[eDebate] "Illegal debating" discussion

James E. Radford jr jeradford
Mon Nov 5 19:49:01 CST 2007


Neil---The first amendment argument makes sense in relation to one's speech
subjecting them to an actionable claim in court for which a judgment may be
enforced via the coercive power of the state. I realize that, in that
context, protections for speech aren't absolute (e.g. libel, slander, "true
threats," etc.), but there is a balancing act that has to be performed to
weigh the first amendment concerns vs. the benefit of making the speech
actionable. Of course I realize that the first amendment does not apply to,
for example, the debate community's attempt to discourage or penalize
speech. Imus's firing from NBC did not violate the first amendment; but most
of the legal claims against him by the b.ball players were dropped, most
likely, because any judgment would run into first amendment concerns. I
refered to the first amendment in the context of my concern that someone
would bring a legal claim for sexual harrassment.

Sherry---Thanks for engaging me in this discussion. Although I have a bit
more libertarian view on this issue, I respect the need to prevent behaviors
that discourage women (or anyone else) from benefiting from debate.


On 11/5/07, Shawn T Whalen <swhalen at sfsu.edu> wrote:
>
> Sherry,
>
> As read these last few posts, you support a policy that would provide
> judges the ability to render decisions on hostile environment claims and the
> passage below suggests that the only necessary proof of the allegation would
> be the feelings of those making the accusation.  Are you really comfortable
> with the effect that would have?
>
> Hostile environments can be created in a variety of ways and their is case
> law on race, religion, ethnicity etc. in addition to those resulting from
> sexual harassment.  I cannot imagine a single contemporary academic debate
> where someone could not make such a claim.  The effect of this logic seems
> devasting to me.
>
> On a completely seperate note, I am continually amazed at the speed to
> which people assert the hostility of our affirmative to women.  First and
> foremost, go see the damn thing before you make a judgement.  The Cal Poly
> debaters never made that assertion and nothing in Wende's post seemed to say
> that either, except that Wende and her partner happen to be women.  (It is
> also not accurate that any SF State coach said that the argument was
> designed to be hostile to women or anyone).  The reduction of sexual
> discussions and sexual behavior to biological sexual catagories of male and
> female are at the heart of heteronormativity.
>
> Also, let me ask you to consider the position of my students a bit more
> (and I am not referring to just the two debaters who run this argument).  If
> we should be concerned about the effect that arguments have on
> participation, we should consider my students as well.  In 10 years working
> with undergraduates at SF State, the most unifying similarity I've witnessed
> is a sentitivity to the effects of heteronormativity on their expressions of
> self.  The criticism in this performance is evident in most of the
> perfomances done by our individual events students as well.  If you outlaw
> these discussions (and the aesthetic choices necessary to leverage them)
> then you exclude them.
>
>
> Shawn
>
>
> Sherry said:
>
> "I think the key here is whether or not the actions created a hostile
> environment.  I believe that Wende has indicated that her partner did
> perceive this to be hostile.  An environment that renders one so
> uncomfortable as to not be able to participate in the round seems pretty
> hostile to me...They are the ones that experienced it, and you are not
> really in any position to challenge their perceptions of how they felt.  If
> they felt they were harassed, if they felt the environment was hostile, then
> for them it was."
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