[eDebate] Worlds Format comes to CEDA East

Alfred Snider alfred.snider
Sat Aug 18 07:15:29 CDT 2007

Many of you may be aware that a number of schools in the Northeast that 
have traditionally been only policy debate schools will also be 
competing in and offering at their tournaments a division in the World 
Universities Debating Championship format (also called Worlds format, or 
British Parliamentary, or BP).

I specifically want to thank Cornell University and the University of 
Rochester for joining us in this experiment. Each of these schools 
retains a strong commitment to policy debate. We will also be joined by 
a number of other schools who do not currently do policy debate. I want 
to thank the Society for More and Better Argumentation (SAMBA) for support.

I invite other tournaments in our region to offer this division. I will 
be glad to tab it at no charge with the excellent tab program developed 
by Danny Cantrell. After the first year, you can probably do it yourself 
quite easily. Plese contact me if you are interested. It can only make 
your tournament bigger.

Our effort is to grow our squads, to grow our region, and to offer an 
alternative. Our effort is not to replace policy debate.

Participation in this format is also a great way to prepare your teams 
for international cooperation, as this format is the dominant one in the 
world. It is also quite different from APDA, NPDA and PLUM. Not all 
parliamentary-style debate formats are the same. This one is quite 
different. 463 teams are currently registered for the upcoming Worlds 
Championship in Thailand. Next year Worlds will be in Ireland.

I have been working with colleagues to create guidelines based on WUDC 
rules, with a few minor modifications to adapt to our situation. This is 
a work in progress so we will make some changes from tournament to 
tournament based on feedback. If you would like to see the guidelines we 
have put together, download them at:

We will open this experiment at the Vermont tournament September 29-30 2007.

To those of you determined to blindly criticize an event you may never 
have seen, go ahead. I believe that debate is debate and different 
formats offer a different flavor and different benefits. To summarize my 
experience with this format:
1. It has fairly low entry barriers. It does not scare your students away.
2. It is NOT easy to do well, as it is a very sophisticated event. If 
you have seen teams like Cambridge (UK), Ateneo de Manilla 
(Philippines), Tilbury House (Germany), or many, many others you know 
what I mean.
3. It is extremely strategic given the presence of four teams in one debate.
4. It requires extensive research on issues and current events. Those 
who think they can just use what they already know will learn the limits 
of their knowledge.
5. Given its international nature the use of jargon or very fast paced 
delivery is discouraged. The best teams do talk reasonably fast, but not 
like current policy practice. Also, because of its international nature 
here is your chance to stop always using the US Federal Government as an 

Here are the topics from last years Worlds in Vancouver. By the way, the 
term "this House" refers to the room where the debate is taking place. 
You vie for the assent of those present or judging, no imagined fiat 
here. Many are policy topics many are not.
1. This house would Ban Government Funding of Religious Schools.
2. This house believes that the UK should abolish it's Nuclear Arsenal.
3. That this house Supports Accelerated Land Redistribution in South Africa.
4. This house would criminalise the payment of Ransom.
5. This house Supports Independence for Quebec.
6. This House would abolish all taxes on inherited wealth.
7. This House would support regime change in Myanmar/Burma.
8. This House would ban cosmetic surgery.
9. This House would grant citizenship in exchange for military service.
ESL Semis This House believes all serious crimes should be tried by Jury.
ESL Finals This house believes that politicians have a right to a 
private life.
Masters Finals This House supports a 35 hour working week.
EFL Final This House would lift (the) sanctions on Iran.
Octas That this house believes that developing nations should 
nationalize their energy resources.
Quarters This House believes that people sentenced to life imprisonment 
should be allowed to choose the death penalty instead.
Semis This House would ban websites that glorify eating disorders.
Finals THB that economic growth is the solution to climate change.

I look forward to this experiment increasing the health of our region 
and bringing new friends to our tournaments.

Talk to me if you have issues or questions.


Alfred C. Snider aka Tuna
Edwin Lawrence Professor of Forensics
University of Vermont
Huber House, 475 Main Street, UVM, Burlington, VT 05405 USA
Global Debate Blog http://debate.uvm.edu/debateblog/
Debate Training site http://debate.uvm.edu
World Debate Institute http://debate.uvm.edu/wdi/
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