[eDebate] 2nd VP answers from Scott Elliott

Darren Elliott delliott
Sun Jan 4 18:10:09 CST 2009

Question #1--
Several national tournaments have recently enacted policies that
preclude the
public posting of video-recorded debates, but allow for "private
Whether that sharing is limited to the college community, or might
interested high school debaters, etc., remains unclear.
1. What is your opinion about having a similar policy for CEDA
2. What limitations do you think should exist, if any, on sharing video
high school debaters or others outside the CEDA community?
3. How should such policies intersect with programs who assert their
policy is
not to allow their debaters to be video-recorded?

I disagree with these policies. Let me preface the more detailed answer
explaining a few qualifications. Because I was a lawyer and because I
teach 1st
Amendment and Communication law courses, I tend to look at all of these
from a legal perspective first, then I have my personal opinions. There
is a
distinction between what people this the law is and what the law really

1.  CEDA should not have a policy prohibiting the videotaping and
publication of
debates conducted at CEDA Nationals?nor should it condone the censorship
videotaping debates at CEDA sanctioned tournaments. Those policies are
and unenforceable given the ability (constitutionally protected) to post
material on the internet anonymously. To clarify two points of law on
issue, first, there is no expectation of privacy in the communication
acts at
tournaments. These are public events hosted by public institutions, with
students from public institutions. Second, the ?appropriation of
without permission is a non-starter for a number of reasons. Similar to
your picture taken on a public sidewalk having an argument with a
traffic cop,
you have no expectation of privacy. As long as the person posting is not
deriving financial gain from its publication, you do not have much a of
trademark or copyright claim. So, the legal basis for preventing the
publication of these public speech acts is on shaky legal ground.

My opinion is that these debates should be open to taping. It begs the
of what policy debate is in the first place. Is college policy debate a
of private moments of student self-exploration, or is policy debate
supposed to
be a serious discussion of policy issues facing the nation. Millions of
dollars are spent on policy debate. My assumption is that most people
would see
policy debate?s justification as a serious discussion of policy issues.
the self-exploration for your therapist. The underlying educational
function of
policy debate means that we have an obligation to our various ?publics?
when we
debate. The more ways in which policy debate is transmitted to the
serves the overall educational goals of the organization. There is also
question of insularity. I am troubled by the same people that want
freedom of speech for debaters within rounds, but then want to engage in
worst form of censorship?prior restraint?regarding the videotaping of
rounds. The inconsistency baffles me.

2.  No limit on sharing videotapes with anyone?including the news media.
If you
are embarrassed by the stunts you pull in a debate round, or the
language you
use, clean up your act or be willing to defend your actions to the

3.  They can make the claim and you can try to persuade people not to
However, I do not think they have an expectation of privacy. I do not
CEDA should have a policy of banning videotaping. They can forfeit the
round if
they are in a twist on the issue. One caveat, there may be a claim on
grounds, but that would be an exception to the principle..

Question #2--
Assume there is some glimmer of possibility for a program to emerge
seeking to establish one, a faculty member trying to get it started,
What sort of support, in the form of information, letter wCEDA has been making several improvements on recruiting and supporting
programs. Without giving a huge list, I will be the first to give credit
Mike Davis, Vik Keenan and M.L. Sandoz for their work on this issue. I
M.L.?s example of Vanderbilt helping the University of Houston serves as
model that can be scaled up. I think that CEDA should be more aggressive
recruiting programs. We need a few things to do this:

1. A new coach training seminar;
2. Evidence made available for new programs;
3. Designation of a mentoring school with incentives for that program to
the new program (reduced fees; etc.);
4. A professionally produced recruiting packet for university
Programs require funding. That requires institutional support. They
requires a
marketing campaign involving academic and institutional justifications
policy debate.

Question #3--
Some would like to see CEDA Nationals attended by most or all NDT 1st
1. Do you think this is an important objective?
2. What actions would you take to pursue it?
3. What changes in the tournament would you be open to make in order to
make it

1.  No. Not important. My program?s value in attending CEDA Nationals
has never
been based on the NDT.
2 and 3.    I would not pursue it unless the majority of the CEDA
community voted
on the issue. So, how would that vote come down? It is pretty obvious to
me why
those who NDT teams do not attend CEDA Nationals?it conflicts with their
for the NDT. The solution, and you all know what it is already, is that
will have to change its Nationals scheduling priorities.  This means we
have to guarantee that CEDA would be hosted after the NDT. That is what
it will
come down to. Consequently, CEDA will further identify itself as an
that is of secondary importance to the NDT. The whoring out will be
complete.  If that is the overwhelming desire of CEDA, I guess I will
carry out
its actions. This means, of course, hosting Nationals sometime in
April?which is
impossible because we have to host Nationals on some school?s spring
break. You
folks better think of the logistics of your choices before you make that
decision. One alternative suggestion?we suggest that the NDT be run at
Nationals. How would that work? People can still get their Copeland
award and
still be recognized as an NDT top seed. Then, they participate in CEDA
Nationals. No NDT. Now, you all know this is never going to happen. But
it does
illustrate an important point. Why is it CEDA always has to be the
that rolls over to the NDT? What has the NDT EVER compromised on in
favor of

Question #4--
How do you feel about having electronic business meetings to
allow those of us who cannot attend nca an opportunity to participate
in ceda? (eg via an online bulletin board, via edebate/ceda-l, etc.)

I am in favor of electronic participation. The video conferencing for
the Topic
Committee this summer was an excellent example of how this can be done.

Question #5--
What will each of you do to help revive programs at smaller colleges who
lost their programs either by funding shortfalls or administration

See my answer on Question #2.

A real marketing campaign with a professionally produced brochure
package and a
mentoring program that rewards existing programs for bring new schools
into the

Question #6--
Under what conditions, if any, would you accept, advocate or defend the
regulation of a CEDA-sanctioned intercollegiate debate?

The Professionalism Amendment answers most of this issue. So, I will
answer that
issue here at the same time. The answers to this question will probably
demonstrate the distinction between what people think Freedom of Speech
and what FOS really is in the United States. There are some people who
that public debate tournaments are laboratories for students to try
they wof intellectual inquiry. That is wrong. It is a public forum and
standard first
amendment law applies. The same people who make these broadstroke
pronouncements of absolute freedom start to shy away when confronted
reality. I can give too many examples of ?content-regulation? that will
even the most committed free speech anarchist cringe. If a student wants
engage in self-immolation to protest CAFO?s?do we prevent it or at least
the act after the fact? I say yes. What about a student reading evidence
some ?expert? who claims that real acts of violence are justified?then
to knock the hell out of the debater from the opposing school? What
defecating on the 1AC and handing it back to the First Affirmative
There was a QJS article on the Rhetoric of Shit. Does this justify the
behavior. What about simulating a rape (Yeah, we know it already
happened) to
the point that it creates a hostile environment? What about use of
language in order to humiliate or intimidate an opponent of a protected
(race, religion, gender)? Where do we stand as a community on an
class such as gays, lesbians, and transgenders? Are we going to condone,
absolute FOS, someone humiliating a student because of her sexuality?
about destruction of real property?.tearing up a room, or ripping down a
map because it has ?evil borders??

There are some clear-cut lines that can be drawn and we should enforce
to the
point of prior restraint:
1)  Obscenity under the current case law (huge leeway);
2)  Violence against other persons and against oneself;
3)  Acts of intimidation and/or humiliation based on currently
protected groups;
4)  Acts of intimidation and/or humiliation based on a person?s
5)  Acts of property destruction.

Acts censured (not censored) after the fact based on due process under
proposed Professional Responsibility Amendment.

Question #7--
What should CEDA in conjunction with the NDT do in the next five years
to bring
our organizations into the fold of convergence and increase the
eloquence of our organizations?  Secondarily, what should CEDA in
with the NDT do to foster our students'  development of producerly
necessary to successfully communicate ideas, develop meaningful social
political coalitions, and participate in democratic discourse in the
world" with all the underlying "implications?"

I like computers. I like the internet. I like communicating via the
The CEDA website is a great start. We need to shift away from edebate to
CEDA website. I would like more content on the website. I would like the
caselist to move to the website. I would like to have the Brushke system
integrated into the website. I would like to have videos of debate
posted on
the website. I would like a virtual tour of policy debate available on
website to aid in program recruitment and retention. I would like a lot
of the
material Tuna has on his WDI website incorporated in to CEDA. And, if he
not like it, we can start from scratch and model his groundbreaking
efforts in
this area.

Regarding the second part of the question. I do not think the
should be involved in creating videographers out of debaters. We have a
lot on
our plate already

Question #8--
Describe your ideal debate round, team, squad, tournament, and

My ideal round: The 1AC presents a plan that is pretty close to being
but I am not sure. The case has real would impacts and some critical
implications. The 1NC presents a conditional counterplan, a case
specific disad
and then thirty case turns. 2AC runs an add-on to give more weight to
the plan
minus the c-plan; impact turns the disad, and gets out of the case
turns. All
hell breaks loose in the block. The 1AR does a stand up series of
discoes to
get out of the case turns and goes for the impact turns on the disad for
easy win. 2NR goes for the case turns and the impacimpact the impact turns to her own disad. 2AR makes a brilliant time
frame and
impact analysis.

My team is the ideal team. I have a mix of National caliber debaters and
debaters who will probably never break at a tournament. The one?s who
never break will gain more from debate over the long run than the
debaters who
make to finals most weekends. Open to all, but feisty in terms of
each other?s assumptions on all aspects of life.

Tournament: The Mardi Gras Tournament, of course. A humane schedule,
plenty to
do after debate rounds.

Community. The Community is not edebate, I can tell you that for sure.
When I
meet people in face to face discussions, the change in attitudes is
There is a reason why we travel to certain tournaments out of our
region..it is
because we are meeting with members of our extended debate family. We
on issues all the time, but we still love to hang out with people that
like to
argue and that love to show students new ideas and new visions of the
world, as
it is now or how it could be.

Question #9--
What would you do to try and increase the number of teams participating

Free Beer-pong after round 8.

I think we officially incorporate some form of Novice and JV division,
or break
out division. Darren Elliott?s decision this year meant a big difference
for my
squad. Instead of just two teams traveling to Idaho, we will be bringing

Question #10--
What should CEDA do to revitalize Regional Debate?

See my previous answers on recruitment. We need more regional schools in
to have a regional circuit. As I noted in my 2nd VP statement. Louisiana
from 10 schools participating in CEDA zero, and now just one. We could
to eight tournaments within our own state. Now we have to drive all the
way to
Dallas. Bring back CEDA Regionals.

Question #11--
What experience do you have to make you qualified to be in charge of a
Organization that fulfills both academic and competitive needs of its

Directing one or more debate programs for over ten years. Participating
and or
coaching in debate for almost thirty years. My experience as an attorney
and as
a professor gives me a unique background to address the emerging
Beat Jason Russell in a beer chug contest in 1996.

Question #12--
4 of the 5 years that you serve CEDA, 2 as a VP and 2 as a Past
President, you
have to work well with others who are the actual President.  Whichever
one of
you wins will have to work well as a unit with Gordon Stables and Sue
(the 2 who will assume the Presidency before you).  What do you bring to
table to ensure a smooth and complementary leadership role?

I can take Gordon Stables in a physical brawl. Sue?not so sure who will
win. I
think you will be surprised that I work well with others on an
level. I am usually focused on how to solve a problem, regardless of my
personal views on the situation. For example, I worked with Ede Warner
summer during the business meeting. You all know that I will get into it
people on issues on edebate. But, when it comes to getting work done, I
down with people and try to work out a solution that we can all live
Another example, I attended the NDT D3 meeting this fall. I did not call
bolwing up the NDT, or anything else. Rather, I tried to help find some
workable solutions to problems raised by members of the NDT District. My
thinks I am quite charming.

Question #13--
Do you feel CEDA should abandon its current leadership structure and
towards another structure?  If so, what should the new structure look

No. Having the 2nd VP work for two years before becoming President
allows for a
smoother transition. Watch what happens with Obama in his first 100
days, then
ask yourself?wouldn?t it be better if he would have had a little on the
training first?

Question #14--
Recently CEDA has discussed moving from Regions to self-selecting
Do you favor thexclusion. I am worried about people gaming the system. I am not really
what purpose either regions or conferences serve anymore given that some
regions do not hold regional championship tournaments or regional

Question #15--
Do you favor a continued use of edebate for ceda business and
discussion, or
should the organization move towards a list serv that is controlled by

I think edebate should be abandoned. It served its purpose. We should
discussions to the CEDA website. Have a student forum section. I think
will also cut down of the conspiracy theorists posting ?Obama is not a
American? garbage every five minutes.

Question #16--
Do you favor the current amendment before the membership on
professionalism and

Yes. I worked on the original draft of the proposal. I think Gordon
Stables and
the others that worked on it did fantastic revisions. I have posted my
for support in my VP statement and on edebate. In a nutshell, we have to
protect the organization first. We have to protect students and we have
protect programs. It is about time that CEDA move to become an
association of
professionals. Part of being a profession is having enforceable
standards of

Question #17--
How should CEDA respond and under what time table should CEDA respond in
face of publicity or press that puts the organization in a bad light? 
should be consulted?

We should respond as quickly as possible. We should be proactive. I will
use the
most recent example/debacle. And, if members of the current CEDA
get defensive, then so be it. Chief and Gordon can jump me in the
parking lot
at Idaho State in March. When things got out of hand at the conclusion
of the
Ft. Hays/Towson round, CEDA dropped the ball. In typical insularity
fashion?they thought that we could all ?wish it away.? Well, the
audacity of
hope might get you elected to the Presidency of the United States, but
it will
not prevent the publication of such a juicy incident. CEDA dropped the
ball in
three fundamental ways:

1.  It did not move to censure the two culpable actors. Silence was not
the best
2.  It did not take any action on claims made by certain individuals
the event. My guess is that this failure to take action may have been
part of
the reason why the mooning video was placed on YouTube.
3.  Ft. Hays and Pitt were not informed of the incident. This was a
serious error
that I believe resulted in the loss of a great program. Jason and Andy
talk a
good game about public relations. But, I have yet to see any specifics.
Here is
a specific example of classic public relations failure. A critical
aspect of PR
is damage control. Our organization?s failure to provide Pitt and Ft.
hays with
a ?heads-up? on this left the President?s of the respective schools
wrong-footed. They had to overreact because the story had spun out of
before they could do damage control. A letter to the respective schools
have gone a long way toward institutional damage control. The respective
schools  could have been prepared. More importantly, they would not be
able to
point the finger back at CEDA. We got scapegoated because we failed to
Next time, when I am Imperial Ruler of all that is real debate, we will
put the
ball in the schools? courts.

Question #18--
Should CEDA have the ability to sanction its own members for behavior
a professional, such as verbal, physical, or sexual harassment?  Whether
sanctions the offender or not, should CEDA report complaints to the home
institution of the offender and if so, how should that report be made
and by

That is the Professional Responsibility Amendment. Please take time to
read it.
I helped draft those portions that the question seeks answers. The PRA
sanction violations of those listed in this question, after due process.
is an investigation and adjudication procedure. Thfired.
Maybe they should be fired. How that report is drafted and sent is
covered by
the PRA.

Question #19--
Finally, why do you want to be President of the organization?

My priorities in life are as follows. My daughter is first. My wife is
My debate team is third. Shadow, my Pomeranian is fourth. My family is
Debate is sixth. I have been engaged in the activity since 1981. I have
been a
member of CEDA since 1984. My only goal is to provide more access of
based debate to as many students as possible. I think CEDA serves a
function of promoting research based debate. Despite my rhetoric on some
issues, I only want CEDA to succeed and to flourish as an organization.
I want
it to regain it prominence as the Nation?s leading forensics

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