[eDebate] 2nd VP answers from Andy Ellis
Sun Jan 4 18:11:09 CST 2009
"Several national tournaments have recently enacted policies that
preclude the public posting of video-recorded debates, but allow for
"private sharing". Whether that sharing is limited to the college
community, or might include interested high school debaters, etc.,
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
with 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 believe the policy should be as follows. The default assumption is
that during official activities at CEDA nationals you can and likely
will be taped and it will potentially be produced and posted by anybody
attending, including CEDA. CEDA Nationals is and should be a public
Individual participants have the opportunity to opt out. An opt out will
prevent you from being taped or appearing in any CEDA Video. If it is a
public space an agreement to opt out with CEDA does not mean someone
will not tape you, that as always wherever you are is largely between
you and them, and perhaps the campus, but with friendly video takers it
will probably suffice, and for unfriendly vidographers it gives you
something more to use.
But everybody needs to be vigilant. If there is a video camera on don't
forget its on. Don't think it wont get shared. I'm really not sure how
you could say its ok to digitize this but dont share this with high
school kids(Well ok I have an idea) but still its kinda bizarre. And
pretty absurd. I mean really, what better way to want to make high
school kids see something than slapping an age verification system on
Coaches do not and should not be making rules for their team about who
can be on video, but thats not ours to legislate. Individuals are the
unit that should opt in and out of image control, and exempt "my whole
team" wont do, you as a coach can be sure to enforce that rule, but ceda
in this instance should deal with individuals.
Without a bunch of sanctions that we can't legally back up we can't stop
video from coming in. There are litterly 1000s of video photo and audio
devices at any ceda nationals we can regulate our own video production,
but really don't want the job of clamping down on internet video.
Question #2?Emerging Programs
"Assume there is some glimmer of possibility for a program to emerge
(students seeking to establish one, a faculty member trying to get it
started, etc.). What sort of support, in the form of information, letter
writing, sending in outsiders, etc., should CEDA provide?"
I have worked with new and emerging programs at every step of my time in
ceda. If i was elected second vice president I would make the direct
provision of services to help start up new programs a top priority. New
programs do not need letters, or calls from CEDA officers, they need
some of the same things we all need, cheap local tournaments with good
competition, help strecthing the budget(even if they don't have an
official one everybody has one) dedicated coaching, and talented
They also often need help training coaches and new debaters, plans for
organizational growth, and budgetary supplements.
Almost all of my opponents have experience with emerging programs, and
who ever wins i am sure will make this a highlight of their
administartion. Mike Davis's work to get the new and emerging program
amendment in to law has opened up the membership in radical new ways,
but if we can't put together a program that supports new and emerging
programs with direct services we wont be able to take advanateg of the
opportunities he provides.
We need to provide a variety of free and contracted services that can
put us to work building new programs. A $5000 package where CEDA
directly works with a school interested in debate is not out of the
question, neither is one tailored to less. CEDA should provide the following services and resources through a
centralized website and through direct on site work :
New Program Guides-Real step by step checklists, guides, timlines, and
strategies from people who have done it.
Coach and Debater Training-Real & Virtual
Pooled Resources-Coaching, evidence, judging and more can be bundled
together and save costs for everybody.
Funding-Not yet but down the road?
One Day tournaments-Encourage particpation with flexible tournament
Digital Debate-Get people debating even if they can not leave their
New Research into institutional motivations-What russel should chair if
he doesnt win this election.
Question #3?NDT 1st Rounds at CEDA Nats
"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 happen?"
This is not that high of a priority to me mainly because i think there
is very little ceda can do to account for the vast array of reasosn that
some first rounds don't attend. I do however think that making ceda
better for its own sake will bring more teams of all skill and
experience levels to the tournament.
Question #4?Electronic Business meetings
"How do you feel about having electronic business meetings to allow
those of us who cannot attend nca an opportunity to participate more in
ceda? (eg via an online bulletin board, via edebate/ceda-l, etc.)"
Absolutly. I think all offical business should take place electronicaly
as well as in person(though i think phasing out the current in person
meetings is a possibility worth looking in to. There are a lot of forums
that could facilitate very effective online meetings , and a lot of
their are free. For very little resources we could make the video in the
meetings two way and take advanatge of the vast numbers of web cams our
members have. Chat exists for people without webcams, and so do a whole
lot of other things, the how is the fun part and we will get to it, but
it is immenantly doable.
The Why is tougherl, but not that tough. Many of us cannont afford
either the travel or the time to attend business meetings, if we don't
have department or some one to pay for the trip it is one more expense
out of pocket, and while particpation in those meetings is worth a lot,
its not worth a trip across the country. But organizational business is
important to a lot of members and we should encourage particpation, it
builds stake and community, and often provides resources the
organization never knew it had amongst its members. Furthermore having
open forums and transparent virtual meetings, creates a record that can
allow members to go back and asseses decisons made by the ec and the
In addition to existing business i would encourage ec members to blog,
podcast, chat, and what ever else they like on the ceda site. If elected
i will host at least one monthly online forum, where i present the work
i am doing, and seek feedback, advice, and discussion from members, and
i would strongly encourage the other members of the ec to do so.
Question #5?Revive Small Programs
"What will each of you do to help revive progams at smaller colleges who
have lost their programs either by funding shortfalls or administration
Several intiatives i have proposed would substaintially benefit small
college programs. 1) Localization and flexible tournament sanctioning
can decrease costs and reduce travel burdens 2) Resource pooling and
member services can stretch a small programs budget 3) An executive
director could work to adapt the message ceda promotes to a variety of
different type of schools. The thread uniting all of these is that CEDA
needs to provide service and leadership that not only creates
opportunity for small programs but also provides the direct services
they often need in order to function.
Administration aporganization come to rest on our time tested ideas of what excites
administrators, but we need to rethink what makes debate good, beyond
notions of "they wouldnt understand" or " we can't tell them about that"
because the excitement we bring to our activity is a powerful sales
point and we need to be willing to make it to our administrators. Many
in the organization are doing this well all ready and need no help from
the organization, but all of us can use the good ideas of others.
As a ceda leader i would reach out to the people who have had the most
success and seek their stories, these are not trade secrets, other
programs succeding help all of us. I over the years have found that
those who have successful models for engaging administrators are not
only excited to talk and share but are often amazed by the lack of ways
to share that knowledge. One of the many information initiatives i would
launch would be a directors dialouge, blog and resource corner where
amongst other things directors could share their sucesses and failures
with administration innovations.
Question #6?Content Regulation
"Under what conditions, if any, would you accept, advocate or defend the
content regulation of a CEDA-sanctioned intercollegiate debate?"
I do not favor content regulation of ceda debates beyond the laws that
exist that always already govern us.
"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
electronic eloquence of our organizations? Secondarily, what should
CEDA in conjunction with the NDT do to foster our students' development
of producerly skills necessary to successfully communicate ideas,
develop meaningful social and political coalitions, and participate in
democratic discourse in the "real world" with all the underlying
CEDA needs a centralized web site that provides content people need and
function that people will use. We should from the centralized site push
out to as many social networks as we like the content and announcements
from the site. I have written more extensivly about this on edebate.
Question #8?Ideal Debate World
"Describe your ideal debate round, team, squad, tournament, and
The ideal debate round is one where both teams are well prepared to
disagree intelligently. The ideal team can make an argument that they
enjoy while listening and refining their argument. The ideal squad
combines different skills and resources to work together to be greater
than the sum of its parts. The ideal tournament is one with good judges,
a humane schedule, reasonable accomodations, and competition suited for
all particpants. I cringe at the idea of ideal communities, but would
say that one in which all particpants can disagree and still come back
to do it again.
Question #9?Teams Participating at CEDA
"What would you do to try and increase the number of teams participating
at CEDA Nationals?"
1) I would implement my new program and regional revitalization
initatives to increase the number of teams participating in debate.
2)Fundraising would be a priority of my administration and one of the
key goals would be to provide a pool of support to get new and
re-emerging programs to CEDA nats.
3) A long term goal is to bring down the cost of CEDA nationals for all.
4) I would initaiate a dialouge amogst the membership about the date of
the tournament and find the solution that worked best for the membership
5)For the nationals that i was responsible for hosting i would seek
partnerships with the municipalities that host and reach out to civic
and corporate leadership in the area where we are hosting.
Question #10?Regional Debate
"What should CEDA do to revitalize Regional Debate?"
One Day Tournaments
Five Round Tournaments
Direct Support to New and Emerging Program
Focus on two regions per year
Create incentives for regions not vested in ceda to be ceda regions
recruit and work with qualified"What experience do you have to make you qualified to be in charge of a
National Organization that fulfills both academic and competitive needs
of its members?"
I have worked in the debate community as a coach since 1999. I have
worked with Big state schools with storied traditions and re-emerging
programs, small liberal arts colleges with programs new and old. I have
coached in 4 different regions, and worked with students from brand new
novices to high school champions. I have coached teams that have won
CEDA nationals and teams that are excited just to attend. All of these
experiences have given me the opportunity to see how competition and
education coexist in a wide variety of settings.
Furthermore my experience launching the 20 school middle school debate
league in Baltimore and the follow on experience launching the Baltimore
College Debate Intiative, have developed my ability to balance
competition and education signifigantly.
In addition to my debate experience I bring 5 years of non profit
program management to my candidacy. By combining the three aspects i can
successfully guide CEDA toward organizational growth, better
comepetition, and better education.
Question #12?Working Well With Others
"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 Peterson (the 2 who will assume the
Presidency before you). What do you bring to the table to ensure a
smooth and complementary leadership role?"
Despite what many may think, I actually work pretty well with others,
even if i don't always agree or even like them. When i have a job to do
I can put aside disagreements and implement a solution even if i don't
agree that it is the best one. The key hint i would give to Gordon and
Sue is this: I like to debate, argue, disagree, even fight, to me its
part of the brainstorming process, but once you are done with the
discussing and you want me to get to work just let me know.
I have a lot of respect for Gordon, Sue and all of the leadership of
CEDA and am eager to work with them. I have a lot of ideas for how i
think the organization can get better, that is the fun of a campaign,
but once its time to work, i will consult with Gordon and Sue to figure
out what roles they want me to have. If they are interested in
impelmenting ideas that i come up with i have no problem handing control
over, if they are uninterested or opposed, i will work with them to
figure out a way to support their visions and work toward mine when i am
Those that really know me, know that i am a hard and committed worker
who will selflessly work to get the goal achieved. If the goal is
important it may be more important to me than the feelings of the people
involved, however if the feelings of the people involved are a key
component of achieving the goal, then working together becomes part of
completing the project.
Question #13?Leadership Structure
"Do you feel CEDA should abandon its current leadership structure and
move towards another structure? If so, what should the new structure
To put it bluntly CEDA needs to grow up and get a day job. NO im not
saying the leadership structure is not grown up or doesnt have day jobs.
But what i am saying is that CEDA as on organization maybe does 20 hours
of work a week plus signifignat work around certain events.
But the mission of the organization is expansive, and simply cannont be
fufilled effectivly based on the valient volunteering of the dedicated
few. In Order to fufill our mission we need to invest a little bit in
CEDA should hire an executive director. I'm not talking about a $100,000
year john edwards needs a new job type of executive director, i'm
talking about 30 k plus benefits for some one to work full time for ceda
with salary incentives to get to the 100k salaray eventually. But the
simple fact is that despite having 100s of stake holders all over the
country the organa 100,000k worth of business management.
I for example would think that Gordie Miller would be a great executive
Director of CEDA.
The Executive Director Should Build the organization, including
structres for fundraising and development, programs and services,
products, recruiting, as well as all aprropraite business practices. The
exact details of the executive directors job is to be negotiated by the
ec and commented on by the mebership but thats the begining of an
The EC, an over worked bunch of people, already should provide
leadership and specfic resources for the vision of the ed, and let the
ed be responsible for getting the business stuff done.
In turn the ED works for the board, which means there is some sort of
checks and balances.
The EC loses some power in this setting, it is no longer the final say
on all calls, but it is on important ones.
There is all sorts of very exciting literature on ways that a board(the
ec) intereacts with the hiring and continued employment of an executive
director. If any body wants to read it ask me and ill send some links
"Recently CEDA has discussed moving from Regions to self-selecting
Conferences. Do you favor the conference format and if not, why?"
I think Conferences are a great way to go. (If i think that do i not
have to explain? or not get to explain? I'll go with the first one)
I Like the idea of conferences, there are some connections that cross
geographical barriers that could foster better stronger regional
communities. And While geography is a good starting point. The line is
always harshest when you are on the other side of it.
I think Conferences could create their own governing, organizational,
fee, benefit and recruiting structures not to mention the ways they
could innovate tournaments, coaching, and other debate practice.
Sports conferences cost money to be a part of but bring back resources
to the school, it is mutually benefical to both particpants (at least it
should be). Debate conferences should have the fleibility to follow that
model or the regional model currently in effect.
I think the first stage in getting to conferences is to make the current
regions no longer held together by geograpgy (and exemptions).In other
words in the first year of conferences, the only conferences would be
the existing regions. During the Second and third years after
conference implementation a select number (can't make this decison on my
own) would be started. 3 Years After a conference is founded it must be
reviewed by the executive committee. If the conference wants to continue
to exist (some may not) they have to present a plan to the ec and the
community to go forward. This applies to the regions and the charter
conferences as well as all new confereces created after the intial
"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 the organization?"
Edebate as long as it exists should be a place where business is posted.
Announcements about CEDA votes, meetings, tournaments, important dates,
and awards should all be there. Each executive board member should
communicate in this forum or any other within reasonable guidelines
enacted by the executive committee.
I believe our communication strategy should create internet content
centrally and push it out to a variety of different forums our members
are familiar with. Edebate for all of its flaws has facilitated some of
the most democratic open conversations on the direction and shape of
this activity that have ever existed. While the quality is not of the
level of publications of previous decade the record of the public open
discussion is amazing .
It shows us all in some embarrasing moments, and some of our weekest
moments as an organization, and a community. But it also shows the true
willingness of many in the community to debate when they disagree, and
it showsThink about it this way. Would facebook let people do the stuff that
phil lets happen? If so would you trade your old stregas for a billion
We need to use facebook and edebate and any other social network that
people are good at communicating in, but we need to have a centralized
information strategy that utilizes these components effectivly.
The organization does not need to run edebate any more than it needs to
What we do need to do is develop our own information and communication
system that is useful enough to members and the public that they have a
reason to use it.
Question #16?Professionalism Amendment
"Do you favor the current amendment before the membership on
professionalism and ethics?"
Yes. Even if it does not cover all situations, it is a huge improvement
over the status quo and begins to address some of the shortcomings of
the current system. We have along way to go to get it right, and we will
without a doubt stumble along the way, but as this summer showed we need
some mechansm to promote the values we hope we all share.
Question #17?Bad Press
"How should CEDA respond and under what time table should CEDA respond
in the face of publicity or press that puts the organization in a bad
light? Who should be consulted?"
Proactivly! In the past year we have learned alot about how to respond
to bad press. Much of what we have learned is that we are not ready to
deal with bad press. After August and Sepetember's press the statements
about the press where up on the main CEDA page for a long time. This
meant if a user went to the CEDA site not because of bad press but out
of interest all they saw was us responding to bad press. Who wants to
join that organization. Press releases about bad press should not
linger, they should do their job, and then be avialable to those who
look, but it should not be how we say hello. We need to proactivly
create good information and resources about ourself so when we do have
to respond its not the only thing we are saying.
Here is a formula that i would use to deal with Bad press:
Acknowledgement, Concern, Initiative, Progress, Momentum. Acknowledge
the problem, Show Concern for its severity, demonstrate the intiatives
put in place to address and prevent reoccurances, explain the progress
toward that goal, and highlight the momentum we have to get past it
stemming from the good things we do.
I would also seek pro bono public relations assistance prior to a crisis
so that when time was sensitive we already had the partners and
supporters to consult. I think it is essintial to recognize that we are
not equipped to manage a major media crisis, or even an embarrassing you
tube video. We need to increase our capacity to deal with such things,
but we need help from those that do so as a profession. We need to
identify people who are in this industry who have a connection to CEDA
and see what we can do to create a partnership, that benefits them and
helps us to have the professional resources we need.
Question #18?Ceda Sanctions
"Should CEDA have the ability to sanction its own members for behavior
unbecoming a professional, such as verbal, physical, or sexual
harassment? Whether CEDA 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 whom?"
Yes. CEDA needs to be able to sanction members and notify member
institutions of violations. Its not pleasent and none of us want to do
it, but not doing so puts the organization at serious risk, and puts
members at serious risk. When Bill Shananahan was fired this summer the
president of Ft. Hays indicated that if he had been informed earlier
Bill might have been able to keep his job. When the organization has a
safehouse mentality members who may have engaged in unprofessional
behavior have no incentive to notify their institutions, even if their
contract requires it. This creates a culture where things are tolerated
and things happen. to our members. If bill can be taken down by an activity the community
wouldnt have told on, so can others, and if we as a community encourage
a anything goes mentality we are all responsible when someone loses
We need as a community to come to an agreement about what standards we
will enforce and what sanctions we can take. If we don't have the
ability to enact sanctions we have zero ability to enforce behavior
stanards that the community agrees upon. A world where there is no way
to enforce, is a world where only those that want to comply will.
I don't take sanctions lightly and before we get there we need to
consult similar organizations, legal professionals, and large groups of
the membership, however if we can solidify some standards we have the
poetnetial to grow substaintially. Professionalism is i believ a key
compoennet in recruiting new people, this doesnt mean we need to wear
ties and say sir and maam, but it does mean having standards and
practices that are widely agreed upon.
Question #19-- wHY
"Finally, why do you want to be President of the organization?"
I want to be the president of the organization because i think i have
the combination of vison, leadership, and experience necessary to take
the organization forward. I have been a member of CEDA every year since
the merger and i have come to love the work, the mission, and the
people. I have been frustrated by the incredible amount of work put in
by the leadership and the relativly low buy in the membership has
responded to that work with. I want to see CEDA fufill its mission,
engage its members and stakeholders, and effectivly utilize its talented
leadership in a way that doesnt use them up with little thanks. I think
my experience prepares me for this challenge and i look forward to
working with each member to make the organization the bets it can be.
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