NDT Committee minutes, October 31, 2001
National Communication Association Convention, Atlanta, GA
District 1 TC Winebrenner
District 4 Fred Sternhagen
District 5 Heidi Hamilton
District 6 Ross Smith
District 7 Warren Decker
District 8 Dallas Perkins
Midwest Cate Palczewski
South Ed Panetta
West Sarah Partlow
District 2 Frappier
District 3 Rollins
District 9 Stannard
Eastern Mitchell (Decker had proxy)
2) Minutes from March 2001 meeting approved without changes
3) Report from NDT director:
A. Plans are well underway for the 56' National Debate tournament to be held March 23-26, 2002 at Southwest Missouri State University, Springfield, Missouri. John Fritch will shift from genial NDT Committee Chair to Genial Host. Note the change in days: the tournament will be held Saturday-Sunday-Monday-Tuesday, a move back one day in the weel School will not be in session during those days.
B. Proposed dates for submissions for the first round at large bids and second round at large bid are attached. They use the same spacing between bid entries and the tournaments used in 2000 and 2001. We assume the continued use of e-mail and faxed applications.
C. Over 50 evaluations were received on the 2001 NDT. They were generally quite positive but did contain several suggestions. Only comments 'receiving 3 or more repetitions are included here. The most bizarre (this time) was mentioned only once:
Favorable Reactions to the 2001 NDT (in order of decreasing frequency)
1. Friendly and helpful host ("Karla rocks").
2. Efficient and well run tournament
3. Diversity of food (Tex-Mex-Yea!)
4. Return of Big Board
5. Virtues of the single building (after round 2)
6. Beautiful campus
7. Virtues of the weather
8. Virtues of the south
9. Virtues of Texas (one response)
Suggestions for Change
1. Bring back participant plaques
2. ID badges are a pain
3. Improve quality of food (Tex-Mex-sucks)
4. Consider having people get their own lunches
5. Go to a one judge system
6. Consider other judge placement systems
7. Move everything back if daylight savings tirne occurs
8. Start tournament later for " West Coast People"
9. Fine "complaining directors" who have never hosted the NDT
10. The wrong team won- again (handwriting has been deciphered)
D. Dates: Moved by Winebrenner, seconded by Panetta and adopted unanimously:
Proposed Dates for At Large Submissions for 2002
FIRST ROUND AT LARGE BIDS
Must be received by Committee Members February 7, 2002 (5 PM CST)
Committee Calls or e-mails to Director February 9-10, 2002
Director Announces February 11, 2002
Declaration of intent to attend District February 12, 2002
Announcement if District Bids February 13, 2002
SECOND ROUND AT LARGE BIDS
Must be received by Committee Members February 28, 2002
Committee calls or e-mail to Director March 2-3, 2002
Director Announces March 4, 2002
Director's e-mail: @ukans.edu
Director's home phone: 785-843-2382
1. Should we do this further in advance?
2. What about long term commitment to, and provision for technology? Smith (chair), Perkins, Berry, Winebrenner will form the ad hoc Digital sub-committee to explore future technology options for tab. It was suggested the committee contact relevant people in CEDA
3. Alternative judge placement systems: the Director said that if it could be demonstrated that an alternate algorithm produced more preferred results, then the director thinks it should be used.
4. Discussed report of STA, data, etc.
5. Tournament director is willing to have shadow tab
4) Chair report
5) Board of Trustees report
The Board met for one hour today and reconvenes tomorrow. They unanimously agreed to limit engravings to two debaters and two coaches on the Larman trophy and purchased a case for it. It is still difficult to find hosts, esp. in economically hard times; they have nibbles but no host for 2003. They want the committee to discuss to what extent the debate community is ready for a different style of tournament, with less amenities and/or a convention site, higher hotel costs, less entry costs, etc. Brett O'Donnell passed out a budget which shows projected and actual expenses and revenues for 1999-2002.
Recommended fees per team: $200
Recommended participant fee: $35.00
Recommended observer fee: $100
He commented that the observer function ticket numbers leapt last year. This means badges worked. Baylor was not left holding the bag. Hosts should know they do not need to provide all of the meals. Fees for 2002 are precisely the same, but observer fee is raised by $5.00 because the banquet cost is that much higher. Costs must be assumed by those attending. Had no Ford $$ last year, cost per team is higher than the fees per team.
6) Barb Pickering, educational practices committee of the AFA: The AFA code revision process may take a few more years to complete. Eligibility: simplify to a maximum of five academic years and four years of National tournaments. Transfers: NDT committee should state what is unscrupulous recruiting (other issues include transfers sitting out, fines or punishment of coaches or institutions). Hired researchers: the educational practices committee is not interested in promoting the use of hired researchers. Sexual Harassment: statement will be inserted early in the document, but a policy needs insurance money to cover the legal issues involved.
7) Fritch, 2002 host report: It is worth it to fly into Branson Springfield. Clarion is tourney hotel at $67.95. Each District chair is asked to send pictures (suggested to take them at your D tourney). Classrooms/Library wing was given by a debate alum, has a good room for announcements, etc. Will have library open for "war room." It was suggested that if there were not enough room in the announcements room, then the Director should make written information of pairings and announcements within 15 minutes of the conclusion of the announcements.
8) Judge Philosophies: Last year worked better.
Motion: The committee suggests that all judge philosophies must be submitted electronically in a format or formats designated by the Philosophy director. Moved by Smith, seconded by Sternhagen, passed unanimously.
9) Committee assignments:
A. Appeals: Partlow, Smith, Perkins.
B. Bid Allocation: Hamilton and Palczewski.
C. Tournament procedure committee: Decker, Panetta, Mitchell.
10) Bid allocation. Hamilton reports that having districts on two different weekends creates uncertainty and that some chairs do not report. Need a time, number, to call. Chairs should be required to provide contact information for their District tournaments.
11) Old Business
A. District qualification. Hamilton moved and Sternhagen seconded
Motion: Amend IB1b to read:
b. Eligible teams: To submit for the bid allocation process, a team must have paid their NDT subscription fee and have either (1) a minimum of 18 intercollegiate rounds on the fall CEDA topic or its NDT topic parallel either both as individuals or as a team of varsity or open debate in at least three tournaments, each consisting of a minimum of 6 rounds with at least four different schools in varsity or open division, or (2) one member of the team with a minimum of 24 intercollegiate rounds on the fall CEDA topic or its NDT topic parallel in at least four tournaments, each consisting of a minimum of six rounds, with at least six teams from at least four different schools in varsity or open division (i.e., if one member of the team has at least 24 rounds satisfying the above requirements, no minimum number of rounds is required of the partner in order for the team to be eligible for the bid allocation process).
There were friendly amendment to insert "preliminary" before "rounds" everywhere rounds occurs accepted by Hamilton. Friendly amendment to insert "6 teams from at least" before "four different schools" accepted by Hamilton. Smith moves to amend to say 32 instead of 24 in b(2) seconded by Perkins. Passed unanimously. Passed by voice vote.
So that the passed motion reads:
b. Eligible teams: To submit for the bid allocation process, a team must have paid their NDT subscription fee and have either (1) a minimum of 18 intercollegiate preliminary rounds on the fall CEDA topic or its NDT topic parallel either both as individuals or as a team of varsity or open debate in at least three tournaments, each consisting of a minimum of 6 preliminary rounds with at least insert 6 teams from at least four different schools in varsity or open division, or (2) one member of the team with a minimum of 32 intercollegiate preliminary rounds on the fall CEDA topic or its NDT topic parallel in at least four tournaments, each consisting of a minimum of six preliminary rounds, with at least six teams from at least four different schools in varsity or open division (i.e., if one member of the team has at least 32 rounds satisfying the above requirements, no minimum number of rounds is required of the partner in order for the team to be eligible for the bid allocation process).
12) New Business:
A. Hiring of High School students. Normative suggestion to be discussed further at NU meeting: Should high school students be hired to work during the school week? Are they "hired?" Do they get to watch debates or are they sequestered in hotel rooms cutting cards for programs. Deatherage thinks we should be "fairly blunt" in devising language to "sever" such relationships. Stables says there are three levels: 1) Being there at all during their school week, 2) Doing work for schools, 3) attending as a recruitment by particular schools. Ed Panetta wants input on this issue.
B. Petition from Idaho State seeking to alter district geographic boundaries.
Appeal to the National Debate Tournament Committee seeking to alter the
designation of district geographic boundaries between districts 11 and IX.
Idaho State University submits this appeal to the National Debate Tournament Committee requesting alteration of district boundaries between districts 11 and IX. We propose redistricting the southeastern quadrant of the state of Idaho from District 11 to District IX (see figure one). There are several compelling reasons that this action would further the goals of the NDT. First, it would promote growth and diversity in debate in District IX. Second, it would maximize the competitive quality of schools in District IX. Third, it would encourage educational excellence in debate for schools in the southeastern Idaho region. In addition to maximizing the goals of the NDT, this change would encourage travel safety and ensure that Idaho State's district membership in NDT and CEDA was the same.
Initially, Idaho State University's participation in District IX's tournaments significantly increases the size and quality of those tournaments. Idaho State's participation in District 11 tournaments does not significantly increase their size and quality. First, Idaho State's participation in District IX benefits the district as a whole. At Southern Utah University in 2001, Idaho State made up 25% (6 of 24 teams) of the pool of competitors. At the University of Wyoming in 2001, Idaho State made up 33% of the pool (6 of 18 teams). Comparatively, at the Northwest Warin-up at Gonzaga University, we made up 7.1% of the pool (2 of 28 teams). Without Idaho State's participation at the Northwest Warm-up, the tournament would still have had 26 participating teams, which is more than the total number of teams at SUU or Wyoming. Additionally, at Lewis and Clark in 2001, which Idaho State did not attend, there were 41 teams competing. Overall, District IX tournaments would have had 30 teams without the participation of Idaho State while District 11 tournaments would have had 66 teams without the participation of Idaho State.
Second, redistricting Idaho State would maximize the competitive quality of schools in District XI while not adversely affecting District 11. We have analyzed four national tournaments with participants from both regions including the University of Northern Iowa, Kentucky, Cap Cities, and Pepperdine. We chose these tournaments because they measure competitive success against teams from other regions. For the aforementioned tournaments, the District IX win percentage was 40.2. If Idaho State were in District IX, the win percentage would increase by 9.97 to 50.17%. District 11's win percentage at the same tournaments including I. S.U. is 66.9%. Excluding I. S.U., District 11's win percentage would increase by 7.8 to 74.8%.
Third, Idaho States participation in District IX would encourage excellence in debate in the southeast Idaho region because of geographical proximity to other schools in the region. This proximity allows squads to travel more teams with greater diversity in experience levels. While it would be very difficult to pay for plane tickets for novice teams to travel to Lewis and Clark or the University of Oregon, driving to SUU is a cost effective alternative. This disparity in costs is almost universally true when comparing all district tournaments. The average distance from Pocatello to a District 11 tournament is 597 miles while the average distance to a District IX tournament is 329 miles. This difference also manifests itself in drive time. The average drive time to a District 11 tournament for Idaho State debate is 12 hours, while the average drive time to a District
IX tournament is 6 hours and 20 minutes (see figure 2 for examples of specific tournaments). The ability to drive larger numbers of debaters to tournaments is essential to maximize participation among novice and junior varsity debaters who are necessary to perpetuate debate as an activity.
In addition to encouraging broader educational experiences for Idaho State students, the proximity of District IX encourages travel safety and makes driving rather than flying a possibility. The Idaho State University's 15 passenger van safety procedures mandate that van drivers will not drive for more than 2 continuous hours without a rest stop of 15 minutes. On average, this regulation would add an additional 2 hours travel time to District II tournaments while only adding 45 minutes to the average District IV tournament. Thus, the average drive time to District II tournaments would be 14 hours while the average drive time to District IX tournaments would be 7 hours and five minutes. This is actually a conservative estimate since the times don't take into account road construction and meal breaks. Additionally these rules prohibit the driving of vans between the hours of I I pm and 5 am. The combination of these regulations makes traveling to most District II tournaments into a two-day drive while most District IX tournament could be safely reached in one day. Increasing the travel time to regional tournaments by two days on each end, would adversely affect student's academic performance. Further, we believe that the NDT committee should support all measures that further the safety of debaters while traveling to and from debate tournaments.
Finally, this district change would align Idaho State Debate's district affiliations. Currently, Idaho State is in the Rocky Mountain Region (District IX) in the Cross Examination Debate Association while we are in the Northwest Region (District 11) for the NDT. In order to fully participate in both organizations, a change in districts is necessary. Without a change, it will be impossible for Idaho State to fulfill our obligations to either region since we are a young squad with a small coaching staff of only two. It is unfair and infeasible for us to be expected to fulfill political obligations to two different districts. For the above reasons, we believe that the NDT committee should facilitate our request to be affiliated with District IX.
Figure Two: Travel Distance Comparison
District 11 Miles Time in Hours ISU Regulation
Walla Walla, WA 489 8:53 10:10
Spokane, WA 559 9:29 10:45
Portland, OR 661 11:12 12:45
Bellingham, WA 600 13:30 15:30
Eugene, OR 676 16:36 19
Average 597 12 13:30
District IX Miles Time in Hours ISU Regulation
Ogden, UT 130 1:56 1:56
Salt Lake City, UT 166 2:13 2:30
Cedar City, UT 416 5:57 6:40
Laramie, WY 511 7:05 7:50
Casper, WY 420 8:02 9:02
Tempe, AZ 834 13 14:30
Average 329 6:20 7.05
Discussion of appropriate procedure ensued:
The procedure is to submit to NDT Committee, then submit to the affected districts, then bring the issue back to the NDT Committee.
County of El Paso was once moved there.
Palczewski will solicit input from affected districts.
13) Ad Hoc committee to investigate computer assignment of judges: Smith, Deatherage, Bruschke, and Nate Smith.
14) Topic Process reform subcommittee report from Dallas Perkins:
COMMITTEE ON TOPIC PROCESS REFORM Preliminary Draft Report
1. Is there a problem?
Ten months ago when this committee was formed, it seemed as if the process was broken. The SE Asian Security Assistance topic, the Title VII topic, and the Hom of Africa topic were each roundly criticized as too limited and (at least in the case of the two foreign policy topics) not sufficiently grounded in the available solvency literature. Perhaps more disturbingly, the June, 2000 topic committee process and the decisions taken therein had left considerable animosity among many of our colleagues.
Today, the urgency of the situation seems a bit attenuated. Maybe it was a benefit of isolating the committee in the Sierra Nevada foothills, maybe it was the brilliant leadership of Mr. Whalen, but somehow the 2001 process avoided the serious hard feelings and disaffection of 2000.
On the other hand, it is true that there is substantial dissatisfaction in some quarters over the persistent commitment by the committee to lists of topics ALL of which seriously limit the ability of the affirmative to advocate what seems to all observers as the obvious solution to the major problems implicated by the problem area, while at the same time carving out very substantial guaranteed generic ground for the negative.
The 2001 process did nothing to dispel this criticism. While a well developed and carefully drafted topic paper supported a broad topic wording, the committee rejected that topic and presented ONLY alternatives that fit squarely in the previous mold.
Whether one believes that this is a major problem depends on some philosophical issues that are beyond the scope of this report. Suffice it to say that opinions differ. To people who are willing to suffer occasional slings and arrows from their colleagues, and who like limited topics that give the negative lots of easily identified generic ground, the current system may not seem to be broken at all.
Nonetheless, a careful examination of the process does reveal some curiosities, if not obvious infirmities. We address five issues: --Whether and how the topic area should be rotated between foreign and domestic;
--Where the committee should passively process community input, and where it should exercise total control;
--Where direct democracy should decide, and what decisions should be delegated to the committee;
--The timing of the current process; and --Whether the voting membership of the committee properly represents the community and its varied interests and philosophies.
Topic Area Rotation
There seems to be general consensus that this is a good idea. The exact form of rotation that would be best is less clear.
The old NDT rotation system only operated for a couple of years, but it is the closest model for us to examine. It had three categories of topics: domestic, foreign, and legal. The rotation system was not perfect rotation, but required something like it.
For CEDA, there are three issues: what categories? how do they rotate? how should the change be implemented?
The inclusion of the legal category seems to have wide support, based on the fact that many of our graduates are planning to go to law school and will find the training in legal analysis and research to be useful. Since legal topics can easily cut across the domestic/foreign dichotomy, it seems reasonable to make some provision for their explicit inclusion in the rotation system.
How the rotation system should work is open to discussion and begs for clever innovation. A strict rotation system that makes it known years in advance exactly what sort of topic will be required in a given year has considerable appeal. First, it is equitable and transparent, not subject to manipulation. Second, it would allow potential topic area paper writers to schedule their efforts for a year when their topic will have the maximum chance of getting accepted. Second VP candidates would know in advance what topic type they will have to shepherd through the process. Everyone will pick the years of most interest to themselves in which to get involved.
On the other hand, the strict rotation system is a bit inflexible. For example, a lot of people will wish to debate about terrorism next year. What if it didn't fit in the rotation? That seems serious, but how could it not be possible to frame a terrorism topic in any of the three categories?
The Role of The Topic Committee
The current process has lately involved an interesting paradox. During the meeting at CEDA Nats when the topic area ballot is composed, it seems that the practice is to put every area supported by a credible paper on the topic, with the possible caveat that there might be some maximum number of choices that will be put on the ballot. Drug policy liberalization was rejected and a great hue and cry arose. Today, the committee seems reluctant to exclude any topic area, and appears not to even consider adding topic areas of its own.
On the other hand, at the topic writing meeting in June, the committee is not at all bound by what the topic papers say, or more generally, by the input from the community as a whole. The committee members, who in March serve as rubber stamps for the topic papers, now do research, debate the definitions of words, and spend hours drafting and editing topics. Topic wordings supported by solid wording papers, and endorsed by large and vocal groups of supporters at the spring meeting, are nonetheless rejected by the committee, usually because the committee feels the proposed topics are not suitably balanced.
This dichotomy is puzzling. Why should the list of subject areas that goes on the first ballot be driven almost entirely by grassroots generation of topic area papers with minimal committee oversight, while the list of topic wordings for the second ballot is tightly governed by the topic committee?
Presumably, the answer goes something like this. What general subject areas the community finds relevant and interesting is up to the community, while the DEBATABILITY of the topics we actually debate must be entrusted to the expertise of a committee selected to be the gatekeeper.
Such an answer may seem superficially satisfying, but it raises as many questions as it answers. First, why should the committee have the power to limit subject areas at all? It seems as if this discretion is only used sparingly, and then everybody involved, including the members who make the decisions, regret it.
Second, many would obviously disagree that the gatekeeper function is particularly appropriate at the topic wording level. Why is the community at large not allowed to express its preference for inclusion of a TYPE of topic that the topic committee feels is inappropriate? Those who wanted a civil rights topic that broadly reallocated resources and power within the US, and an Africa topic that sent a bunch of those resources to help make huge systemic changes throughout that continent, will likely feel that this "expert gatekeeper" role of the committee is undemocratic and silences their voices.
Third and finally, it is possible to criticize the idea that the choice of topic area need not be subject to systematic management. The goal of assuring a well-rounded educational experience for our charges is not to be taken lightly.
There is nothing wrong with dichotomies, even curious ones. Perhaps the disparate roles of the committee in the two phases of topic choice is perfectly logical. Furthermore, a system of topic area rotation would likely make oversight of the topic area choice even less important. Nonetheless, it might be worth reflecting upon the disparate roles of the committee in March and June, and to pose several questions: --if the topic area choice and the topic drafting are so different, perhaps they should be done by different groups? --perhaps the topic committee should take a slightly more active role in planning for a balanced and interesting and relevant set of areas well into the future?
--perhaps the choice of what topics make the second ballot should be slightly less centralized, with a petition system or some other means of bypassing the committee to get a proposed topic on the ballot?
The Timing of the Topic Choice Process
It is widely and frequently observed that there is not enough time to
do any of the things that need to be done. The topic committee's spring deliberations seem particularly hectic, with late nights do research and days full of meetings with more people wishing to be heard than can always be managed. As this series of meetings is the single highest visibility part of the topic process (and perhaps all of CEDA,) it is perhaps not surprising that it has come in for various criticisms over the years. It may in fact have run as well as we have any right to expect. However, it is hurried.
The spring meetings of the committee are not the only instance of time compression. The interval between the choice of a topic area and the completion of the topic papers is not long enough to allow much in the way of reflective deliberation. This past cycle the committee had the benefit of some. outstanding efforts by some very good topic drafters. The basic outlines of the eventual choices were shaped by these papers. The committee ended up rejecting the one paper that urged a broad topic and crafted only fairly narrow topics that carefully constrain the scope of possible affirmative action. Given an approach that is going to require that topics be so carefully limited, it might be that more time could produce more alternatives.
Are we debating about the most central issues confronting American Indians? Could another month of topic paper drafting time have discovered better options?
Monte Stevens has proposed that the topic area for each season be announced at the prior year's CEDA Nats Awards Assembly. Presumably, the function of deciding what topic areas make it on the ballot would either be simplified so as to not require a committee meeting, or one would occur at a tournament, or even at NCA. The community could vote during the season, or even at CEDA Nats.
Current CEDA business meetings are not well attended. If the meeting at CEDA Nats included a one hour debate on what the next year's topic area is going to be, with a final opportunity to cast a ballot at the conclusion of that debate, there might be considerably greater interest. A few dozen students might even attend and participate, rather than merely use the time to prep for the next elim round.
If the topic area were announced at CEDA Nats, there would be an extra five or six weeks in which the community could generate topic wording papers, do some preliminary topicality research on terms such as "Indian Country," and think about the various papers that are produced.
Furthermore, the members of the Topic Committee might have an opportunity to do some of the research their job requires prior to arrival at the spring meeting.
The Membership of the Topic Committee
The committee is made up of people who are elected to it, and others who serve by virtue of holding other offices. The former seem to some degree to dominate the process, but on any close vote, the outcome may be decided by the latter.
The committee is chaired by a vice president. This person is generally elected because it is thought that they will eventually be a good president of the organization. What their proclivities about debate topics may be, and how they will run the topic committee for their one year at the helm, are seldom the decisive elements of anyone's "campaign." In short, the leader of the topic committee is not chosen primarily for that role.
Furthermore, the chair of the topic committee has no opportunity to gain any expertise at the job. One year and out is dictated by the structure of CEDA and its delegation of this job to a VP.
A small shift in the membership of the committee, combined with more attention among the membership to who is elected to the topic committee and what their philosophy of topic writing might be, could make the entire process seem to be more open to community influence and control. In particular, if supporters of broad topics about systemic change, or supporters of non-conventional wordings or agents, had a spokesperson among the voting membership of the committee, some of the hard feelings of years past might be avoided in the future.
Vague Outlines of a Proposal for Change
A topic area rotation system should be established. It shall rotate between domestic and foreign each year, but no more than three years may pass without a legal topic, whether foreign or domestic.
Membership in the topic committee should be more inclusive of varied viewpoints on topic framing. The chair should be elected by the membership. Terms should be longer, to allow for the members to accumulate expertise.
Serious consideration should be given to allowing topic areas, and perhaps topic wordings, to be placed on respective ballots through a petition process.
The Topic Area balloting will be by mail ballot OR by paper ballot cast at the CEDA Nats Business Meeting. That meeting, or another forum at the tournament, will include a public debate on the matter, open to all, which will be held before the votes are due. The new topic area will be announced at the awards assembly.
End of report.
Discussion ensued endorsing the concept of an NDT member of the CEDA committee, endorsing earlier area selection so that more time could be spent