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.


On Thu, Nov 21, 2013 at 2:22 PM, D Register <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

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). †


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.


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.


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:

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 USA
802-238-8345 mobile, 802-656-0097 office, 802-656-4275 fax
@asnider Twitter