[eDebate] The Greg Paulus Rule/Re: The Graduation Amendment & Why We Shouldn't Redshirt Debaters

Harris, Scott L sharris
Mon May 4 14:21:34 CDT 2009

While I try to avoid posting to eDebate I sometimes can't help myself when I get angry at a post and the arrogance in Mr. Chestnut's post makes me very angry.
The assumption behind Mr. Chestnut's post is that someone who takes 5 years to finish their undergraduate degree and debates during that 5th year is lazy and selfish.  As someone who spent five years as an undergrad and who had the temerity to debate during that 5th year (under the old semester rules) I find Mr. Chestnut's arguments offensive.  Despite apparently being academically lazy I somehow managed to complete an MA and a PhD.  My experiences during that 5th year were fundamental to my decision to stay in debate as a coach.  I have zero regrets for taking a 5th year on the undergrad and consider it one of the best decisions I ever made.
There also seems to be in his post some implication that the 5th year seniors competing at this year's NDT are academically lazy.  This is beyond laughable.  The two KU 5th year seniors are both Phi Beta Kappa students graduating with honors and double majors who worked their rear ends off this year.  Any inference that they are academically lazy is more than offensive to me.
There also seems to be an implication in his post and others that after four years you should have gotten all the benefits out of debate that you can so it is selfish to do it for a 5th year.  I also find this argument absurd.  Everyone's debate experience is vastly different.  Many who debate in college attended expensive debate workshops in high school and debated on a highly competitive national high school circuit.  Many others have much different high school backgrounds and learn how to be effective debaters in college.  At KU all of our debaters the last couple of years have come from Kansas high school backgrounds where they get to debate one semester a year in high school and are judged mostly by parents.  Our debaters learn how to debate national circuit style in college and it generally takes them a year or two to figure out what they are doing.  Someone like Bricker who never attended any college debate camp while in high school learned how to be a succesful college debater by working his rear end off.  I too was a kid who never attended a debate camp and learned how to debate in college.  I spent my first year in college debating in JV and it took me three years to figure out how to be a decent debater.  I love it when people who had much different opportunities than someone like myself tells me I was selfish to debate a 5th year.  Posts like Mr. Chestnut's make me very angry.
This has nothing to do with the grad student rule but just with the argument that taking 5 years to graduate makes you somehow less of a person than Mr. Chestnut.

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