To provide various and regular socials so that the society offers everything needed to have a full university experience.
  4. Refinement of rhetorical ability. Facilitate the development of the vital skills and confidence to thrive in the modern world and workplace, which conventional education fails to provide.
  5. A broader philosophical, legal, and political education. Encourage understanding of the civic and philosophical ideas which underpin modern social discourse; so that members can potently navigate and engage with anything concerning the human experience.
  6. Attendance at debating competitions. Members should be able to attend competitions regularly for both their own personal enjoyment and to provide them with evidence of their skills to assist in their post-graduate employment prospects.



Committee Members



Chair (Even)

Chair (Odd)

Freshers Rep

IV Captain (Competitions)

IV Captain (Workshops)

IV Secretary



Returning Officer


Social Secretary

Speaker Secretary



Welfare Secretary



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University of Exeter Students' Guild is a Charity and Company Limited by Guarantee. Registered Charity Number: 1136468 Company Number: 07217324; registered in England and Wales Registered office: Devonshire House, Stocker Road, Exeter, EX4 4PZ