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Workshops & Contests

One of our primary goals at the Douglass Forum is to provide our students with opportunities to develop their abilities to communicate persuasively about ideas that matter. In order to promote excellence in debate and advocacy, we will host a series of argumentation workshops headed by faculty mentors who will be assisted by experienced student debaters (Douglass Fellows). Participants in the argumentation workshops will be invited to enter into debate and persuasive speaking contests sponsored by the Forum. Winners of the debate and persuasive speaking competitions will receive cash prizes. 

Friday, December 7th in Riley 201 at 12:00pm - Undergraduate Persuasive Speaking Competition

Please join us for the pilot contest in the Douglass Forum's series of Workshops & Contests! 

This semester, the Douglass Forum sponsored an argumentation workshop (led by Pamela Karlan of Stanford Law School and Justin Dyer of the University of Missouri) and a persuasive speaking competition on the question: should Oregon law recognize same-sex marriage?

Participants were required to attend the argumentation workshop on Monday, November 26th from 4:15pm to 5:15pm and the same-sex marriage debate between Professor Karlan and Professor Dyer at 7:30pm in Ice Auditorium. The persuasive speaking contest (5-7 minute speeches in response to the question – details below) will be held on Friday, December 7th at noon in Riley 201. There will be a $500 prize for 1st place and a $250 prize for 2nd place.

Instructions for the Persuasive Speaking Contest

In 2004, Oregon voters enacted Measure 36, which amended the state's constitution to define marriage as a union of one man and one woman. Over the last several years, Basic Rights Oregon has been thinking about bringing the issue back before the voters. According to the latest news reports, Oregon voters are likely to be reconsidering the marriage issue in 2014. 

Should the state of Oregon recognize same-sex marriage?

The contestants have prepared a 5 to 7 minute persuasive speech that responds to this question.

Please note that the "should" in the question leaves open the possibility that you can draw on constitutional values, but it does not limit you to doing so. In other words, since the mission of the Forum is to promote the serious discussion of the rule of law, individual rights, and competing conceptions of justice, we are framing this question in a way that will allow participants to draw on constitutional sources but also conceptions of justice that may go beyond the Constitution.