[eDebate] Vermont tournament and organizational thoughts

Alfred Snider alfred.snider
Wed Aug 29 12:28:12 CDT 2007

Hello All,

Most forensic organizations are overmatched for their tasks.

Our tournament has been posted here on this list. It is also posted on 
the Northeastdebate listserv.

I am not using the Bruschke site, altho I admire his work.

I do not think our tournament is a mystery to anyone, even Scott 
(welcome back).

It is interesting to see CEDA officers trying to pass the buck from the 
organization to John B.

While a member of CEDA and willing to attend the national tournament I 
have had very little faith in the organization for the last ten years. 
This is not unique to CEDA, so please do not be angry at me. I have 
found almost all debate and speech organizations to be largely 
demobilizing while we wait for something to happen. Officers are either 
good people who are way overworked or vita line addicts with no 
intention to do much.

The best solution seems to do things with those you know and trust and 
publicize things widely. Waiting for an organization to do stuff often 
only creates delay and disappointment.

If this sounds radical to you, read this section from the lead article 
in a past issue of Contemporary Argumentation and Debate (CEDA journal) 
in 2003 written by (surprise) me:

    One of my interests is expanding debating and creating a climate
    where new schools, nations, communities are invited into the debate.
    My experience both in and out of major forensic organizations
    demonstrates to me that too much reliance on organizations to
    accomplish our evangelical goals can be a serious problem. The
    global debate community must not shunt efforts to help new groups
    join the debate on to organizations that are under funded,
    understaffed, and at times populated more by resume builders than
    vigorous promoters of debating. Organizational efforts are extremely
    useful, of course, but they are only a small part of the total
    possibility. If ?each one would teach one? we would have a vast
    expansion of debating even if the efforts failed most of the time.
    Each league, university, civic organization, school, or other group
    interested in debate can and should act on its own, not waiting for
    national or international organizations to do all of the work.
    Likewise, individual students, teachers, coaches, and trainers
    should not wait for the local or institutional organization to do
    the work to promote debate, because individual efforts and linkages
    can make all the difference. I have been asked how I have become
    involved with debating in many parts of the USA and the world. The
    answer is a relatively disappointing one for most people, as I was
    determined and creative. Keep opportunities to promote debate on
    your radar screen and the opportunities will arise. As you pursue
    them they will only multiply. I can think of several people who have
    proven how much their personal efforts and advocacy have meant to
    giving more students the opportunity to debate. We would be
    immensely smaller if any one of them had been deterred by an
    attitude that ?someone else will do it.?

Thus, I am not surprised that CEDA has no working calendar. CEDA is not 
uniquely at fault. It is a problem with literally all debate organizations.

As a former CEDA president who did a number of radical things (MPJ at 
CEDA Nats as well as proposing the motion that made the "merger" with 
NDT possible) I have had some experience in these areas.


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://globaldebateblog.blogspot.com
Debate Central http://debate.uvm.edu
World Debate Institute http://debate.uvm.edu/wdi/
World Debate Institute Blog http://worlddebateinstitute.blogspot.com
802-656-0097 office telephone
802-656-4275 office fax

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