[eDebate] [CEDA-L] Accusations of Illegal Debating

Zompetti, Joseph Perry jpzompe
Fri Nov 2 22:33:57 CDT 2007

First of all, what's up?  How r u doing???
Second, what's up???  I don't know the specific context of your debaters' situation, but....
1) if this is causing controversy, doesn't that mean your debaters did a good job???
2) we debated this stuff on the T7 topic - the first year after you left Mercer - isn't the onus on the person suspected on committing harrassment?  In other words, if your debaters say "foul," and their opponents say "not what we meant," there's a presumption for your opponents.  
E.g., don't your debaters have some recourse here???  It's not the presumption that someone calls "foul," "hey, there's a discrepency here," but rather that "hey, they say 'foul,' but they need to prove it.'""
So, your debaters seem to be in the control seat.  Others who cry "foul" need to substantiate such claims.  Perhaps this will help your initial objection.


From: edebate-bounces at www.ndtceda.com on behalf of Shawn T Whalen
Sent: Fri 11/2/2007 2:45 PM
To: Northup, Brent
Cc: ceda-l at ndtceda.com; eDebate at ndtceda.com
Subject: Re: [eDebate] [CEDA-L] Accusations of Illegal Debating

Hi Brent,

I appreciate many of the sentiments here and I only wish it were as easy as you describe.

My students are offended by the way that people use heteronormativity to restrain their expressions of self.  Other people are offended by the values that underlie an acceptance of who they are how they are allowed to express themselves.  This conflict is at the center of mainstream political dialogue.  It is inconceivable to me that there might be a way to move forward without some measure of offense being taken.

Thanks for reading,


-----ceda-l-bounces at ndtceda.com wrote: -----

	To: "NEIL BERCH" <berchnorto at msn.com> <mailto:berchnorto at msn.com> , <jbhdb8 at gmail.com> <mailto:jbhdb8 at gmail.com> , <shahall at comcast.net> <mailto:shahall at comcast.net> 
	From: "Northup, Brent" <BNorthup at carroll.edu> <mailto:BNorthup at carroll.edu> 
	Sent by: ceda-l-bounces at ndtceda.com
	Date: 11/02/2007 09:00AM
	cc: swhalen at sfsu.edu, eDebate at ndtceda.com, ceda-l at ndtceda.com
	Subject: Re: [CEDA-L] [eDebate] Accusations of Illegal Debating

	To my CEDA NDT friends from a (fairly old fashioned and fairly old) Parli coach: 
	I do not know the details, and this is not really about the SFST instance. My comments are simply inspired by this very thoughtful thread. 
	Isn't anybody going to say the obvious? 
	That college students representing their colleges and being financially supported by the college should behave in a way that does not discredit the college and does not embarrass other students or participants or judges or anyone? 
	Doesn't the resolution to such instances start with an apology by the debaters for offending people? I hope/assume that's already happened. I would hope that would be followed by "apology accepted" and a few hugs. 
	Talk about what's legal should be secondary. Talk about what's right and decent should be primary. 
	Legality aside, people were offended. That's at the heart of such moments. 
	Debaters sometimes live entirely in their heads. They invent intellectual arguments that are clever and strategic, and then implement a strategy to win the mind game in the round - without any seeming awareness that this is a real world where people have real feelings. If it can be intellectually justified, it must be right. 
	Nonsense. We can't live in a world with our blinders on. 
	First and foremost: do no harm. Be sensitive to others. Be a compassionate member of the community. Keep your clothes on. Or as my mom always said when I turned purple, "use words, Brent." Everything we need to know, we learned in kindergarten. 
	If someone is offended, sit down with them and apologize. Be willing to give up a winning strategy if it offends others. Don't be stubborn. And, conversely, be gracious and accept the apology. 
	We need to teach our students to be compassionate civil citizens. That is our highest purpose. Instances like this provide us with opportunities to do just that. 
	I'm a parli coach (former CEDA coach/ former Whitman policy debater), but one of my teams aggressively and convincingly acted out homophobic hate speech (with sock puppets) in a public place during a tournament last year - and were appropriately and quickly thrown out of the tournament.  Cops were nearly called. 
	Afterwards, I thanked the tournament for their decisive action and we apologized profusely to the hosts. The team sat out two more tournaments as a reminder. (Advice from my dad: If you get into trouble at school, there will be more trouble at home.) 
	Then, they reentered competition and in that very next outing another team goaded them to engage in more potentially offensive performance debate. Their response: We don't do that on our squad and we think we can win with words alone. 
	Granted, that little speech was probably given because of the big stick I carried rather than from a deep conversion of their fundamental values, but it made me proud, nonetheless. I could site other lapses by me and my teams, but one confession is enough for now. 
	We all slip. Our students do silly, outrageous and sometimes offensive things. My team's mistake could easily have been prosecuted, although the "dramatic intent" would probably have saved them. But the families (uninvolved passersby) who heard the offensive gay bashing being yelled in public had no knowledge that this was "a debate stage play" - they were rightly offended. 
	We should use those moments as teaching opportunities of the highest order. I'm lucky: my teams have provided me with lots of such learning "opportunities" :) 
	I hope those who were offended would sit down with the offending team, and share their thoughts and feelings. The mention of mediation was lovely - that's the best way. 
	Those offended can be teachers here. I hope the offending team will listen, apologize and adapt their behavior so that others are not hurt. I hope the offended parties would accept a sincere apology. 
	The law is likely not needed here. Sensitive talk is needed. An arrest and jail time (metaphoric or otherwise) is most certainly not needed. I would hope the offended parties would drop talk about an arrest and focus on what's ethical. That's the dialogue that would be fruitful. I can imagine times when the cops are called, but most of the time that's a disproportionate response. 
	Sensitive conversation would be a positive resolution to a difficult moment. A quiet talk in the van on the way home is what's really needed. It most likely has already happened. That's where much of the learning takes place in our activity. 
	And one more thing: teachers/coaches/judges have to be forever forgiving of such student slips. Our job is to give the second and third chances to learn basic lessons - in hopes that when they leave our world they will enter the real world transformed by their college experiences into caring mature adults. 
	That's a long tough journey and will include many mistakes. We must use those mistakes to teach them lessons. Then forgive them and let them try try again. 
	Hold our standards high, but forgive them readily as they struggle to reach them. 
	As the country song says, "That's our job. That's what we do." 
	Best to you all. It's never easy to coach and teach, but it can be so rewarding. And, ironically, it's moments like this that, ultimately, are the ones where we all learn the most. 
	Oh, yes, coaches do dumb things, too. My list is long, but as I grow older my memory fades a bit...that helps :) 
	None of these comments is about SFST. I don't pretend to know the details. This is a rambling general reflection inspired by this thread. I'm not judging Shawn and his students. I'm making a much broader point raised by this conversation. I'm sure, judging from Shawn's tone, he wants to set things right. I thank him for starting this dialogue, and I deeply empathize with the pain he and his debaters are experiencing from this. Been there, done that, got the T-shirt...lots of them, actually. 
	Brent Northup, Carroll of Montana 
	P.S. This is my first post on CEDA-L. I pay dues to support CEDA/NDT, but compete in another world. But we're all part of the same activity, and I enjoy reading your thoughts...most of the time :) Net Benefits makes my blood boil. This thread often just gets me thinking...thanks for that. 
	Brent Northup 
	Carroll College 
	1601 N. Benton 
	Helena, MT. 59625 
	bnorthup at carroll.edu 
	(406) 459-2371 (cell) 
	-----Original Message----- 
	From: ceda-l-bounces at www.ndtceda.com on behalf of NEIL BERCH 
	Sent: Fri 11/2/2007 8:26 AM 
	To: jbhdb8 at gmail.com; shahall at comcast.net 
	Cc: swhalen at sfsu.edu; eDebate at ndtceda.com; ceda-l at ndtceda.com 
	Subject: Re: [CEDA-L] [eDebate] Accusations of Illegal Debating 
	Josh--It's my understanding that the CEDA Sexual Harassment Liaison is only 
	for CEDA Nationals, or at least only has "authority" at CEDA Nationals.  
	Perhaps Jan or one of her successors could comment.--Neil 
	>From: Josh <jbhdb8 at gmail.com> <mailto:jbhdb8 at gmail.com>  
	>To: "Sherry Hall" <shahall at comcast.net> <mailto:shahall at comcast.net>  
	>CC: Shawn T Whalen <swhalen at sfsu.edu> <mailto:swhalen at sfsu.edu> , eDebate at ndtceda.com,NEIL BERCH 
	><berchnorto at msn.com> <mailto:berchnorto at msn.com> , ceda-l at ndtceda.com 
	>Subject: Re: [CEDA-L] [eDebate] Accusations of Illegal Debating 
	>Date: Fri, 2 Nov 2007 10:16:58 -0400 
	>In no way am I taking a stance on the appropriateness of SFSU's affirmative 
	>(have not seen/heard it). 
	>I was at the meetings way back when the harassment policy was passed and I 
	>seem to recal that involved the tournament director being ready and in 
	>contact with the host schools sexual harassment officer/office in such 
	>instances.  I cannot remember how discretionary the policy was/is but I 
	>suspect a CEDA officer could answer this easily.  There is also supposed to 
	>be a CEDA sexual harrassment liason as well (I seem to remember Jan Hovden 
	>had this office at one point). 
	>Hope all goes well, 
	>On 11/2/07, Sherry Hall <shahall at comcast.net> <mailto:shahall at comcast.net>  wrote: 
	> > 
	> >  Just to play the advocate here, it is my understanding that CEDA has 
	> > specific policies against harassment in debate rounds.  I know when we 
	> > an invitation out to our tournament and claim to be "CEDA-sanctioned" we 
	> > agreeing that those policies will be enforced at the tournament that we 
	> > hosting.  If people feel that your argument is in violation of those 
	> > what's wrong with asking the tournament to take action.  I must also 
	> > that I am not as familiar with the CEDA rules as I am with the NDT 
	> > documents, and am not sure what a host is supposed to do in response to 
	> > accusations.  It is also the case that probably every University in the 
	> > United States has policies opposing harassing language on campus.  From 
	> > experience with various university policies that were implicated at 
	> > debate camps over the years, most universities prefer that harassment 
	> > be dealt with within the university before calling in law enforcement 
	> > (unless a physical assault was involved).  Is your objection to last 
	> > weekend's action that your arguments were characterized as "illegal"?  
	> > you really have preferred that police be called? 
	> > 
	> > Sherry 
	> > 
	> > 
	> > ----- Original Message ----- 
	> > *From:* Shawn T Whalen <swhalen at sfsu.edu> <mailto:swhalen at sfsu.edu>  
	> > *To:* Sherry Hall <shahall at comcast.net> <mailto:shahall at comcast.net>  
	> > *Cc:* Shawn T Whalen <swhalen at sfsu.edu> <mailto:swhalen at sfsu.edu>  ; NEIL BERCH 
	><berchnorto at msn.com> <mailto:berchnorto at msn.com> ; 
	> > eDebate at ndtceda.com ; ceda-l at ndtceda.com 
	> > *Sent:* Thursday, November 01, 2007 10:45 PM 
	> > *Subject:* Re: [CEDA-L] [eDebate] Accusations of Illegal Debating 
	> > 
	> > 
	> >  Hi Sherry, 
	> > 
	> > I really don't think its necessary - my point is that if someone thinks 
	> > that the law has been violated and wants it enforced, they should call a 
	> > and/or an attorney.  The debate tournament is not equiped to deal with 
	> > claims. 
	> > 
	> > That being said,  our debaters critique the heteronormativity in 
	> > traditional international relations scholarship and in traditional 
	> > debating.  They suggest that the results of heteronormativity have 
	> > in the structuring of terrorism and queerness in similar ways.  They 
	> > to "interrupt these discourses, informed by queer pedagogy, by 
	>performing a 
	> > narrative which involves explicit language and some abbreviated, fully 
	> > clothed similated sex acts.  The accusation was that our performance was 
	> > sexual harassment. 
	> > 
	> > Shawn 
	> > 
	> > 
	> > Shawn-- 
	> >  I have to agree with Neil.  There is no way for anyone to add 
	> > constructive comments or opinions about this issue when they have no 
	> > what you are talking about.  Whether you want to debate the merits of 
	> > claim or not, some brief explanation of what the issues are -- what is 
	> > argument?  what is the nature of the accusation of illegality?  -- is 
	> > necessary.  Surely, if someone threatens to kill someone else in a 
	> > round, that is not protected speech just because it occurred in the 
	> > of a debate round. 
	> >  Sherry 
	> > = 
	> > 
	> > 
	> > _______________________________________________ 
	> > CEDA-L mailing list 
	> > CEDA-L at www.ndtceda.com 
	> > http://www.ndtceda.com/mailman/listinfo/ceda-l 
	> > 
	> > 
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