[eDebate] Graduate Student eligibility

Eric Morris ermocito
Sat May 9 22:41:46 CDT 2009

I do not read the rule the way Bill reads it (and if I did, I would
certainly vote against it). My reading of it matches Gordon's statement
about its intent.

Here is the text:

?National CEDA Tournament contestants are to be officially enrolled students
in good standing at the college or university they represent in competition.
All CEDA tournament contestants must be undergraduate students, unless they
have already received their undergraduate degree, are officially enrolled in
a graduate program at the same institution, and have competed in four or
less years of intercollegiate debate.?

I get that "have" is past tense, but it is past tense in relation to the
particular CEDA Nationals. If, come 2010, a graduate student seeks to
compete at CEDA, they will have to "have competed in four or less years" at
that time. Those who are finishing their 4th year of competition will meet
this rule, and those who are finishing their 5th year will not.

Bill's interpretation would make sense if the rule said "had completed
competition in four or less years" (meaning that the present 5th year was
not yet complete), but that's not the wording. The only sneaky way around
this would be to not "really" debate your 5th year but then try to show up
at nationals. I assume someone trying that would lose if challenged, given
that there is a member of the EC on public record indicating that doing so
would violate the rule's purpose. Plus, I'm not real concerned about
competitors who skip the year prior to CEDA...

There was an appeal on this basis last year, and I believe the amendment
reflects agreement with the idea that allowing even someone who graduates in
Feb/Mar before CEDA (due to a quarter system, etc) was a significant enough
change that the EC would like to have member support of the concept instead
of just precedent.

If you agree with Justin Green and Tuna that the CEDA EC should not make
major adjustments without a community vote, then you should also be
uncomfortable with the EC habitually doing so on eligibility questions. This
isn't an objection to the EC doing so last year (actually, I don't recall
how that case was resolved), but a recognition that doing so is less ideal
than a forward looking membership vote. Even if Chief is correct, and only
50% vote, it's probably fair to say that those who interested in expressing
their opinion are the ones who vote. I wouldn't support a massive expansion
of real presidential powers on the basis of low voter turnout in real

All that said, the question of whether we should allow this at all - or, the
question of whether we should go FURTHER - are all important questions.
Reasonable people may differ. I just hope that people voting will vote on
the basis of what the amendment actually says, and not on the basis of
misconceptions about it.


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