[eDebate] Physical Assault in debate

David Glass gacggc
Tue Mar 18 07:02:42 CDT 2008


In academic debate, it seems especially important to keep the activity free
of physical
contact, to allow students to have a "safe place" to make their arguments -
and to
reinforce the lesson that debate is explicitly an alternative to the sort of
options represented
by physical force and intimidation.   Good luck drawing a bright line
between pie-throwing and more physically harmful objects that might be
thrown, especially since a pie can cause a lot of damage if it is introduced
by a hard hand behind it .

However, it is quite easy to draw a bright line that says "no physical
contact with the other team".

I'd give zeros and a loss to anyone who crossed the line between making
their own presentation, and physically assaulting the other team.  But I
also don't think this should
be idiosyncratic to particular "judge philosophies"; for example, I would
not want a team
I coached to go into a round where such a methodology were possible, due to
the
feelings or a particular judge, who might be a sadist for example, and who
might therefore enjoy displays of
violence.  Therefore it would be expected that tournament administrators
would remove
teams from the tournament who displayed such behavior - to keep things safe
for everyone else.

If it seemed like a real possibility that such practices were going to
become "likely", it would then be something that the rules committees for
CEDA and other organizations to address
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