[eDebate] Illegal Debating discussion

Joe Patrice joepatrice
Wed Nov 7 11:55:51 CST 2007

Reid Sawyer sent me and ML some thoughts he had regarding this discussion on
edebate and I thought they should be posted --

I wanted to pass on some thoughts I had while following the recent dialogue
on eDebate.  While I have been absent from the community for the past three
years, this discussion concerns me (as someone who has directed and will
again) the program at West Point.  Most of the discussion to date on this
topic has made some excellent points however, there has been one glaring
omission so far - the concern and responsibility of the hosting school.
 While SFSU may have the endorsement of their administrators to run conduct
their performance without violating SFSU standards, their conduct may risk
violating the regulations of the *host school.*

Were a scenario to occur in which the offended party reported an incident
such as this, the hosting school and the host debate program could well be
responsible for the conduct that occurs on their campus and under
the auspices of their tournament.  In this case, whatever permission was
granted by SFSU's administrators would be wholly irrelevant.

In an age where it is increasingly difficult to gain support for this
activity, both administrative and budgetary, I would suggest that we as a
community consider the implications of our actions on the host schools - not
to mention those in the room that may be offended.  It is not entirely hard
to imagine that the 'other' victim may be the team hosting the tournament.
 While West Point may be a different case than other universities, I would
not want to explain something like this to my Superintendent (college
president) and our program would be at risk if I had to do so.  I can well
imagine that other universities may take a similar stance.

There is a large distinction between this incident and the hypothetical
offered concerning Army's team and the Iraq war.  Four years ago at the NDT
my top team ran a performative case where they showed the images of their
friends who had died in Afghanistan and Iraq as they debated their case.
 Both of those debaters are now on their second tours in Iraq.  Pushing an
institution to be reflexive about the normative and policy implications of
foreign policy decisions (or other topics) is exactly what this activity
stands for - and should endorse.  While (in this case) our own advocacy made
these debaters think about their role in the world knowing they were going
to be  in combat six months after graduation, I cannot at all see this as
comparable to a simulated sexual act - especially in light of the concerns
of the other team.

Joe - if you like, please post this to eDebate.



*Reid Sawyer*
*Combating Terrorism Center*
*United States Military Academy*
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