[eDebate] Roe v. Wade - program issues

Illinois Debate illinoisdebate
Tue Apr 11 13:47:06 CDT 2006

Maybe universities are different from other organizations and they won't
practice risk aversion to the degree that I was expecting when I put forth
my initial concerns.  I think we all know how controversial and heated the
abortion issue can be.  Thanks for the feedback from everyone.  We just
found out working with the poli sci department is kind of a dead end for
other reasons.  We're working with the honors college now, and I doubt
they'll care about the topic.

-Tim Glass
Coach, U of I Debate

On 4/10/06, Jennifer Schramm <jen.schramm at gmail.com> wrote:
> I agree wholeheartedly with Kathryn on this one (as well as her
> assentors)
> The argument that a debate topic has to be politically neutral in
> order to appeal to campus administrators is non-unique and yet
> another line in a series of excuses used to justify exclusion of
> women/minorities/etc in the debate community.
> Here we stand on the precipice of history...or rather...debate
> history- that is, we are near broaching a topic that has thus been
> deemed unspeakable in the community: a topic that ACTUALLY makes us
> confront our social positions in light of current events that affect
> us here at home!  This topic scares us because it turns us into the
> Army debaters who have to confront militarism arguments, the black
> students who have to deal with race issues in the activity, and gays
> who had to debate DADT a few years back.
> China could have been treated as a human rights topic or a foreign
> policy topic, Native Americans could be couched as a historical topic
> or a topic designed to give voice to a people systematically erased
> from the legal history of America, Title 7 could be legal or "womens
> rights"...it is all about presentation to your administration.
> If anything, I think a topic like Roe would attract more students and
> more administrators.  From my  most recent experience, law students
> are most willingly participate in debates about Roe or sexuality or
> intimate rights.  They don't like fighting amongst each other about
> water rights nearly as much.  Even as a debater- the Europe topic
> attracted half the interest that the China topic seemed to- because
> China is "hot" and Europe is not.
> Students want to debate what they know- and with student support
> comes administrative support. If anything- this sort of topic is very
> public forum-esque- and comm depts and social science depts worldwide
> are probably  more attuned to the relevance of something like ROE to
> debate than they are of some random, obscure fo po topic that they
> know nothing about and can't relate to.
> Whether red state or blue- why not endorse a Roe topic? It sure gets
> everyone fired up enough.
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Policy Debate Team
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
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