[eDebate] Accusations of Illegal Debating
Fri Nov 2 10:58:29 CDT 2007
If those reports are accurate, this would mark a significant change from the performance at UNLV.
From: shahall at comcast.netTo: db8coach at bak.rr.com; swhalen at sfsu.edu; ncfa at lists.uop.edu; eDebate at ndtceda.com; ceda-l at ndtceda.comDate: Fri, 2 Nov 2007 10:47:42 -0500Subject: Re: [eDebate] Accusations of Illegal Debating
I have been backchanneled by people who report that the performance has crossed the line to threats of sexual violence against female debaters in the room in explicit terms with the proviso that the debaters from SFSU want it "to hurt." I still don't really know what was involved in the incident last weekend, but I do think threats of sexual assault against other participants in the round cross a line.
----- Original Message -----
From: road runner
To: Shawn T Whalen ; ncfa at lists.uop.edu ; eDebate at ndtceda.com ; ceda-l at ndtceda.com
Sent: Saturday, November 03, 2007 12:09 PM
Subject: Re: [eDebate] Accusations of Illegal Debating
As most of us don't know the particulars of this incident it is hard for us to understand the complexity of what happened.
That being said, I do have a question.
While I completely respect and promote the rights of each individual to assert and defend all of their rights under the law, I want to suggest that debate rounds might not be the most appropriate place to make those assertions.
Haven't we been using debate rounds for several years to assert our rights? We have used Hip-Hop, narratives, and even a petition to make accusations of racism and sexism. Debate teams make these accusations at just about every tournament I attend. Sometimes the accusations are veiled (very thinly) and sometimes they are just blatant. Teams accuse their opponents, their judges, and especially the system. But those accusations are there.
Our students encourage and invite a discussion of style, taste, and aesthetics but ethical and legal accusations are designed to enjoin us from inviting that discussion.
I have been waiting for the other shoe to drop for a while now. I have had this conversation with several other coaches about it, and we all agreed that it was coming. How long before the cavalier tossing of accusations took its toll in debates, at the tournaments, and in life? And make no mistake about it, many of the accusations that have become prevalent in debate rounds go way beyond "style, taste, and aesthetics" and move right into "ethical".
I will not defend that these ethical accusations are any better or worse than your case of legal accusation because, again, I don't know enough about your case.
These accusations have forced us to seek the support of university administrators who do not fully appreciate the debate tournament context and who could act as censors.
This is another thing I have been fearing for many years. I understand that your situation may be worse, but I have been waiting for ethical accusations to get back to school administrators and administrations. You can only be accused of racism and sexism for so long before the wrong people hear about it. And like you said, it is difficult to convince someone who doesn't know the debate tournament context.
I feel for you and for your situation Shawn. I am glad that your administration is supportive. I also hope that maybe this manifestation will demonstrate that we need to be more careful how we couch and deliver our arguments. Maybe we shouldn't throw accusations of racism, sexism, and sexual harrassment around quite so cavalierly.
Saddened but not surprised
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