TO: DUDL Coaches & Judges (Current, Former, and Interested)
FROM: DUDL Directors, Dr. Sydney Pasquinelli, John Lawson, and Darcell Brown
RE: “DUDL Revamp” ~ Important Upcoming Changes to the League
Dear coaches, judges, and teachers:
We have some news to announce regarding some important changes coming to the Detroit Urban Debate League.
As many of you know, the league has faced some significant changes in the past few years. The most significant of these changes can be summarized as: 1) COVID era and its impact on interscholastic activities; 2) the corresponding move of debate tournaments into online or hybrid formats; and 3) a simultaneous restructuring of the leadership of the Detroit Urban Debate League.
For the past few years, we have been adapting to the best of our abilities to make the best of these changing situations. Despite our best efforts, our participation rates have suffered, especially amongst Detroit-based schools. We want to turn that around and create an environment where more schools and more students have the opportunity to participate in speech & debate events at Wayne State University.
As such, we will be making some dramatic changes to the league. We cannot give details yet, as we have not finalized any changes, but we anticipate modifying the league in the following ways: new debate formats and topics, the addition of individual speech events, a new season schedule with several one-day events on Wayne State Campus. Our goal is to create a league with fewer barriers-to-entry than our current structure; in other words, we want the league to be easier for new schools to join and current teams to continue to grow! This will include schools without experienced coaches and/or alumni.
Because we are planning such big changes, we will need time! We need to meet with our board, our sponsors, our coaches, and amongst ourselves, so that we can get all the pieces of this revamped puzzle together. As such, we will be taking a pause on running our normal operations, to prepare for our relaunch in 2024.
Our next season will begin in the 2024-2025 school year, with a grand re-opening event occurring sometime in 2024. Please give us time to work out the details. In return we will keep all current and interested members updated regularly throughout the “DUDL revamp” process.
We are sorry for any disappointment this may cause for programs or students wishing to participate in the upcoming DUDL season. But the pause on DUDL events does not mean students can’t compete! One of our primary tasks in the revamp period will be sharing resources to help our current schools access regional and/or online debate competitions.
Thank you for your continued support to the league and most importantly the students! We have faith that we can create a new and improved version of the league, with greater participation from more students at more schools!
Do not hesitate to reach out to Darcell, John, and/or Sydney with questions or concerns regarding your own program and what these changes mean for your team. We will continue advising coaches to ensure that all our current programs can stick around through the transition period as well.
Darcell Brown, Operations Director
John Lawson, Executive Director
Dr. Sydney Pasquinelli, Program Director