[eDebate] To any relevant coaching parties at U of O
Wed Apr 12 21:50:22 CDT 2006
I'm posting this to both listserves, given that I've seen a stratification of position and stance that seem somewhat inconsistent. Please correct me if I'm wrong...and I sincerely hope I am.
I read a post written by Aaron Donaldson I believe (I'm not familiar with the handles on the parli listserve). It was a response to Derek Buscher, a colleague at UPS. In that response, the U of O administration said the following:
"All that said....would it be possible for us to field policy teams next season...yes. We don't want to create the perception that they have been funded out."
I read this post with great sympathy for the administrators at U of O, realizing that none have faculty appointments, that all are graduate students managing as best they can, that there were some decisions about U of O's policy team that were unfortunate (like foregoing Gonzaga and purchasing last minute plane tickets to Ga. State in the wake of crazed fuel prices sparked by massive hurricanes that had shut down national refining capabilities). I could also sympathize that these administrators had to deal with parli debaters who are greater in number and were becoming increasingly upset watching policy debaters fly to Ga State and Wake while they continued to compete within certain travel limits that still provided competitive options.
You were misinformed (I don't know by whom) when you were told that U of O debaters couldn't get a competitive schedule within reasonable distances. Israel's proposal for a travel schedule is an example of a great schedule that is vastly more affordable than U of O's schedule this last year.
From Israel's perspective, he says he was unaware of how tight things were and the difficulties that had been created by policy's national travel. I think he's been shocked into budgetary reality by your announcement. I don't think that he was trying to be cavalier about U of O's resources but students aren't administrators and most students couldn't guess correctly what the most expensive tournament on any travel schedule is (I know mine can't). It looks like he's negotiating in good faith in order to allow you flexible room to honor your previous promise that policy has not been "funded out." If this is not true, then you can corrrect the record publicly.
With promises secured from the policy debate community to help with fee waivers. In many cases attendees or tournament administrators can arrange for floor space for teams in need. Alums have offered to coach, travel and judge for free as evidenced by openly made promises on the parli listserv. If Israel is the only debater then he can debate as a hybrid at all of the tournaments on his proposed schedule, which means you can split the costs and the coaching/judging burden with another program.
In light of all of these stipulations, I don't see the reason why you would stand firm that the decision to debate only in parli has been made. I do understand that if you were to give Israel the green light that you would stand firm on the conditions under which policy debates -- you get this dollar amount as your budget (no more, no less), you solicit alum suport for coaching and judging, you go to these specified tournaments unless you exhaust the specified budget at which point your season is over.
If the parli team is still upset competing alongside with the most straitjacketed existence of policy debate possible, then they have no appreciation for their colleagues.
At one point, I thought U of O's coaching position was one of recalcitrant parli hacks, who frankly didn't like working with the policy debaters they had at their program, but your statements on the parli listserv are quite to the contrary. You praise policy debate as a pedagogical method. You also praise Israel as someone you have enjoyed working with. So from a very outsider perspective (outside of parli, outside of dual service program administration, outside of U of O, outside of the Northwest region), I don't get the final decision in terms of the concessions that have been made to facilitate U of O to continue as a dual service program.
I understand this has been a hard conversation to have, especially with policy folks. Stannard's got a heart as big as all of Wyoming and he loves debate in ALL of its forms (he stops me at policy tournaments all the time having just come off of his cell phone with the latest results of X parli round robin or tournament), and he loves Izzy (because everyone who has met him, does) and he loves the U of O tradition. At the end of the day, when you talk about dismantling a policy program, you are talking about the competitive tradition that many of us came from, you're talking about our colleagues and friends, your talking about our views on academic freedom and ultimately you're talking about our livelihoods, so it follows that these conversations will be heated.
I'm trying my best to be measured in the face of what continues to be increasing questions regarding the decision to stop debating policy while keeping policy as a possible funded option.
So what gives?
Veronica M. Guevara
Weber State University
Dept. of Communications
1605 University Circle
Ogden, UT 84408
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