[eDebate] Illegal Debating/CEDA sexual harassment policy

Jan Hovden jan_hovden
Fri Nov 2 13:11:50 CDT 2007

Since some were asking what the CEDA sexual harassment policy says, I wanted to provide an explanation of the policy and how it has been utilized in the past.  
  The CEDA sexual harassment policy only applies to the CEDA national tournament.  What this means is that CEDA will only impose sanctions upon acts committed at the national tournament after they have been adjudicated by the committee on discrimination and harassment, which is chaired by the sexual harassment officer (SHO).  The document suggests that it is preferable to resolve the issue via an informal means, i.e. dialogue between the accused and the accusers, which can be mediated by the SHO.  However, if that fails or if the accused prefer to file formal charges first, the committee holds an inquiry and gives their conclusion to the President who has the final authority to sign off on the recommendations.  If the accused is deemed to have committed sexual harassment, CEDA is empowered to implement sanctions against the individual.  
  With that said, the current discussion focuses on issues of harassment at regular tournaments, and CEDA policies are different.  Each tournament that is sanctioned is required to agree to abide by the CEDA sexual harassment policy.  As Neil alluded to, this clearly leaves room for acting within the specificity of the hosting school?s own policies.  The CEDA SHO?s, at least when I was the SHO, roll is changed here.  All they are empowered to do is to facilitate the accuser resolving the problem in some way:  informal discussion, filing a complaint with the host school, or filing a complaint with the accused?s school, etc.  However, when the tournament director agrees to abide by the CEDA harassment document, they are obligated to deal with instances of complaints that are brought to their attention at their tournament, which could mean that they try to negotiate with the parties to resolve the issue; it could mean banning the accused from their tournament in the future,
 working through formal school channels etc.  If the host school fails to do anything it is possible that they could lose their CEDA sanctioning for their tournament.  Although, this has never happened, and I don?t believe a request has ever been made to impose this punishment.   
  All said the CEDA harassment document has only been invoked a few times.  In my four years as SHO (1997-2001), I adjudicated one formal complaint at CEDA, a few informal complaints at CEDA, and aided a handful of people dealing with issues internal to their squad and at regular tournaments.  My role in the latter was limited to explaining their rights and what possible remedies were available to them.  If I remember correctly, all of these issues were resolved via an informal dialogue between the parties.  

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