[eDebate] My Statement on Shanahan

PC Racist pc_racist
Sun Sep 7 09:07:18 CDT 2008


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iyWonzpX_HM

  ----- Original Message -----
  From: "Andy Ellis"
  To: eDebate
  Subject: [eDebate] My Statement on Shanahan
  Date: Sun, 7 Sep 2008 01:36:34 -0400

  There is enough talk i figured i should say something.

  First a few things i didn't do

  1) I didn't post the video
  2) I didn't contact any press outlets
  3) I didn't contact anyone at ft hays with the intention to either
  alert them or to advocate for Bill's firing.

  Some things I did do
  1) Call for CEDA action to address the situation
  2) Discuss the situation with the provost, when contacted
  3) Suggest to Adam after some consternation that the video was ok to
  post.

  I don't know exactly what Adam's motivation was for posting the
  video, it seems from the email he sent that he thought it was a
  spectacle and had no idea it would leave the community. Given the
  number of people who expressed desire to see the video, and even more
  expressed the desire to see it on youtube, i can see how he would
  have felt that way. Once it got posted it was easy to say oh my god
  thats so terrible, i can't believe they posted that omg, but many of
  you know that you suggested it be posted and where more than happy to
  request it, perhaps because you wanted to see the spectacle, perhaps
  because you wanted to share it with your friends, perhaps because you
  thought it could be the communities private joke.

  I bet if adam had it to do again he wouldnt, but i can't speak for
  him.

  I can however speak to why i did the things i did

  1)Call for CEDA action-a) It was CEDA nationals, ceda had a
  responsibility to do something. President Hammond seems to indicate
  that he expected as much as well, and that the lack of notification
  left him surprised and somewhat without options. b)CEDA's customers
  are Universities, not University Debate Teams. C) As a member of CEDA
  i have a right to use the processes the organization has in order to
  seek to remedy situations that occur within the course of
  organization business. I believe like president hammond that this
  situation required organizational action. As a side note my desire to
  issue an official complaint had no material impact on CEDA's actions.
  Perhaps someone else on the EC can shed more light on that.

  2)Discuss the situation with the provost- The provost wanted to know
  how the video got posted, i gave him my best answer. As the
  conversation progressed, within the context of agreement that Bill
  need not lose his job, and that the team not be cut, the provost
  asked the video to be taken down. After consulting with several PR
  professionals to gauge the effect this would have on Bill's
  prospects, and coming to believe from those consultations that having
  the video down would make it easier for ft hays to help deflect the
  negative press, i advised adam to take the video down. I was also led
  to believe that legal action to get the video taken down may have
  been eminant. In my discussions with the provost, i was left with the
  conclusion that he had talked to many members of the community, and
  that many of those consultations had led him to believe that many
  well intentioned people in this communiy where telling him what they
  thought would save bill's job, but where not helping the provost to
  do his job (which from my understanding was not to get bill fired,
  but to help the president to understand how this could have happened,
  and no one at ft hays was notified)

  3)Suggest to Adam that the video be posted- I believe that the video
  documented a news worthy event. I thought it problematic that no one
  had really openly discussed the events, and that many in the
  community thought it funny and somewhat normal. I felt differently
  and after showing the video to many teachers, parents, and former
  debaters, i recognized how aghast they where at what they saw, many
  expressed that it discouraged them from promoting college debate
  amongst their children and their students. They also suggested
  amazement at the fact that organization had done nothing, and that is
  just the way college debate works.

  If i had it to do over again, i think the one thing i would have done
  differently is to post the video myself instead of allowing Adam to
  post it.

  When i watched that video and showed it around what i came to realize
  was that the insularity of our community, and the desire to keep what
  we do entirely behind closed doors, while a great and fun part of the
  activity, is a serious threat to all of the benefits debate has to
  offer, and if CEDA as a body that claims to govern college policy
  debate was going to continue a culture of insularity, that sooner or
  later all of this was going to crumble. Indeed by observing the
  fallout my intial inclination seems to have borne itself out, as
  president hammond indicated when he was forced to confront what we
  think is normal but peopole outside our community think is
  deplorable, it is also telling that he felt that not being informed
  was perhaps a sign of the decline of standards in the activity.

  Academic freedom works best in an open environment, when those
  expressing that freedom do not feel that they are in a safe house. A
  safe house is a very different thing than a safe space, and i don't
  think bill was imprecise when he used this term. State colleges
  reasonably don't like to fund safehouses, even if they have an
  undying commitment to safe spaces, because no matter how much we
  would like to pretend that nobody cares what we do, the people of
  Kansas and the alumni of fort hays have clearly disproven that
  belief. If we are to grow and thrive we must stop hiding and
  pretending that we live in a consequence free zone, and begin to be
  open and vocal about the academic freedom we enjoy and its benefits,
  but beyond that we must be reasonable. We can't ask for 5 or 6 figure
  budget allocations with little to no accountability to universities,
  unless we have someone else willing to pony up the millions of
  dollers it takes to do what we do.

  If you have experienced harship or scrutiny as a result of all of
  this i can empathize. However, to think that we could continue to
  hold together the fragile construction that we called community
  without that scrutiny coming eventualy, we probably have speant to
  long in the safe house.

  You can hate me, you can scorn me, and you can bemoan the loss of the
  glory days, but we can also begin to work together to engage the
  difficult challeneg of explaining the benefits of the freedom we
  enjoy.

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