POST MORTEM ON CEDA

Sue E. Lowrie suee
Wed Sep 24 12:02:29 CDT 1997


Well...I for one found this message to be both disturbing and depressing.
But, one that probably needed to be heard all the same.  I guess I'm just
the sort of person who would rather see the glass half full than laying on
the ground in bits and pieces.  But, I felt compelled to respond, even
though I don't really have the time on my hands to do so.

I came to intercollegiate debate a long time ago for one semester.  I
competed on the Censorship topic, and my partner and I ran a
"quasi-policy" case, and were told by open debate critics that it was
"bull shit" and we should just run policy.  At that point in time, I had
no idea what alot of this meant.  I had never heard of NDT, and had never
taken an argumentation class.  I was overwhelmed by CEDA debate in a
region that consisted of mostly small schools (JCs mostly as a matter of
fact) and I quit to go back to working my regular schedule instead of 4 am
to noon to get to debate class...but, alas...I couldn't stay away.  Three
years later I showed up in the same squad room with financial aid
(allowing only part time work), an agenda for higher education, and some
unexplainable compulsion to debate.  That was the violent crime
topic...and
most people were running policy cases...

After spending a year competing at the JC, I followed in the footsteps of
many successful debaters in our region and transferred to CSU Chico.  The
open level team at Chico consisted, the year before, of Matt Siemens, Pat
Gehrke, and Gina Ercolini.  Gina having to go out of state for a hybrid
partner.  I think that pretty much qualified them as a SMALL squad.  Pat
and Matt had gone to quarter finals at Nationals...and I had witnessed all
of the outrounds leading up to it.  I was never made to feel like we
couldn't achieve certain things because we were a "small squad".

Our area is quickly disentegrating into pure parli.  The reasons are
many...and I spent a weekend at a Coach's conference discussing this and
other problems in our area.  The rule passed last year through CEDA
counting Parli against eligibility to compete in novice CEDA has crushed
our hopes of transforming parli debaters into policy debaters.  And
this during a time when we have teams and coaches in our area who are very
supportive of keeping CEDA alive.

The Northern California Forensics Association (our region) consists
largely of JC competitors, and the four-year institutions RELY on those JC
competitors to guarantee the future of our programs.  Right now on the CSU
Chico's debate team we have four JC transfers, all seniors, all who
competed in at least triple octos last year at Nationals.  It is difficult
to recruit with a small budget, no out of state tuition wavers for
undergraduates, and a small squad (albeit an awesome grad assistant staff
this year!)...but, when you have feeder programs in the area, it makes it
much much easier.

I guess what I'm trying to say with this is many of you out there may
think that Dr. Berube is being extremist and inciting to riot without any
reason.  But, for many of us, this Death of CEDA is a serious issue.  I,
for one, can not accept that this activity may not be available to others
who walk into that squad room at Sacramento City College.  Although I may
be leaving the region to pursue a graduate degree next year, I will always
speak proudly and fondly of the Northern California Region.  I can only
hope that others will be able to say the smae in years to come.

What can you do...what can we do?  Well, first of all...take the time and
effort to LISTEN to the JC coaches and what they want and need....if we
really care about diversity in this organization (which I believe we do)
than the perfect place to breed that is at the JC level.  This is a place
we can reach the non-traditional college students...re-entry, minority,
socio-economically disadvantaged as well as learning disabled.  All
valuable populations to include in our community.  I have seen the wonders
that JC's can produce (not including myself!) and I don't want our
community to miss out on those future wonders!

Our region is doing its best to present a unified front on the goal of
keeping policy debate active and alive in our region.  I don't care
whether it's called CEDA or NDT or ARGUE...I just want others to have the
ability to experience what I have experienced.  This activity is of the
utmost value to me, and many others with who I am personally involved.  I
want to be able to attend nationals...whatever nationals it may be...and
say "that teams from MY region..." (which Northern California will always
be).

Praise, support and goodwill is something this region has ALWAYS given to
me.  I hope I can return all of that and more.  I think it's time for all
of us in CEDA, NDT, NEDA...whatever....to start thinking about what this
activity has given us, and start to make sure we give something back.

So, in conclusion to my long rambling...let's make sure policy debate
continues...and let's make sure it's inclusive of many.  Hopefully, the
post mortem of Dr. Berube was a bit premature...the miracles of the human
will to survive and all!

Sue Lowrie
Chico State Debate '97-98
"Demented and sad, but social."
******************************************
*       Rhetoric is nothing but          *
*   reason well dressed, and argument    *
*           put in order.                *
*                  --Jeremy Collier      *
******************************************

>From  Wed Sep 24 13:10:34 1997
Message-Id: <WED.24.SEP.1997.131034.0400.>
Date: Wed, 24 Sep 1997 13:10:34 -0400
Reply-To: MWBRYANT at AOL.COM
To: Team Topic Debating in America <EDEBATE at LIST.UVM.EDU>
From: Michael Bear Bryant <MWBRYANT at AOL.COM>
Subject: To Dr. Berube, Mortician
Comments: To: berube at garnet.cla.sc.edu

In a message dated 97-09-24 11:51:54 EDT, The DarkLord writes:

< I had this discussion with Tuna this weekend and thought I would
< share.

Uh huh...why not just tell us what we have to do to have "soul." Say hi to El
Presidente

< CEDA is dead.  It's over.

Sound the troll sirens. Don't you think the prognosis is "change", not
"death?" Why are you trying to overly emotionalize the issue? Why do you not
tell us what you're advocating?

< It started a few years before the Mexico topic when the topic committee
decided to < forego the non-policy  topics and opt for policy ones.  The next
nail came in the    < middle of  the Mexico season when we decided to extend
the topic for the entire
< year.  The final nail was driven by the NDT when it decided to debate  our
policy    < topic.  Finishing touches have included opting for the
< 9-3-6 format, etc.

Wow! I thought you and Tuna were at the forefront of promoting most of these
changes. Frankly, many of these changes are ones that offer the most hope of
moving beyond the petty organizational biases of the past. Progress is slow,
I'll admit, but there are clear signs of rapprochement. So are you really
going to stand behind the insinuation that 9-3-6 is the floral bouquet on top
of the casket containing CEDA? Or that convergence between NDT and CEDA has
"killed" CEDA?

< CEDA has no soul.

So, let me get this right.....You and the President of CEDA agree that CEDA
is both dead and soulless. Frankly, I find that wrong and manipulative. I
think you are playing to certain element that you're trying to mobilize. If
you have a noble goal that you're trying to pitch, throw the ball, Dave. But,
if you think that you can "shame" us into some mega-project, I suggest you
and Tuna remember your own promotion of the dying corpse of CEDA over the
last couple of years. Thank god for archives.

<  It doesn't do much more than host a national
< tournament and count team sweepstakes points.  The complain voiced
< about the NDT committee has returned to haunt the CEDA organization.

That's what the complaints were? I have a number of problems with the way the
NDT Committee has interpreted its mandate of representation, so it's limited
bureacratic reach was a clear strongpoint. So, if CEDA is dead, are you
inferring that NDT is even colder?

<CEDA has committees which do not meet and accomplish little.  While
< CEDA sponsors a journal and NDT does not, that is hardly a strong
< case for its perpetuity.  While we met in Chicago to organize a
< developmental conference, nothing has happened -- no date, no site,
< no agenda,  NADA.

Oh, I think I'm beginning to see....We need more bureaucratic structure. CEDA
needs to find its soul by doing some undisclosed act that will both resurrect
it from the dead and give re-birth to its soul. Something that will make a
better world for us all....

< Programs a going parly for lots of reasons.  JCs can hardly support
< an organization which with its year long topic provides them with
< only two opportunities to recruit.

So is Tuna repudiating his archived statistical analysis, which claimed that
parli's growth was mainly from new programs, not programs switching from
CEDA? And I'm a little confused by your specific syntax - are you saying that
year-long topics are killing JCs? Any data, buddy?

< Policy topics generally have a
< more restricted breadth of issues (it's a tense - mood issue).

Yeah. Particuarly policy topics were people try to really be topical, right?
"Tense-mood"? Upcoming paper, Dave? So, are you arguing for a larger breadth
of issues in CEDA topics? I don't think those JCs you mention above will be
real helped by that.

<  We
< debate a bevy of arguments over and over again.

Yeah, didn't Aristotle call them "topoi?" Maybe Johnny can invent some new
generics for CEDA. So, you ARE advocating increasing the research burden on
little schools?

<  This is a serious
< threat to small programs, esp. JCs.  Young and less experienced
< coaches do not find occupational fulfillment in being fodder for the
< big programs.

CEDA still has enough regional tournaments, with enough divisions, that most
people find some means of occupational fulfillment. Your above chain of
reasoning seems to imply that we need two-a-year broader value topics to help
JC debaters and coaches. Boy, that's just not the complaints I'm hearing
lodged against CEDA. Frankly, I'm also a little concerned about what some of
the more experienced coaches believe they have to do to achieve occupational
fulfillment.

< If CEDA wants a future, find one.  Nothing about the present seems
< very hopeful.

Well, I bet that helps snag those critical corporate donors.

Look, Dave, I know you and Tuna are good people. Just make your proposal.
Don't engage in these over-emotional swipes at both CEDA and NDT. Your
announcement of CEDA's spiritual death is, of course, a bit premature. I'm
really troubled by your need to anthromorphize an organizational bureaucracy
for undisclosed persuasive advocacy. In my Persuasion class that's called
propaganda.


< Toiling for a better world! Live the glory!
< Join the Global Debate Congress Project

< David M. Berube, Ph.D.

Dave, I really do respect you. I don't, however, respect the rhetorical
choices in your post and I hope that you can understand why. If not, then we
really are in trouble...

Bear,
hey, not all of us can live the glory of changing the world...some of us are
just working to keep ahead of Babylon-on-the-corner...




More information about the Mailman mailing list