[eDebate] 2nd VP answers (Ques 1-10) from Vik Keenan

Darren Elliott delliott
Sun Jan 4 18:23:21 CST 2009

Question #1--
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.,
remains unclear.
1. What is your opinion about having a similar policy for CEDA

CEDA Nationals should definitely have a ?recording and usage? policy for
its tournament, and should make available a sample ?recording consent
form? for others running tournaments to use as a source document when
creating their own policies. It was my understanding that we had begun
discussion of such a policy for CEDA Nats as last summer?s meeting in
the hope of having a clear policy for the 2009 tournament. Regardless of
individual views on the needed breadth or limits of video recording at
CEDA Nats and other tournaments, as our ?product?, and as the only event
that the EC has direct authority over, CEDA should establish a policy
regarding the distribution of its ?debates? from that particular event,
similar to the way other educational and non-profit institutions
exercise their rights over their events.

2. What limitations do you think should exist, if any, on sharing video
with high school debaters or others outside the CEDA community?

I think individual participating schools, who are probably governed by
their own university policies, and host schools, who are probably
governed by their own events policies, should be given an understanding
of how video is to be used, and should be able to establish limitations
if the intended use goes beyond ?closed? team usage. I think there has
been an assumption of ?personal use? for a long time in our community
that has been exceeded by the technology to distribute recorded
material. While there is a great educational value to being able to
share debates across regions, levels, and time through video, it should
always be tempered with the individual needs and limitations of programs
and the institutions that fund and support them. As a former high school
teacher and coach, I don't think there will be a large uproar if the
college debate community had one less influence on the high school
debate community based on the decade of feedback I received from my
colleagues. Finally, anyone who uses debate videos in a potentially
profit generating venue (i.e.: camps), should make that clear to the
potential participants. 

3. How should such policies intersect with programs who assert their
policy is not to allow their debaters to be video-recorded?

I think any debater and any program has the right to decide not to be
recorded. When I attended a series of the NDT Committee meetings where
the original SCTV contracts were discussed, it became apparent that
there are a variety of conditions that affect the desirability of
filming for individual students. One obvious example is establishing the
parameters of when the ?debate? occurs ? for SCTV pre-round prep was the
issue of contention, more recently it has been the post-round critiques.
Other issues that were discussed included psychological impacts and
safety concerns for certain students. As someone who was under 18 when
they joined debate in college, I had issues signing my own travel
consent forms under university policy, which leads me to believe that we
probably haven?t explored all of the implications of filming students
who are potentially legal minors. Most importantly, while under no
circumstances do I think we have something to hide as an activity, I
think protecting the safe space of debate rounds as laboratories of free
speech for our students from all our member institutions means
protecting them from the misappropriation or miscontextualization of the
content of their speeches. A simple example is how a ?politics? debate
may be interpreted out of context for one of our students who attends
one of the military academies. They debate in uniform, they have long term careers in the armed forces, let alone the immediate five
year minimum, and they are not always going to have the luxury of an
audience who understands ?commander-in-chief bad? is a block required by
switch side debate.

Also, as someone who has had a school?s ?no video? policy intentionally
ignored this year, I can speak to how difficult it is to ?un-ring the
bell? once video has been distributed (and honestly, it wasn?t a bad
video, it?s more an issue of principle for us). The only way to ensure
that a debate video isn?t published is to not have it in the first
place, which is why the right to not be taped should be presented. The
issue is more nuanced than free speech and PR, and the policies we
create and endorse should recognize that. Anyone who thinks there is a
clear brightline or this is a simple issue of freedoms and standing
behind what we do is kidding themselves.

Question #2--
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?

The first kind of support that CEDA should provide is the type of
support that is requested, because the answer is NOT the same for all
institutions. At a minimum, CEDA should alert potential new programs to
the existing types of support we provide: constitutionally waived fees,
the backfile project, and the leadership sample documents we have
provided in the past. We should also identify the most logistically
feasible tournaments for the program based on the calendar for the year.
CEDA should ensure that the Regional Representative is aware of the
emerging program, and facilitate contact if that has not already
occurred. Also, identifying either a local program or a willing
electronic mentor to assist the new program with more immediate
questions would be beneficial. Finally, if those who are beginning the
program feel it would be beneficial, the CEDA EC should write a letter
to the significant administrative office for the program (i.e.: student
activities, department, President, etc.). In general, it might be
advisable for CEDA to have an official ?welcoming? document, letter, or
kit for new programs from the EC.

Question #3--
Some would like to see CEDA Nationals attended by most or all NDT 1st
round teams.
1. Do you think this is an important objective?

Honestly, of all of the things we could be focusing on (new programs,
more debaters, better PR, debate in a world of emerging technology, the
need for professional opportunities, budget cuts, increasing research in
our field, diversity, etc), this is probably not my first priority for
CEDA. It would be nice to have closer to 16 than 6 First rounds attend,
but two (or three) National championships is incredibly expensive, and a
lot to ask of programs. And why do we only care about the first rounds?
I think the other 50-someodd teams are important too. I'm not the person
to ask to acquiesce for the sake of the death drive.

2. What actions would you take to pursue it?

I believe the general consensus is that when CEDA occurs after the NDT
it does increase attendance by ?NDT? teams because it?s another chance
for those who didn?t quite finish the season the way they wanted to. I?m
not sure if the data holds up, but I think obviously having CEDA Nats
and the NDT in the same city would probably assist the cause by
eliminating some travel costs for those teams. I think the recent
initiative to confirm CEDA Nats hosts earlier would assist in this as
well, and I would hope to have initial bids for the 2012 CEDA Nats by
the end of my year as 2VP. These are things that would probably have a
positive result in this area, but that would not be the goal. I just
happen to think ending the year on the all-inclusive tournament makes
competitive and community sense.

3. What changes in the tournament wouI?m not sure changes in CEDA Nats itself would solve the perceived
problem, beyond the scheduling issues discussed above.

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.)

It would be fantastic to have the same electronic access for our
membership at NCA that we have during the Summer Meeting. I think a
discussion board or blog via the CEDA website would be a good initial
start, potentially being updated as we go by the recording secretary.
Establishing a video feed would be ideal, but I also think updates from
officers posted at the end of each day, in addition to Regional Rep
updates would assist in giving more access to those not able to attend.
This year I tried a very low-tech implementation of regional involvement
and updates because the Northeast was both geographically distant from
NCA and the majority of schools were attending a tournament that
weekend. I not only sent an update after the EC meeting on Friday to my
region, and highlighted agenda items for the following day?s business
meeting, but I used my gmail/AIM status message to post what items we
were covering in real time in case anyone wanted to indicate an
immediate comment or question. I was then able to receive feedback from
other directors through both email and chat, and I solicited direct
opinions when I thought they were relevant.

Additionally, we may want to inquire about the size of the room assigned
for both the EC and Business Meetings at NCA by those in charge. I?m not
sure we would have had room for video capabilities this year, although
it?s one way to encourage community bonding.

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

This is why I emphasized a need to focus on program retention in my
original candidate statement, because while I think we?ve made admirable
improvements in development initiatives, those don?t necessarily
translate to retention measures. The first thing is to identify the
specific reasons for individual program loss ?because ameliorating a
loss of support is a very different proposition if it?s administrative
priority versus fiscal. For programs who have lost funding, perhaps
reestablishing them as ?new programs?, creating non travel debate
opportunities, or assisting them with increasing funds through hosting
would be of assistance. For those who have lost administrative support,
perhaps identifying another part of the school to administer the program
(department versus student activities) or working with local allies to
allow some opportunities for students to regenerate interest through
participation would be the starting points. And of course, if all else
fails, I can always invite them to join the Coalition. (This is a joke
solely for my amusement at Will Baker?s expense).

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

I don?t think CEDA should regulate argument content beyond established
evidentiary ethics considerations. Fundamentally, that is not how the
activity is perceived in ?CEDA? historically. Debaters can debate about
the content issues ? and I?ll double check the profanity K links are in
the backfile project. I think there are different educational models
that debate can follow, and the history of CEDA is one of open
discourse. I think content limitations would be more appropriate in the
educational and organizational model that the ADA is founded upon (for
the record, it?s rule #6 in their standing rules that says T is a voter,
although the criteria for voting on a kritik advocated by the aff are
not listed. Uniqueness and alternatives seem to only be a burden of the
neg). I think harassment issWhat 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

(Hi Jimbo.)

The best place to work with the NDT on the issues of convergence and
electronic eloquence are at the topic meeting, which is our only
"official" cooperative action and which has seen the most progress in
these fields over the last 3 years. Using the Topic Meeting, the CEDA
Summer Meeting (and potentially NCA), and the upcoming conference hosted
by Wake may be the best option to serve as a "testing ground" in these
fields. More students, perhaps using the Presidential Intern model
established in 2005, could be involved in the technological production
aspects of these existing approaches, rather than simply seen as a
"host" duty.

I think the biggest obstacle for CEDA programs in this area is that what
we are seeing is a reflection of the larger comm community focus - it's
departmental and curricular priorities. I think encouraging programs to
engage in public debates about issues of importance to their
communities, and to explore inter-school electronic debates, as some
programs do, may be the best approach within those limitations. One
other suggestion would be to target emerging programs or those with
reduced budgets to explore electronic production to expand debate
opportunities from their school to other campuses. Finally, I think it
is important to emphasize the eloquence and production value component
of any such initiatives - the point is to develop better skills than
most amateur youTube postings, right? Doing production for production's
sake is irrelevant unless actual skills are developed.

Multiple individuals have advocated positive PR measures for our
activity, including promoting debates, advertising our "success
stories", and using our awards ceremonies as source material for
positive press. These initiatives would also be excellent opportunities
to provide production experiences for our community in conjunction with
broader goals.

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

I think for the role of CEDA 2VP (and eventually 1VP and Pres), my
opinion on community is probably the most important. I suppose my ideal
debate community would be much like my favorite Coalition bus trips -
the Ivy league team, the "private" institution, a Jesuit school, some
village hippies, and the City University packing uniqueness updates,
Zizek, Heg good, and wacky critical arg du jour learning from each other
and enjoying some friendly competition (although, ideally, without the
bus). It makes me very fortunate, because in many ways the team(s) I
work with already is my ideal squad - valuing new debaters and
continuing debaters, and trying to provide opportunities for as many
students from as many backgrounds as possible. Every time we have a team
party or picture, I am immensely proud of the organizations and students
I work with, most of which is possible because of our dedication not
only to education and excellence, but to diversity of student
experiences and ideas.

As for my ideal round - there is a reason I like judging novices, and
it's not about my flow. My favorite rounds are the ones where you can
literally see the light bulb go off for a debater, where they realize
something for the first time. That's the exciting part of this activity
year after year. The first time a new strat really works, or a new
debater "gets" the game or really learns something - those are the best
rounds (although I'll take a well informed K throwdown, or some solid DA
internal links any day, as long as no oneMy ideal tournaments have large novice divisions, emerging JV debates,
and top level open argumentation (yes, that's 3 divisions). I'm ok
without MPJ (I like teaching adaptation), but limited strikes are
probably ideal. Time for educational opportunities is important - be it
post round discussions, diversity of args, or novice teach-ins. We also
need a chance to get to know each other as a community, although I think
down time is probably more efficient for that than banquets. In an ideal
world, my team needs to do limited navigation at a tournament, but
that's just because we're a little unfamiliar with the idea of a proper

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

This issue is one of the reasons I volunteered for the reconstituted
Hosting Committee this fall at NCA. First, we need early planning to
maximize cost options. Second, as mentioned on the NDT question above,
timing and travel cost minimization so that70+ teams don?t have to
choose between their national championships would also help. Included
with that, the overall scheduling conversation that Gordon has suggested
needs to be pursued, not just because of the NDT issue, but also because
ADA Nationals scheduling can have an effect (and I want bonus points for
ADA inclusion twice in my answers even though no one remembered them in
the questions). Third, I think Pocatello?s multiple housing options and
Berkeley?s discussions related to local transportation are the beginning
of the kind of productive and innovative cost reduction strategies
offered by hosts that we need to pursue EVERY year, and we need to
identify potential hosts we could assist with cost effective ideas. But
most importantly, increasing the number of teams actually DEBATING, not
only at a National Championship, but over the year, and increasing our
membership, are really the important goals, because CEDA is about much
more that running a national tournament. 

The novice break-out this year was one measure instituted to assist
programs in justifying CEDA Nats for their budget, but I think CEDA Nats
is about more than awards. I think it should be about not only
celebrating our community, but allowing our students and our coaches to
connect as part of that community. My most important memories from the
only CEDA Nats I attended as a debater were not about the rounds I won
or lost, but they were about confirming my connection to my peers and
celebrating with those I had learned from. Debate should be fun, and
CEDA Nats should be a place where we come together and celebrate with
each other. I have a simple assumption about debate - you need opponents
to have another side. That means no matter the competitive nature of our
activity, at some point we need to always remember we need each other.

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

Oh, where to start? As a preface, I don?t think it should be ?Coalitions
for all? (because most of you are not that masochistic). But I do think
it requires working together, as I mentioned above. I think it requires
targeting new program development to a degree, looking at geography so
that existing programs acquire more regional opportunities, which also
would guarantee support for the emerging program. I think a larger
calendar discussion needs to occur with CEDA ? a process I?m familiar
with regionally and would be more than happy to assist with nationally.
I think we need to accept that the world of ?merger 2.0? means asking
for accountability from the ?National? schedule in how it affects
?regional? schedules ? something that might be possible if the
proposal for a ?tournament committee? that was suggested at the NDT
Committee meeting at NCA moved forward (and so I?ll add that the NDT
Chair nominations should not only include the qualification of TACT, but
also of understanding the bigger debate picture, and CEDA should in some
sense lobby to be included in this discussion if it comes to pass).

Ultimately, I think it will tournaments are nice, but if there are 6 prelims you won?t be able to
attract many open teams who are looking for rounds for their District
Qualifier, so tweaking schedules can't be the only answer (even if you
can go home to your puppy more). I know from the multiple conversations
I?ve had at national meetings that my particular regional experiences
don?t translate across geography, so other approaches may be needed. It
may be as simple as giving existing schools an incentive to host for
others (such as Idaho did in preparation for Nationals this year
creating a new local debate opportunity); it may be as complicated as
working to build entire new programs. Most importantly, I will go on
record to say that I think the Regional Rep role should be not only
empowered, but encouraged to move debate in their region forward. At NCA
it was clarified that the official role of the regional rep was simply a
democratic representation guarantee ? I think it needs to be more than
that. I think those of us who are fortunate to be in communities where
there is strong regional debate have expectations of their rep that fall
into the categories of scheduling and program support, and I think one
of the most important things that needs to occur over the next 5 years
is establishing protocols and procedures for Reps to assist them in this

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