[eDebate] "Illegal debating" discussion

James E. Radford jr jeradford
Mon Nov 5 19:54:32 CST 2007


And. as a postscript.. I just Shawn's post.. It seems that there teams are
doing whatever they're doing for a political purpose that is highly
legitimate and well thought-out. I don't think anyone should be deterred
from speaking and performing the things that are important to them. I think
we can draw a ready distinction between what they are doing and a jerky
coach talking aloud about the titty bar in front of young female students.

The occasional discomfort and offense is the price we pay for a culture
of unfettered political speech. What if the complaint was that a team from
Army, who had lost their best friends in Iraq, felt uncomfortable, to the
point of tears, when teams advanced arguments that cast the war as a farce?
I think we would be quick to defend the teams advancing those arguments,
even if it led Army to feel hurt or excluded.


On 11/5/07, James E. Radford jr <jeradford at gmail.com> wrote:
>
> 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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