About Us 

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

Our Monday workshops are the cornerstone of our competitive debating programme.  They give you a chance to learn and refine your public speaking skills in preparation for entering inter-university competitions.

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.

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.

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Our History

The Exeter University Debating Society was formed in 1893 as a purely gentleman's debating society.  

 

The earliest recorded Friday night debate was held on an 4th February 1906 entitled 'The advantages of being a member of a large family outweigh the disadvantages'.  The student magazine stated the debate was held with 'eloquence, energy and enthusiasm'.

 

The First World War proved difficult for the society with many of its members leaving to fight. A number of debates were still held however. These included 'Conscription is necessary for our Empire' (1915) and 'There should be no co-education of the sexes' (1916). 

 

Over the years we have hosted many notable leaders, including 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).  You can find more out about our previous notable speakers by clicking here

Meet The Committee

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Maria Aspinall

President

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Edward Barradell

Chair

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Trey Tallon

Inter-Varsity Captain  (Training)

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Nina Hodzic

Inter-Varsity Secretary 

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Ayusha Pandey

General Secretary 

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Hannah Willoughby

Speaker Secretary 

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Yves Bowonnawarux

Vice-President

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Hugh Boyd

Chair

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Elliot Laver

Inter-Varsity Captain (Competitions)

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Savi Elias

Social Secretary 

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Michelle Cheung

Treasurer

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Ned Kellie-Smith 

Speaker Secretary