[eDebate] NDT Fees

Gordon Stables stables
Thu Mar 9 18:21:52 CST 2006

Andy & Matt,

I normally loathe this forum as a means of public discussion, but you 
raise an issue that requires additional information. Your concern for 
the costs is very important and one that is the subject of a great deal 
of discussion on the NDT committee.

It is important to appreciate that the costs and issues related to 
hosting such a large event is a daunting prospect for any university. 
We, as a community, are not the best of guests on any campus and we 
impose a number of financial and logistical challenges. We have been 
fortunate to have the hard work of the members of the NDT committee who 
labor to identify and persuade find hosts.

We are especially indebted to those universities who take up the burden 
of hosting. Our hosts this year, for example, have made a number of 
generous gifts. These include making a very sizable donation in order to 
reduce the participant costs. You will notice that those are 
substantially lower from past years. They decided that the first 
priority was to reduce participant costs and I find hard to fault that 
objective. We should all be very pleased that our hosts are allowing a 
real reduction in the costs related to debating at the tournament.

The observer fees reflect the very real (and admittedly high) costs of 
catering associated with the event. It is almost criminal that we as a 
community went so long without trying to strictly manage food costs for 
all tournament guests. There are a number of host programs in our 
community who went through the very real problem of being asked to foot 
a post-NDT bill for food costs that overran projections. We as a 
community imposed on their generosity and left them with the bill.

The actions of our current hosts, like all of our hosts, should be 
treated as an act of community service and not something that we should 
in any way disrespect. It is only through these types of support that we 
can continue to offer the NDT in its present form.

None of this diminishes the concern for costs at the tournament. We have 
to realize that our community expectations for this type of  large 
conference (complete with multiple meals, internet service, access to 
classrooms and large meeting areas, nice hotels, etc. ) impose a 
substantial bill that must be somehow resolved. I would encourage anyone 
who is interested in altering these norms (and thus reducing the burden 
on our hosts) should engage that conversation with members of their 
regional community and inform your NDT representative of such ideas. We 
would all benefit if the burdens of hosting were reduced.

In the interim, let's try to appreciate the hosts and consider that are 
very foruntate to have such programs in our community.

I will not post on the subject again, but I encourage you to contact 
your NDT regional representatives with further input or suggestions on 
the issue of cost control.


Gordon Stables, Ph.D.

Director of Debate

Annenberg School for Communication

University of Southern California

Office: 213 740 2759               Fax: 213 740 3913


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