[eDebate] Fw: The 2nr

Ede Warner ewarner
Sat Nov 24 08:30:23 CST 2007


Desmond,
 
I overreacted, as I've been prone to do in my lifetime Desmond, and so I apologize.  And you don't owe me an apology at all.  I choose not to accept your apology, but I hope you accept mine.  Many have said that e-debate is a "wrong forum" to attempt to have these types of conversations, and perhaps this was one of the pitfalls.  Generally, yes, it is my understanding there is a protocol if a person starts a public conversation, then sends a continuation note back channel, they are moving the discussion privately.  If you and I were talking in front of a crowd, and then you pulled me aside to quietly tell me something, there has to be some agreement when it's time for us to talk to the crowd again, that's all.  I as a tenured professor, especially a Black one, may choose to speak differently in private with my students (for me usually as an attempt to connect with them), then I do publicly, especially depending on who the audience is.  And that's what I was reacting to, having what I thought what had become a private conversation back to a public one was unsettling for me.
 
That said, perhaps the protocol I know and understand, is a protocol for educators, not a protocol for students.  And perhaps there is a reason for educators to have separate conversations amongst themselves on certain issues.  I know that when my University makes administrative decisions, they often request input from students, but generally make decisions themselves.  I know that when I discuss creating a course curriculum, I usually don't solicit the input of students.  But perhaps this is a place debate got it right and other places have it wrong.  I don't know.
 
Debate seems to be almost exclusively driven by student's interests and desires.  You are given the power to decide the norms and procedures.  I can't think of the last meaningful act on the practices of the activity created by the NDT or CEDA or any educator.  In fact, a lot of your autonomy argument is that power should not be limited in any way.  But I think if the students own all of the power, that is out of balance, and probably explains why the overemphasis on competition, and the underemphasis on education.  How effective would classes be if the students created their own syllabi, tests, and course assignments?  But isn't that what is happening in intercollegiate debate?
 
And what has been the result?  Almost a complete loss of debate from the academy, as departments have generally made their directors 2nd class citizens and many programs live by the grace of student affairs, instead of firmly entrenched as academic units.  So I'm sorry for giving you the responsibility of knowing a protocol that likely wasn't taught to you Desmond, because it wasn't a protocol relevant to you.  That failure falls squarely on the educator: and that would be me.
 
But that also means it probably is time to stop "debating" each other for the same reason.  We have done a more than thorough job of creating substantial input of at least one students voice, several if you include Kado and David.  Is that representative or a complete surveying of how the students as a whole feel?  Probably not.  But as this moves forward, each director can survey their students as much or as little as she or he wants to.  That again is really the prerogative of the director, if this is in fact an educational activity.  And although I'm not sure it is, I am sure that it should be.  But I do look forward to our meeting, and I will think about your disads to my proposal.  And I more than anything, thank you for taking the time to think and having the courage to speak, because that's a tremendous responsibility that comes with some serious risks.  Like an elder, calling out his student for being unethical, when the student did nothing wrong, but engaging in the conversation he was being asked to engage in the way he knew to engage in it.  Take care,
 
Doc

PS- Notice that I deleted your email note to me since I sent it privately...for future referernce lol! 
 
 
Ede Warner, Jr.
Director of Debate Society/Associate Professor of Communication
University of Louisville
308E Strickler Hall
502-852-3522
e0warn01 at gwise.louisville.edu 
http://comm.louisville.edu/~debate
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