Author Topic: Announcement: Owen L Coon Memorial Debates at Northwestern University  (Read 11468 times)

Dan Fitzmier

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Greetings from the Northwestern Debate Society.  I’m writing to announce that we will host the 54th Owen L. Coon Memorial Debates from February 4th through 6th, 2017.  We have agreed with Joel Rollins and the University of Texas Debate Team to resume our annual rotating schedule after Texas generously hosted three years in a row due to construction on the Northwestern campus.  Going forward, we have agreed that Northwestern will host in odd years and Texas will host in even years.  Texas will therefore host next in February 2018

We will post an extensive invitation and tournament guide as we nail down our final plans, but for now we wanted to share the basic information you need to plan your travel schedule.  Given the possibility of inclement weather, we will issue a snow-schedule in the final itinerary that will build in additional time for each debate.

Topic, Tabulation, and Team Numbers

We will debate the 2016-17 NDT-CEDA debate topic.  We will use our traditional format of eight preliminary debates followed by elimination debates breaking to the double-octafinals. We will employ side equalization and will break brackets as per tradition.  Gary Larson has graciously agreed to tabulate the tournament.   Northwestern is a member institution of the NDT, ADA, and CEDA; we will administer the tournament accordingly.

At this time, we hope to be able to accommodate all entries.  We may well have enough debating space on campus to do so.  However, in the interest of prudence we have set the entry cap at 120 teams.  Once we hit the cap your teams will be automatically added to the waitlist.  By then we will have more accurate information about how many rooms will be available on campus and will begin the process of raising the cap and working with large parties to ensure folks can bring as many teams as possible.

Transportation to Chicago and On Campus:

If you fly to Chicago, it is entirely possible to attend the tournament without having to rent additional ground transportation.  Hired cars and public transportation can get you to Evanston with ease from both O’Hare and Midway.  Once you are in the hotel, which is immediately adjacent to campus, Northwestern Debate will provide bus and shuttle service between the hotel and the debates on campus as needed. 

We are tremendously fortunate to have Northwestern alumna Cate Palczewski back with us to help administer the tournament alongside the current NU debaters and coaches. Fellow alumna Latonya Starks has also agreed to assist in our efforts to make our campus as accessible as possible for all tournament participants.  Further announcements regarding our accessibility program and contact information for participants with disabilities will follow in the official invitation and on this forum topic.  For now, suffice it to say that we are determined to make an extraordinary effort to assist all tournament participants with transportation and unique accommodations during the event, all the more so if we have challenging weather conditions.

Hotel and Tournament Pricing

We have reserved a large block of rooms at the Orrington.  The tournament rate will be $135 per night.  The Orrington has agreed to discount overnight parking for us, and we have arranged to provide free high speed internet for all tournament participants.  If needed we will add another block of rooms at the Hilton Garden Inn which is not much farther from campus than the Orrington.  We will include information regarding tournament fees in the invitation.

Tournament Provided Food

We traditionally provide breakfast and lunch on Saturday, all three meals on Sunday, and Breakfast and Lunch for the remaining tournament participants during the elimination debates on Monday.  We will provide the final details regarding tournament provided food in the invitation.

We are looking forward to see you in February!  I know I speak for the entire Debate Society and its alums when I say that hosting this event is something we look forward to; we are delighted that you will be joining us in Evanston again for a weekend of excellent debating after a three year stretch with our colleagues in Texas.  Please feel free to contact us with any questions you may have. 


Daniel J. Fitzmier on behalf of the Northwestern Debate Society

Dan Fitzmier

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Re: Announcement: Owen L Coon Memorial Debates at Northwestern University
« Reply #1 on: December 14, 2016, 07:23:46 PM »
We are looking forward to seeing everyone at the Owen L. Coon in February.  Included is hotel registration information.  We will be returning to the Orrington once again this year; it is located at 1710 Orrington Ave., Evanston, IL, 60201.
For reservations you have several options.  The hotel has suggested that you use the attached instructions to fill out a personalized web form that will enable you to easily manage your needs and coordinate with the hotel. 
You can also make your reservation via phone at 1-800-HILTONS or on the hotel website at by entering the code OCMD in the box marked "Group/Convention Code." 
Our sales contact at the Orrington is Lisa Lauren, and you should feel free to call her at 847-556-7940 if you have any additional questions about hotel arrangements.  Lisa asked me to note that individual reservations cancelled after the cut-off date of January 4 will be charged for 1 night room and tax.


Daniel J. Fitzmier
Director of Debate
Senior Lecturer
School of Communication
Northwestern University

LaTonya Starks

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My name is LaTonya Starks and I am an alumna, and current coach, of the Northwestern Debate Society.  Many of you have probably seen me around at tournaments.  If we have not yet met, we will soon.  I will be helping to run 54th Owen L. Coon Memorial Debates from February 4th-6th, 2017 on the campus of Northwestern University in Evanston, IL.  We are pleased to be able to bring back the OLC this year, after a long absence while our campus was under construction. 

While I will likely be wearing many hats during the tournament (all of them stylish, of course), I will also be directing our accessibility initiative.  We strive to serve as the chief point of contact for is heading up the accessibility initiative. I will be serving as the main point person, so any tournament participants with disabilities and/or health-related needs should contact me.
The goal is to do all that I can to make our campus as accessible as possible for each and every tournament participant and guest.  I have, and do grapple with my fair share of health, accessibility and transportation issues, and I can guarantee you that I take this matter quite seriously.  With that in mind, please feel free to contact me directly.  I can be reached by phone at (312)316-6102, or by email at: (all letters are lowercase).  Please let me know as soon as possible if you would like to avail yourself of this initiative, so that we can plan accordingly.

I am happy to announce that members of the Northwestern Debate Society will be happy to provide accessible transportation, limited room movement, and anything else we can reasonably accomplish to make the tournament experience as best as possible for all our guests.  We recognize that the scale of the tournament and the weather conditions at this time of year In Evanston pose unique challenges – please let us know what we can do to make this an exceptional experience.  We have committed extraordinary resources to accomplish this goal and aim to exceed your expectations in this regard. 
The debate community thrives because of its diversity.  Please join me in helping to continue the culture of inclusion and accessibility during the 54th Owen L. Coon Memorial Debates.  I look forward to hosting you all here in Evanston in February!

LaTonya K. Starks