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Harvard Memorial Hall Illustration

open debate at
Harvard University.

The Harvard College Union Society is a community of Harvard students dedicated to free inquiry and civil discourse. We work to bring open arguments on the most important debates of the American milieu back to Harvard University.

Through our group,  students and faculty debate political-philosophical topics with boldness in the face of controversy, building trust that discourse is still possible in the 21st-century academy.

We defend the free communication and critique of acceptable, controversial, and half-formed views alike, and encourage mutual criticism. We welcome all views expressed in a spirit of good faith and mutual respect.

Harvard Union Society Debate Image


Our debates, modeled after the Oxford Union, cover broad topics designed to encourage students to directly address sets of assumptions and beliefs, rather than mere end-goal political policies. 

The dress code is business formal to promote an elevated level of discourse among participants. 

We use a traditional parliamentary format, derived from the tradition of American debate in representative government and collegiate debate groups. 

Steven Pinker and Michael Sandel debate Meritocracy in Harvard Admissions

Professor Sandel and Professor Pinker debate 
Resolved, that Harvard Admissions Should be More Meritocratic

Harvard Union Dinner


The Harvard College Union hosts dinners for student members and guests, who include guest speakers, faculty, alumni, and supporters. 

The antipolitical dinners involve the discussion of certain controversial topics and plans on furthering intellectual flourishing at Harvard.

Through the development of a community that can pursue the goal of improving speech at Harvard, we will be able to have much longer-ranging effects.


Our debates and dinners are generally on Thursday and Friday evenings during the term.

For questions about our events, requirements for becoming a member, and all other inquiries, please fill out our
interest form, or email

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