[eDebate] And the Elephant In the Corner Is...

Ken DeLaughder kenedebate
Tue Apr 18 00:41:55 CDT 2006


We held our banquet for $12 a person, and didn't really need to increase 
fees at all.  We just found a better deal on some interesting trophies.  I 
think tournaments need to think abotu decreasing costs.  Maybe we can also 
negotiate with a national chain to get group discounts... I dunno.. I'm just 
brainstorming.

I like eating... at nice places ;)  and I think debaters work hard and 
deserve some nice things (over 60 days a year in hotel rooms eats on them).  
But I agree, lots of times we do more with less, but sometimes we need some 
help.

Ken

>Speaking of entry fees.....
>
>My wife believes I live a double life in a financial sense. During the 
>week, we scrimp and save. On weekends, I eat out with the team, sometimes 
>at nice places. Prices occasionally have a nails-on-chalkboard effect on 
>me. Nowhere is this greater than during banquets. Prices vary, but $35-$50 
>per plate is not uncommon. I could provide my team a much nicer meal for 
>1/3 of that price. I would really like to see tournaments move away from 
>banquets as a practice.
>
>Of course, many of the tournaments with expensive banquets are essential if 
>one's program is to be competitive. Thus, the banquets are functionally a 
>forced expense. It does not have to be that way.
>
>Dr. Eric Morris
>Asst Prof of Communication
>Director of Forensics
>Craig Hall 363A
>Missouri State University
>Springfield, MO 65897
>(O) 417-836-7636
>(H) 417-865-6866
>(C) 417-496-7141
>
>________________________________
>
>From: edebate-bounces at ndtceda.com on behalf of Michael Eber
>Sent: Mon 4/17/06 5:20 PM
>To: 'Omar G Guevara'; edebate at ndtceda.com
>Subject: [eDebate] And the Elephant In the Corner Is...
>
>
>
>
>
>...the outrageous cost of modern tournament travel. These costs are shared 
>by everyone---big and small school, public and private---and they have gone 
>way up in recent years due to more centralized travel schedules, post-9/11 
>airline price hikes, gas costs, and our addiction to expensive hotels. I 
>agree here with Omar's sentiment: let's stop acting like programs are dying 
>primarily because of speed/style/topics and face the real issue of 
>Economics. The simple fact is that if NDT/CEDA policy debate were cheaper, 
>the cost per student would be more reasonable to administrators, overall 
>participation levels could be higher, and the temptation to leave for Parli 
>would be reduced.
>
>
>
>Let's restart the discussion about how the community can best deal with the 
>budget crunch that we ALL face. Here are some practical suggestions I 
>mentioned in an email long ignored from December 2004 about some 
>Non-Competitive Counterplans 
>(http://www.ndtceda.com/archives/200412/0036.html)
>
>
>
>1) KICK OUR COLLECTIVE HABIT OF USING EXPENSIVE MEGA-HOTELS. This is the 
>single greatest thing we could do as a community to save money. Some of the 
>places we travel might be inevitably pricey (I'm thinking Los Angeles 
>around New Years, for example). But most of them have plenty of hotels in 
>the $50-$70 per night range rather than the present $70-100 per night 
>standard. We CHOOSE to stay at the expensive places because we are spoiled 
>- we could easily choose the Red Roof Inn as a tournament hotel over the 
>Marriott if we genuinely wanted to minimize collective expense. It may be 
>true that we would need multiple tournament hotels to execute this strategy 
>(especially at the larger tournaments like Wake) but the benefits are worth 
>it. Program directors know just how great a percentage of their budget goes 
>to hotel room nights. If we could trim that cost by 20% we are literally 
>talking about tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars in savings over the 
>course of a season for our community as a whole. Some might argue that we 
>would have to sacrifice the community bonding and social aspects associated 
>with all staying in a single hotel. I doubt this is true in the extreme; 
>social events will inevitably spring up to accommodate people's desire to 
>hang out. Eliminating centralized mega-parties may also be good - it has 
>the add-on advantage of helping to control some of the extreme drinking 
>habits that are socialized in our community. Lastly, it may have been true 
>in the past that bigger hotels were more accommodating with our research 
>needs, but these days some of the mid-range hotels have been the most 
>aggressive in upgrading to high-speed internet access.
>
>2) HOLD ELIM ROUNDS ON CAMPUS. Having elim rounds off campus is the big 
>reason for hotel consolidation. I will try to address the primary 
>justifications. First, it is hard to secure access to on campus rooms on 
>Mondays. This is true to an extent, but I think that most campuses have 
>some type of Student Union with conference rooms available. Second, it 
>would cost money to get rooms on campus during the week. This is probably 
>true, although not unique because most schools pay for the hotel rooms they 
>are using on Monday anyway. Maybe some of the rooms are comp'ed but the 
>added cost can't be that much. On campus rooms may even be cheaper. And 
>even if they are not, the cost will be small relative to the number of 
>teams at the tournament. A full double requires 16 rooms. If those average 
>even $100 per day more on campus, that is $1600, but this amount would be 
>distributed in entry fees amongst the schools in attendance. For a 
>tournament with enough schools to have a double, the cost per school would 
>be small and FAR outweighed by the cost savings of a cheaper hotel for 
>everyone. Third, parking would be harder to secure. This may also be true, 
>but is a small price to pay.
>
>3) USE OUR COLLECTIVE BUYING HABITS TO NEGOTIATE DISCOUNTS. I have no idea 
>if this has been tried before, but with the amount of money that our 
>community spends on rental cars, hotels, and even particular airline 
>companies, it seems at least possible for us to negotiate discount 
>contracts with some of the major companies that we already use anyway. 
>Michigan State, for example, has a contract with National Rental Car, and 
>we get 10% off plus some free insurance. Why couldn't a representative of 
>the National Debate Tournament negotiate collective discounts for its 
>members? If we brought an estimate of the annual community-wide expenses in 
>some of these categories to the appropriate people, I wouldn't be surprised 
>if a few companies we may be already even using didn't jump at the chance 
>to get more business from us. Although these discounts by themselves will 
>not exactly save an under-supported budget, they can help us stretch our 
>resources and would add up over time to significant amounts. Even if we 
>couldn't create new discounts, it would be useful CEDA or NDT to simply 
>create a forum for directors to share discounts and travel tips they 
>already use with one another.
>
>These are just some initial ideas. I am sure that some collective 
>brainstorming could yield plenty of innovative ideas for cutting costs 
>across the board. Making travel more affordable for everyone enhances 
>overall participation and would make it more palatable to adjust our travel 
>schedules to costlier areas for the sake of equity.
>
>
>
>Thanks,
>
>Mike
>
>
>
>
>
>________________________________
>
>From: edebate-bounces at ndtceda.com [mailto:edebate-bounces at ndtceda.com] On 
>Behalf Of Omar G Guevara
>Sent: Monday, April 17, 2006 5:43 PM
>To: edebate at ndtceda.com
>Subject: Re: [eDebate] Reconnecting debate to the academy-the case of UMKC
>
>
>
>So, um, I have been spending time away from debate in an effort to balance 
>my perspective on coaching, teaching, advising, and scholarship.  I have 
>not been reading too many edebate posts, not even the ones on Roe v. Wade 
>(1973), which normally would get me all worked up.
>
>
>
>But the post from Malcom is devastating (as was the news from Alabama and 
>Oregon). I mean really, really, REALLY devastating. I never knew Linda 
>while I debated, but I had gotten to know her as a colleague when I began 
>directing. Aside from the wonderful NDT she hosted for us, she was always 
>there when I needed to give her ring. She always had time for debate; and 
>her debaters always had time for success :).
>
>
>
>I fear the future, and it angers me: NDT will continue to shrink to less 
>that 50 institutions ( mostly private, wealthy, and East-coast) while the 
>public, financially strapped, and non-East-coast school will be expected to 
>participate in parli, IEs, or nothing at all. Increasingly, I suspect that 
>there is no longer a seat at the table for state universities in the NDT, 
>despite the couple of really good counter-examples that come to mind.
>
>
>
>Now of course there will be a litany of folks with funny pen names who will 
>tell you that there really is a pulse underneath the corpse cover, but 
>those are folks at the top of the hierarchy who live in a world of elite 
>round robin competition, fancy hotels, and ubber budgets.  They are out of 
>touch with the central tendency* and drift* of what is left of the "great 
>middle" of the NDT.  In fact it may be the worst type of trained 
>incapacity* for the elites to judge the viability of our community based 
>the success of their unattainable organizational model.  Their voice should 
>be considered, but it should not be allowed to drown out the conversation.
>
>
>
>So while our activity burns down, we continue to turn the fire hoses on 
>each other: Endless discussion about identity politics, pointless 
>clash-of-civilization divisions, and national organizations that are 
>sabotaged by the same cancer eating away at constantly shrinking number of 
>participants.  Everyone gets so worked up about a topic about debate, but 
>what is the point of debating a deceased historical oddity?
>
>
>
>There is only major political issue on the table folks: What are we going 
>to do to survive?  Everything else is secondary.  We need a structural 
>approach to our crisis that levels the playing field, genuinely includes 
>and awards the participation of lesser funded programs, encourages 
>transparecny in recruiting, and reaffirms our intellectual and academic 
>identity.  Given the backlash from even the mildest of reforms adopted by 
>the NDT committee, maybe it is even time to think beyond the 
>NDT...(although I will say that there are some folks on the Committee who 
>understand the crisis is boiling over, but it is naive to believe that they 
>alone can speak truth to power.)
>
>
>
>Good luck UMKC, Oregon, and Alabama.  I know from personal experience how 
>painful it is to watch a debate team die. I hope that a last minute 
>administrative miracle will extend the lives of your debate program.
>
>
>
>All my best,
>
>
>
>Omar
>
>
>
>*Thank you Dr. Bernard Brock for teaching me the concepts of "central 
>tendency," "drift," "trained incapacity." I miss you already.
>


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