Winners of the 2021 Regents’ Cup announced

Screenshot of winners

Winners of the 2021 Regents’ Cup announced

April 24, 2021

Today, Arizona State University won the 2021 Regents’ Cup, for the second consecutive time, in the Arizona Board of Regents’ virtual debate competition that celebrates free speech and civil discourse.

Arizona State University students Abigail Spencer and Langston Tillman took first place in the Oxford debate portion of the Regents’ Cup competition while Daniel Gyorffy of the University of Arizona took first place in storytelling, each winning $15,000 in a one-time scholarship to further their educational goals.

Second place in Oxford was awarded to University of Arizona students Akash Satpathy and Joshua Tashoff while Riley Smelkinson of Northern Arizona University took second in storytelling, all winning a one-time $12,000 scholarship.

Coming in third place in Oxford were ASU students Jake Dean and Zane Encinas as well as Nyah Fyfe and Marnie Gyorffy from UArizona while Marjorie Nguyen of NAU took third in storytelling. Each third-place winner will be awarded a $5,000 one-time scholarship.

Thirty-eight students from Arizona’s public universities competed during the day-long virtual event hosted by Arizona State University on Saturday, a competition showcasing Arizona’s public universities commitment to freedom of expression. Each of the remaining student competitors took home a $500 one-time scholarship.

Subjects debated included if legislation should be passed to disallow social media companies from banning users based on political viewpoints, if there are legitimate reasons to ban political clubs on campus if they support political candidates that use inciting speech, and if there are certain texts with offensive language or messages that should be banned from being used in a curriculum.

During the competition, student teams participated in rounds of persuasive storytelling and Oxford-style debate.

“The virtual Regents’ Cup was an amazing event where students, judges, moderators and all who participated contributed to a compelling and lively competition. I am extremely proud of all of our coaches and students who worked for months on this competition, and I thank my fellow board members, our dedicated judges and all of the individuals who made this event a success,” said Regent Karrin Taylor Robson, who envisioned the competition. “Our students proved once again why Arizona’s public universities are bastions of free speech that is characterized by civil discourse and respect.”

Arizona’s public universities are recognized as exemplars in free speech; Arizona State University, Northern Arizona University and the University of Arizona are all recognized with a green light rating, the highest rating by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education.

“This event celebrates one of the most important rights enshrined in our country’s Constitution, freedom of speech. I appreciate Regent Taylor Robson’s dedication to bringing the Regents’ Cup to fruition and all of our student competitors who serve as an example to other universities and indeed, the country, of how individuals can respectfully disagree with each other,” said ABOR Chair Larry E. Penley.

Sarah Harper, 602-229-2542, 602-402-1341 |
Julie Newberg, 602-229-2534 |