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---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: "Jim Maritato" <[log in to unmask]>
Date: Oct 2, 2011 6:03 PM
Subject: Join the Trojan Web Debates - USC&apos;s Fall Online Tournament!
To: <[log in to unmask]>

Dear Friends and Colleagues in the Northeast

Greetings from the west coast!  I hope that the start to the 2011-2012 debate season has been great for you and your students thus far.

We are roughly two weeks away from the start of the Trojan Web Debates - USC's Fall 2011 Online Tournament taking place between 10/17 and 10/28.  I am writing you to ask for your support and to encourage your students to participate in this exciting opportunity to debate in an innovative platform.  This tournament is similar in format to the Annenberg Digital Debates - the first online debate tournament we hosted in April, and that included several policy and World's BP debaters from the Northeast.  Our tournament model allows students to engage in two debates (one affirmative and one negative) over the course of one week.  Students alternate between responses in their affirmative debate and their negative debate each day.  Debaters record a 3-5 minute response each day between Monday and Friday and judging takes place over the weekend.  The top 10 debaters advance to a second week of competition to determine overall tournament winners.  A complete explanation of rules and format is available at http://www.usctrojandebate.com

As October is LGBT History Month and Coming Out Month, we have focused this semester's tournament around the discussion of LGBT equality.  Thus, students are asked to engage the following question:

Should same sex marriage be the top priority of the LGBT civil rights movement? 

The goal of these debates is to encourage students to engage in a discussion of movement priorities and tactics, wherein they defend the prioritization of same-sex marriage on the affirmative, and offer a competing issue of priority when on the negative.  Students are encouraged to make well reasoned arguments supported by evidence, but to present their arguments in a style appropriate for a public audience.

We are asking for a small $10 donation to the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission from each student participating in the tournament as an entry fee to the tournament.  Prizes and awards for the top 10 competitors (including Amazon.com Gift Cards between $25-$100) will be provided by the Trojan Debate Squad.  We encourage debate directors to consider entering students in this tournament as a cost effective strategy to increase opportunities for students to debate this semester.  However, if you or your students face barriers to entry due to donation costs please feel free to contact me to discuss an alternate arrangement.

The goal of these debates is to encourage students to engage in a discussion of movement priorities and tactics, wherein they defend the prioritization of same-sex marriage on the affirmative, and offer a competing issue of priority when on the negative.  Students are encouraged to make well reasoned arguments supported by evidence, but to present their arguments in a style appropriate for a public audience.

Some reasons to participate in our event include:
The Trojan Web Debates are an important "next-step" in the evolution of our tournament model.  The most significant difference between our last event and the Trojan Web Debates is that this tournament will be conducted via YouTube rather than DebateHall.com.  A substantial aspect of this project is not simply to replicate the tournament model we created in April in a new platform - but to develop a model and rubric that can be easily deployed by any number of debate programs, student organizations, etc. to easily host debate competitions that allow students to participate independent of the costs of travel.  We also believe these tournaments are an important step toward connecting debate communities and students who wish to debate, who lack the institutional support of their colleges and universities.  Moreover, shifting to YouTube allows students who have access to cell phones with video cameras and mobile Internet to participate in our event.  While our ability to leverage social media in the last iteration of our tournament model was limited, we anticipate posting debates to Facebook, Twitter, and a variety of other social media to encourage public engagement, as well as facilitate easy sharing of debates between debaters and their peers.

Please join us as we take the next step in creating new opportunities for student and public engagement with debate.  Please feel free to pass along this e-mail or any information about our tournament to students, and to contact us if you have any questions.

Thanks,

Jim Maritato
Assistant Director of Public Debate & Forensics
Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism
University of Southern California
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973-879-3303