November 2013


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D Register <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
USA Debating in the WUDC Format <[log in to unmask]>
Fri, 22 Nov 2013 12:18:50 -0500
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I went back and read Josh's email (pasted below for reference).  The
questions he raises about the problems with the unregulated (former) status
quo have been answered repeatedly in other threads both here and on the
forum, so I'm assuming when Tuna claims this post has been largely
unanswered he's referring to the use of insults instead of arguments.  I'm
not at all sure what about the current conversation could be perceived as
insult.  Steve seems a bit blunt in his most recent response, but I don't
think any of it is an insult.  It seems like debate to me.  Is this some
call for an apology?  I'm not sure why this is relevant to the current
conversation.  The USUDA exists. There are now 16 member institutions.  The
NAUDC charter was passed at Hart House.

I assume (call it an educated guess after so many years working with Tuna)
that Vermont will join the USUDA.  But, as i said yesterday, I hope that
anyone who privately opposes the USUDA will step into the light and let
people know about potential problems they foresee (for the benefit of
everyone who has the intent to make the best USU possible).  I hope that
this doesn't devolve into some kind of theatrical spectacle at Purdue, with
people claiming their principled opposition only at that time (or trying to
derail the process of voting).  I think we are better than that, and I
agree with Josh's sentiment that we are often constructive in face-to-face
meetings even if some folks are rude behind the keyboard.  The point of the
USUDA is to make transparent a process that before was not.  I think Tuna
raises some valid concerns about the position(s) of development
director(s), so maybe we can continue that part of the conversation?  If
there is a fear among the membership that there is a problem with this
position, we can always amend the constitution to eliminate that position.
 I, however, think it's a good idea to make USU as free from cost as
possible.  There hasn't seemed to be any effort(s) outside of the yearly
host to make that happen, but I've only been attending USUs since 2008 (so
maybe someone can fill me in on previous efforts?).



I have not made a response to any of the recent emails chains regarding the
USU constitution, NAUDC charter, or the CA/DCA, etc. issues stemming from

The main reason is that I have not been sure what to say.  Some of the
emails have seemed ridiculous considering the current status of debate in
our region.  However, they raise valid concerns if our activity moves
forward in the direction that we would hope it does.  And if we are going
to set a "constitution" it should address those now.  Some emails have seen
written just to insult, blurring the line between working out disagreements
on how debating should be done, and ad hoc attacks. Other people seem as
though they are genuinely attempting to find a real solution.

What is interesting to me, (and this phenomenon is not unique to our
conversation, but rather seen in online interactions everywhere) is that
none of the discouraging aspects of this emails show up when we meet in
person to discuss issues.  Typically, even though there are disagreements,
there is a constructive dialogue in which everyone maintains a certain
modicum of civility.  Maybe everyone is thinking horrible things about each
other, but sitting face to face with them stops these personal thoughts
from coming out and poisoning the conversation.  I suppose having the
computer screen in between everyone makes them all a lot more prone to
insults (and yes, this is ME complaining about people crossing a line).  To
be perfectly blunt, on a personal level I could care less who insults who.
But, you all are the "coaches" that (at least in the US) are seen as the
people who should be running this activity, and has already been pointed
out by people considering joining us (and s!
 ubsequently ignored or ridiculed) this makes our activity and community
look like garbage.  Telling these people that they are wrong or just "dont
get it" is not going to make them want to join which defeats the purpose of
us having whatever sort of "organization" this is supposed to be resembling.

Which leads me to my question, with a couple votes still needed for USU
constitution and the NAUDC charter proposal in its infancy.  What was the
problem that we had with the previous system of an unregulated process?
 And is it possible that trying to codify the process is creating more
problems than it is resolving?  It would seem to me, to take a specific
concern like the inclusion of Mexico, that it would not be difficult at all
at a coach's meeting, were Mexico to want to bid to host, to vote on that
bid.  If it makes sense, we do it.  If not, we don't.  But trying to set
into stone rules governing a future that is still evolving is OBVIOUSLY
posing some serious challenges here.  As I go through all of the arguments
that are taking place, each one seems to me to fall into that same
category.  The answers are all common sense if approached year by year,
tournament by tournament.  They are all at the same time, impossible to
find if we try to standardize these tournaments!
  as if they will be the same 10 years from now as they will be next year.

To be perfectly clear, although I realize this seems to be me pushing for
one answer to my question, that is not the case.  Consider that I am just
playing devil's advocate here and pointing out some things that I feel are
missing from the discussion.  If a coherent constitution, that can address
these concerns, comes into existence without the process turning into an
email chain of personal insults and driving away potential new schools,
then I am all for it.  I just wonder, given the direction that things have
taken, if this is possible.



On Fri, Nov 22, 2013 at 3:37 AM, Alfred Snider <[log in to unmask]>wrote:

>  Not sure what to think of this.
>    - I agree with some things but continue to discuss others and it is
>    "line by line" argumentation, which is some sort of shameful activity.
>    - I mention a thoughtful post by Josh Martin and I am chided for being
>    in a weekend competition.
>    - I mention a failed example of fundraising in the absence of any
>    example of success and I am accused of poisoning the well and engaging in a
>    "classical fallacy." But you at least you do admit that fundraising is an
>    activity that will take a legal structure.
> No one has denied that we should be aware of legal issues and consult with
> our universities about this.
> I think that unless we learn from previous fundraising efforts that have
> failed your dream of a free USU may not happen.
> Brad Burns has a good comment about a waiver. I agree that it is a sad
> statement that we might need such things.
> My goal has been to raise awareness of legal issues that people had been
> largely ignoring. Having done that, I guess my purpose is met. I am not
> trying to score higher than you or defeat you. A legal false step by any of
> our precious debate programs would be a tragedy. I trust all of us will do
> what we think is best. I have tried very hard to be supportive of USU as an
> event, and have hosted it more than anyone except John Meany, who
> originated it.
> You obviously have done what you think is best on this and I thank you for
> your efforts at drafting the USUDA document and working on it as you have.
> Best wishes,
> Tuna
> On 11/22/13 3:20 AM, Stephen Llano wrote:
> Not sure why line by line argumentation is the way to go on an email list,
> nor do I understand what it means that an argument hasn't been "answered"
> outside of some weekend competition.
>  I will say that I think lawyers and University policies disagree about
> indemnity and liability. If people bidding feel this will be a liability
> issue after consulting with their administration then they probably should
> not bid.
>  I think people that want to participate in the decision making process
> but are worried about being sued can still do so and just not have the
> title, or a committee can be formed. Or if they are advised by their
> university not to be an officer, then they shouldn't do it. The officer
> positions are quite flexible.
>  Not sure what WSDC's failures or the classical fallacy of poisoning the
> well/guilt by association are meant to persuade me to do. My position is
> that it would be nice to have some sort of coordinated fundraising effort
> to make USU free. This is, of course, where there are liability questions
> and legal questions are really acute, and must be wrangled with as an
> organization. The members will do this when the time is appropriate. If
> people wish to raise money for a purpose on their own they can do so, and I
> think it's pretty clear that there's nothing in the works now that would
> chill people from their own efforts. The membership can decide on
> transparency of these operations when they begin.
>  I am interested to see what happens with the organization, it might fail
> which is fine, it might succeed which is fine. People will test the waters
> of participation here and there. I think USU is nice to have, and it would
> be good if people could work collectively under a structure to ensure that
> particular tasks have leadership and are addressed and people feel
> encouraged to share their views under a rubric of structure and procedure.
> It provides some nice guidelines that might encourage faculty and students
> to work together on some cool things.
>  Steve
> On Thu, Nov 21, 2013 at 2:38 PM, Brad Burns <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>> All,
>>  For one, I agree with DReg that it is extremely unclear how this is the
>> distinct from the status quo, where everyone votes to award a bid in much
>> the same way as the USUDC - bottom line is I don't think *any* of these
>> concerns are unique to the new organization, though this may be a valuable
>> legal discussion extracted from that.
>>  That being said, even if there are still concerns, can't they all be
>> alleviated by having everyone at USUs sign a waiver?  Perhaps I am
>> demonstrating my shocking lack of legal knowledge, but this seems like a
>> very simple, but effective, solution - even if I am somewhat saddened that
>> we might be at a point in our community where that might be necessary.
>>  Cheers,
>> Brad
>> On Thu, Nov 21, 2013 at 2:22 PM, D Register <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>>> Tuna,
>>> Again, interesting comments/questions.  I'll address the money thing
>>> first.  If the development coordinator (or committee) fails to raise money,
>>> the development coordinator (or committee) fails to raise money.  There is,
>>> frankly, no impact.  It would be nice to have a cheaper national
>>> tournament.  If it turns out that it's not possible because there's too
>>> much hassle, then it turns out that it's not possible because there's too
>>> much hassle.  The result would be... the same as the status quo.
>>>  As for most of the other stuff... the problems you describe are the
>>> status quo as well.  If what you say is true, than all the people who vote
>>> for a USU bid in a world of no USUDA are at risk as well.  A de facto
>>> organization already has existed (no one has questioned that point at any
>>> time).  The difference between the status quo and the USUDA is that with
>>> the USUDA there are codified voting procedures.  That's not a significant
>>> difference were a lawsuit to happen.  Let's all hope nothing bad happens at
>>> Purdue this year, since all of us who voted to award the bid are exposed to
>>> risk.  I do want to repeat the question, however, since I don't feel like
>>> it's been addressed: What is the "something bad" that you're talking about?
>>>  What possible lawsuit do you see happening?  I think this is *very*important, especially since we're all liable if something happens at
>>> Purdue.  Lawsuits tend to focus on details, so details here might help us
>>> all move forward in the most productive/least exposed manner.
>>>  As for mission creep... These are rules for voting on USU bids and
>>> trying to help facilitate the best tournament possible.  Any broadening of
>>> the function of the USUDA beyond that means the USUDA is dissolved (see the
>>> section at the bottom of the document).  I feel like you're conflating
>>> voting procedures with some kind of overarching organization (like CEDA),
>>> but fail to recognize that the USUDA is not at all similar to something
>>> like that.  I would like to reiterate Steve's appeal for people to read the
>>> actual document, instead of making claims based on the fear of what the
>>> USUDA might be/become.
>>>  I'm not sure what you mean when you reference Josh's appeal to
>>> civility, but I vaguely remember people engaging in personal insult instead
>>> of arguments.  If that's what you mean, yes.  Civility is good.  But,
>>> haven't we also resolved that Meany and Shengwu engaging in snark is also a
>>> valuable (and entertaining) form of argument?
>>>  I know (based on various backchannels) that there are a couple of
>>> schools who intend to NOT join the USUDA based on principle, although the
>>> principle has not been articulated.  I'm not about to out anyone here, but
>>> I hope that more folks will choose to engage as you have, Tuna.  Debate is
>>> good (and all of that).
>>>  David
>>> On Thu, Nov 21, 2013 at 10:41 AM, Alfred Snider <[log in to unmask]>wrote:
>>>>  See below. Mostly agree, but..
>>>> On 11/21/13 4:56 AM, Stephen Llano wrote:
>>>> Dear Tuna,
>>>>  Good questions. At this point I think the appropriate place to ask
>>>> these questions is to the general membership and what they would like to do
>>>> about them.
>>>>  My opinion is based on a reminder that this organization has one
>>>> function, to streamline and make sense of the process of selecting a host
>>>> for USU. So concerns about sanctioning, deciding who gets to participate,
>>>> etc. are not relevant to the organization.
>>>>  As far as insurance goes, I believe any host would need to look into
>>>> the liability matter as they would for any tournament, and follow their
>>>> procedures. Since this organization does no sanctioning and is not hosting
>>>> any competitions, I don't think there would be any need for insurance. I
>>>> think there's a big difference between hosting your event on someone's
>>>> campus and facilitating someone's desire to host an event. I believe the
>>>> host would not be USU, but the school who is bidding, as it's always been.
>>>>  Ask a lawyer. I am told that if you award a bid to a host, then you
>>>> are also responsible. You agree to hold it WITH them.
>>>>  Of course, general membership can change this as they see fit and
>>>> explore these options.
>>>>  On the money issue, I believe it would be great for this organization
>>>> to raise money to make USU free or inexpensive to all who wish to come, so
>>>> that's why I included the development officer position. This of course will
>>>> require some work to see what needs to be done in order to raise and
>>>> distribute funds to hosts in ways that do not violate non-profit status of
>>>> host institutions, etc. It's something that will be explored in the future
>>>> by those who wish to hold this position or work with those who hold the
>>>> position, and most likely will require some legal assistance.
>>>>  The WSDC Charity formed for precisely this purpose. The result has
>>>> been NOTHING. Lots of expense and hassle to form a legal charity, and no
>>>> money. My point is that if an organization takes responsibility for
>>>> something then nobody else does stuff. Saying there is a magic wand for
>>>> finding money is usually inappropriate ("Let's create an organization to
>>>> raise money," like "Let's hire a fundraising expert" are both too familiar
>>>> and ineffective). Name an organization connected to debate who has done it
>>>> well (without George Soros).
>>>>  Please note that having a position in the organization officially
>>>> does not preclude someone working with the person who has that title, or
>>>> forgoing the title and having a committee work that position. But I find it
>>>> strange to think that if something happened at a tournament that those who
>>>> facilitated the bidding process would be held liable. It's possible I
>>>> guess, but I think any host of any tournament should learn and apply the
>>>> procedures that their institution follows. And as Mike pointed out,
>>>> everyone who works in debate should be aware of them too.
>>>>  You award the bid, you are part of it. The university faces a legal
>>>> issue, and they drag you in. Who will pay to defend you when this happens?
>>>>  Finally, I hope everyone realizes that this is not an organization
>>>> that will sanction debates, say what debate is or is not, or say which
>>>> tournaments matter and which don't. The only thing the organization exists
>>>> to do is to facilitate the process of agreeing where we have a national
>>>> championship tournament. I encourage everyone to carefully read the
>>>> document outlining the organizations scope and powers and realize that this
>>>> is not the creation of a national organization to govern BP debate in the
>>>> US, but merely to make our process for choosing a national tournament site
>>>> centralized, accessible, and easy to follow so that we can encourage a
>>>> large, diverse number of bids in the future.
>>>>  I do not think USUDA will do any harm (unless there is legal trouble)
>>>> but my opinion is that often when we form an organization we tend to look
>>>> to it to solve our problems and that demobilizes us.
>>>> Josh Martin's post about a lack of civility is still largely
>>>> unanswered.
>>>> I hope I am wrong. I hope USUDA finds great bids, raises money, etc. We
>>>> shall see.
>>>> Tuna
>>>>  Best, Steve
>>>> On Wed, Nov 20, 2013 at 12:20 PM, Alfred Snider <[log in to unmask]>wrote:
>>>>> Just a couple of questions before I sign on:
>>>>> Will the organization be legally constituted?
>>>>> Will it have a budget of any sort and/or will it raise funds?
>>>>> Will officers be indemnified or insured against damages?
>>>>> New Scenario: School X organizes USU with USUDA. Something bad
>>>>> happens, a lawsuit begins. Campus X dos not want to be responsible so they
>>>>> sue the organizers, USUDA. USUDA has no policy, so officers are responsible.
>>>>> Old scenario: No one to blame, so host has to handle it.
>>>>> This is what my legal adviser has told me to ask. I am told that if it
>>>>> is not insured, don't be an officer.
>>>>> Not trying to rain on any parade, but curious.
>>>>> Tuna
>>>>> On 11/20/13 6:11 PM, D Register wrote:
>>>>>> Greetings all,
>>>>>> This is a reminder that folks can declare themselves members of the
>>>>>> USUDA here:
>>>>>> A current list of members is located here:
>>>>>> Best,
>>>>>> David Register
>>>>>> Bard College
>>>>> --
>>>>> ========================
>>>>> Edwin Lawrence Professor of Forensics, University of Vermont
>>>>> Director, Lawrence Debate Union; Director, World Debate Institute
>>>>> 475 Main Street, UVM, Burlington, VT 05405 USA
>>>>> 802-238-8345 mobile, 802-656-0097 office, 802-656-4275 fax
>>>>> @asnider Twitter
>>>>  --
>>>> _____
>>>> Stephen Llano, Ph.D.
>>>> Director of Debate and Assistant Professor, Department of Rhetoric,
>>>> Communication & Theater
>>>> St. Johnís University
>>>> Queens, NY
>>>> 718-990-5606(voice) 718-990-2435 (fax)
>>>> callto://stevellano -- Skype Me!
>>>> "Knit the brows, and a strategem comes to mind." - Lo Kuan-chung,
>>>> Romance of the Three Kingdoms.
>>>> "Poetry is a rival government always in opposition to its cruder
>>>> replicas." - William Carlos Williams
>>>> --
>>>> ========================
>>>> Edwin Lawrence Professor of Forensics, University of Vermont
>>>> Director, Lawrence Debate Union; Director, World Debate Institute
>>>> 475 Main Street, UVM, Burlington, VT 05405 USA802-238-8345 mobile, 802-656-0097 office, 802-656-4275 fax
>>>> @asnider Twitter
>  --
> _____
> Stephen Llano, Ph.D.
> Director of Debate and Assistant Professor, Department of Rhetoric,
> Communication & Theater
> St. Johnís University
> Queens, NY
> 718-990-5606(voice) 718-990-2435 (fax)
> callto://stevellano -- Skype Me!
> "Knit the brows, and a strategem comes to mind." - Lo Kuan-chung, Romance
> of the Three Kingdoms.
> "Poetry is a rival government always in opposition to its cruder
> replicas." - William Carlos Williams
> --
> ========================
> Edwin Lawrence Professor of Forensics, University of Vermont
> Director, Lawrence Debate Union; Director, World Debate Institute
> 475 Main Street, UVM, Burlington, VT 05405 USA802-238-8345 mobile, 802-656-0097 office, 802-656-4275 fax
> @asnider Twitter