Good questions.  I hope some of the other folks who helped create this organization will contribute here as well.  Also, I wish you had asked these questions before the document was ratified, since perhaps then you wouldn't feel the need to defend this from the perception that you're raining on some parade.  

I don't know what "legally constituted" means in this instance.  Please clarify. If you mean, "will the advisory council be seen as legally distinct from the membership?", I don't think so.  All the advisory council positions are voluntary, and don't represent elected/nominated/appointed leadership.  There's also no central leadership.  These are just positions many people can choose to occupy at once that are intended to make the best USUDC possible.  

In terms of responsibility for a lawsuit, what do you mean?  What is "something bad happens"?  What is the potential risk exposure for volunteers?  I think it's important that this discussion be as specific as possible, since organizational insurance is quite expensive and usually covers things that the USUDA would not be exposed to.  You and I are both following closely the events unfolding in the NDT/CEDA community regarding accusations of racism.  Is this the kind of thing you're asking about?  Or is it about safety at the tournament?  I'm not sure why the host school isn't responsible for "something bad" in the world of the USUDA.  The host school hosts.  The host is the organizer.  I'm not sure that a host has legal grounds to blame the members of the USUDA for something bad that happened at a tournament organized and executed by that host. The USUDA is about deciding where the tournament is hosted and getting educational material to interested participants.  It's about at least one other thing which I'll address separately.  

The USUDA is not intended to have an operating budget (again, it's about people volunteering to support one tournament a year).  However; the development director would seek grant and seed monies to help facilitate the tournament.  I'm not sure exactly what this would look like, but discussions when the constitution was being drafted tended toward the following: assisting with travel for teams that might face financial obstacles, food at the tournament, etc.  This is not an organization with membership dues.  I would be interested to know an attorney's perspective on this particular position.

If your attorney tells you not to be a volunteer, you should probably take that advice.  I'm not an attorney.  I'm also not in charge of the USUDA (in fact, no one is).  You raise important questions that I hope will be explored in more detail.


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.


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: http://bpforum.yaledebate.org/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=2319

A current list of members is located here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1kaiGgmw-5y44hEDm7IBl-2--jJYzqEehxA06tq8zMrU/edit?usp=sharing

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
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