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Election 2020: Virtual Debate Watch

University of Minnesota & University of Mary Washington Debate Teams to Co-host Virtual Debate Watch
September 29, 2020 - 7:30pm

Zoom Meeting Room: Registration is required

The debate teams from the University of Mary Washington and the University of Minnesota will jointly host a debate watch and dialogue session for the first presidential debate on Tuesday, September 29. The event will take place on Zoom and is open to students and the public. 

The DebateWatch Initiative encourages individuals to watch a debate, turn it off at the end before commentary, and discuss what they have learned. The goal of the program is to engage with other citizens in civil dialogue to discuss what they gained from watching the debate.

“These debates could prove decisive, and I am excited by the opportunity for our students to join their peers at UMW in participating in one of our nation’s most important political rituals: watching candidates perform under pressure side-by-side as they debate the future of our nation,” said Dr. David Cram Helwich, director of the University’s competitive and speech teams and a member of the Department of Communication Studies.

The debate will start at 8 pm CT, and participants will connect to the Zoom event shortly before the debate begins for a brief introduction. “We will let participants use the chat function to talk during the debate, and we will be periodically asking questions to gauge audience opinions,” said Adrienne Brovero of the University of Mary Washington, who is co-organizing the event with Dr. David Cram Helwich.

After the debate participants will be sent to breakout groups to discuss the debate. The post-debate discussions will be guided by a moderator and will focus on what participants learned.

The DebateWatch program was created by the Commission on Presidential Debates in 1996 as a voter education and civic engagement program. The 2020 CPD DebateWatch participants include nearly 200 schools and organizations across 45 states and 3 countries.

The University of Minnesota’s forensics program is a co-curricular program of the College of Liberal Arts and provides undergraduate students with an opportunity to enhance their educational experience by participating in a wide variety of forensics activities including speech and debate competitions, civic engagement opportunities, and public debate exhibitions. 

Registration is required. Registrants will be emailed a Zoom link the day before the debate. Capacity is limited to 300 participants.

For more information contact: Dr. David Cram Helwich, helwi0@umn.edu, Department of Communication Studies, University of Minnesota