[eDebate] Graduation Amendment with a Caveat

Eric Morris ermocito
Fri May 1 20:48:14 CDT 2009


Several thoughts on this amendment proposal.

1. We should keep in mind the factors which motivated the original shift.
a. CEDA moved to get in line with the AFA (and thus the NDT), who changed
their rules. One significant motive was uniformity, which is undermined with
a CEDA-only change.
b. The average length of the undergrad career IS increasing at many schools
(while others give you 4 years to graduate or not). Our school has majors
which require nearly 150 hours to graduate.
c. Some schools have a hard time justifying providing scholarships to people
who are not yet done, but were recruited and rely upon debate scholarships
to afford college.
d. The 5 year option was already available to many, but required minimizing
travel for a semester, which may considered an annoyance. Occasionally, the
8 semester rule extended people beyond 5 years.

2. The current amendment's writing is designed to account for cases similar
to a recent appeal, where a student at a school with an unusual schedule
graduated a few weeks before CEDA nationals. Opening 5 years to every
graduate student is a VERY different animal than making a reasonable
adjustment to a school whose unusual calendar created a potentially unjust
and inappropriate interaction with CEDA eligibility.

3. Presumption should remain against graduate school poaching, and I say
this as a program that could theoretically poach effectively with our GTA
positions (I thus disagree that short term competitive self interest would
control the outcome of a vote on this proposal). It's a big deal to hand one
program the bill for training you, and then debate your final (presumptively
most successful) year for the highest bidder. The current ethical norms
against poaching - combined with the allowance for transfer - are a
balancing act that, if scrapped, might lead to a very different sort of
community. One we legitimate poaching via graduate school, it will seem a
short walk to accept it at all levels of the undergraduate experience. I
anticipate significant cultural shifts will result from open bidding, and
I'm skeptical that most of them will be positive.

4. Joel Rollins' post on CEDA-L indicating we may create significant PR
problems with our home departments is a valid point. Although I think the
proposal of some that we retreat to the old rule creates problems (see #1),
it would probably be far less disruptive than the 5 years into graduate
school alternative.

5. Given the points made above, and the clear lack of consensus about this
issue in posts thus far, I would strongly oppose having the CEDA EC assert
the power to impose this really substantial change on the community through
the backdoor of the appeals process. The purpose of appeals is to consider
hard cases within the spirit of the current rules, not to overthrow decades
of practice. The notion that it might do so in reaction to defeat of the
current modest proposal is even more concerning. It would be far superior to
stretch the Constitution by finding a way to vote on a 5 year, grad school
inclusive proposal than to have the EC impose that principle and thus push
CEDA and NDT into inconsistent standards.

6. I don't wish to suggest that I'm completely decided on the merits of a
5th year graduate school proposal. I am at least very hesitant, and I would
encourage those pressing for it to further advance the discussion instead of
moving to the action phase without a clear vote from the community.

7. Do you really want to give every former debater who finished in 4 years
another year if they enroll in a grad school somewhere? I don't know if the
"you sacrifice your eligibility by judging open" norm is strong enough to
prevent that, particularly given that none of those people understood
themselves to be ("uniquely") forfeiting said eligibility if they did judge
after graduating. How will you establish whether or not someone who
graduated in 1979 and didn't coach judged open rounds or JV rounds? It could
be Tim Mahoney's professional-debate concept run amok....

Ermo
MoState
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