[eDebate] 5 years/Grad school debate

Liz Kim ekim711
Wed May 6 09:26:27 CDT 2009

I don't really care about whether or not students get to debate for five
years, but frankly I'm a little surprised that the movement to allow
debaters a fifth year has become the focus of how to best encourage more
participation, or perhaps better participation in debate. This is even worse
if the grad school amendment is meant to be purely a question of fairness.
If we're going to allow grad students to debate, and even debate at a
different school than they attended undergrad for, we should repeal or at
least significantly amend the hybrid rule first. There isn't much excuse for
saying "oh it's ok for a grad student to debate at a different program
because his/her undergrad school doesn't have a graduate program" but then
saying that "debaters who attend colleges without established debate
programs have no right to go to the NDT with another team." By the hybrid
rule logic, grad students should be excluded from debating another year if
they "choose" to go to an undergrad institution without graduate
programs.The student first, debater second argument also supports
significant changes to the hybrid rule. Yes, I chose to go to a college that
hasn't had a debate team since the '60s and despite my best attempts to find
a partner and restart a program, the only way I could participate was to
debate with Harvard. The choice that I make in my academic interest however,
shouldn't deny me the opportunity to compete at the NDT. Yes, every choice
that I make, including where I go to college, will trade off with something
else - but that trade off can occur in the extra time it takes me to commute
to debate meetings at a different university, or even the inherent
difficulty in debating with another school rather than denying hybrid
debaters a chance to compete at the NDT.  Unlike the grad school amendment
which would only extend a debaters' time to compete, changing the hybrid
rule would encourage new students to debate, even if they couldn't find a
partner at their own school. Obviously there are a variety of arguments for
and against amending the hybrid rule, but there isn't much justification for
allowing grad students to debate and have another NDT when some undergrad
students don't even get the chance to qualify.

How about the community deals with a discriminatory rule that discourages
participation and team-building before trying to make sure debaters who
already had multiple opportunities to attend the NDT get one more shot.
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