Article I: Name,
Purposes, and Jurisdictional Structure.
A. This organization
shall be known as the National Debate Tournament and is a unit of
the American Forensic Association.
B. The purpose of
the National Debate Tournament
shall be to encourage the growth of programs of excellence in forensics
education in institutions of higher education in the United States;
to conduct a National Debate Tournament which shall be equally committed
to encouraging the opportunity for quality debate for students of all
institutions of higher education by maximizing the number and geographic
representation of participating schools, encouraging the highest standards
of debate excellence by maximizing the competitive quality of participating
schools, and encouraging the highest standards of educational excellence
by conducting a tournament consistent with the educational objectives
of intercollegiate forensics competition.
C. The National
Debate Tournament shall be organized around the following:
Article II: Subscription
- the chartering
organization, the American Forensic Association, which retains
authority to alter this Charter, subject to the procedures herein,
and to exercise supervisory authority over the organization;
- the individual
subscribers which provide the base of support for the National
- the district
committees which are chosen by member schools and are responsible
for selecting district participants in the National Tournament,
and for providing representation for member schools on the National
- the National
Committee which is a chartered committee of the AFA responsible
for the conduct of the National Tournament;
- the Board
of Trustees which is a chartered committee of the AFA responsible
for the finances of the National Tournament.
in the National Debate Tournament shall be granted to any accredited
two or four year institution of higher education which sponsors a
forensics program, pays the designated subscription fee, and has an
institutionally-designated sponsor for its forensics program.
- B. Duties and
privileges. Subscribers shall be committed to the conduct and encouragement
of programs of excellence in forensics. Subscribers shall have the
in all qualifying procedures for the National Tournament;
- vote in
the selection of district committees;
appropriate reports on actions of the district and National Committees;
- appeal to
the National Committee seeking to alter:
- a. policies
or procedures of their district in conflict with the AFA Code of Ethics,
the National Debate Tournament Charter, the Standing Rules for the
Operation of the National Debate Tournament, or AFA policies;
- b. the number
of districts and/or geographical designation of district boundaries.
of a number and with boundaries established by the National Committee
shall be responsible for promoting debate activities among the institutions
of higher education within their geographic area; and selecting through
a tournament or other process the participants in the National Tournament.
Article IV: The
- B. District
- Each district
shall be governed by a committee elected by subscribers within
- Each district
shall elect annually or biennially (subject to the provisions
of Article IV, Section A.5.b.) a chair, either by committee vote
or by vote of subscribers.
- C. Powers reserved
to District Committees.
- Right to
determine their own election procedures as long as the following
conditions are met:
- a. all subscribers
meeting the requirements of this charter for membership are enfranchised;
- b. elections
are conducted by November 1 for each academic year;
- c. committee
members' terms shall not exceed 2 years unless reelected;
- d. all candidates
are members of the AFA.
- Right to
determine the policies and procedures of their own qualification
process as long as the following conditions are met:
- a. no subscriber
in good standing is denied participation;
- b. all policies
and procedures governing the qualification process are announced to
subscribers by the January 1 preceding the National Tournament;
- c. National
Committee deadlines for selection of National Tournament participants
- d. policies
and procedures are consistent with the AFA Code of Ethics, the National
Debate Tournament Charter, the Standing Rules for the Operation of
the National Debate Tournament, and other AFA policies.
- D. Duties of
the District Chair.
district and National Debate Tournament information to subscribers
including, but not limited to, district policies and procedures
and National Tournament qualification deadlines.
- Assist in
the collection of membership dues within the district.
to the NDT Committee and Chair information concerning district
qualification results, committee lists, subscriber lists, and
other information necessary for maintenance of the NDT process.
Subscription fees and lists shall be forwarded to the Board of
- To maintain
on file with the Chair of the National Committee a copy of the
District Charter and Bylaws, any Standing Rules of the District
Tournament, and a statement of compliance with AFA and NDT regulations.
- Any additional
duties specified by the District Charter or Committee.
- E. Right of
Intervention by National Committee shall be reserved under the following
- if elections
are not conducted by November 1, the Chair of the National Committee
shall conduct the election under the procedures defined by the
and procedures of the district in conflict with the AFA Code of
Ethics, the NDT Charter, the Standing Rules for the Operation
of the National Debate Tournament, or other policies of the AFA
may be altered after investigation by and a two-thirds vote of
the National Committee.
- A. Committee
- The voting
membership of the National Committee shall consist of:
- a. the chair
or National Committee Representative of each district;
- b. one representative
from each of the geographic regions (as defined by the Constitution
of the AFA);
- c. The Chair
of the National Committee;
- d. the tournament
membership of the National Committee shall consist of:
- a. the President
- b. the tournament
- c. the Chair
of the Board of Trustees;
- d. the Chair
of the Educational Development and Practices Committee of the AFA;
- e. the Chair
of the AFA Professional Development and Support Committee;
- f. any other
members that the National Committee shall determine facilitate their
- All voting
members of the National Committee shall have the following minimal
- a. a member
- b. received
at least a baccalaureate degree.
- a. The members
representing districts shall be elected to office in accordance
with Article III, Sections B.2., C.1., E.1. of this Charter in district
- b. By November
1 of the appropriate year, the regional representative shall be
appointed by the President of AFA with the advice of appropriate
regional associations and with the approval of the AFA National
- c. The Chair
of the National Committee shall be elected by a majority of the
Committee at the meeting of the National Committee at NDT.
- d. The tournament
Director and the tournament Host shall be appointed by the Chair
of the National Committee and approved by a majority vote of the
- Term of
- a. The Chair
of the National Committee shall serve one year.
- b. All members
representing districts and regions shall be elected or appointed
for two year terms, with half elected or appointed each biennium.
The representatives from even numbered districts and the Midwestern
and Western regions shall be elected or appointed in odd numbered
years. The representatives from odd numbered districts and the Eastern
and Southern regions shall be elected or appointed in even numbered
- c. The tournament
Director and the tournament Host shall serve as long as the National
Committee wishes to retain their services, as long as those appointed
to such positions consent to serve.
- d. Terms of
office shall begin on May 1.
that occur on the National Committee shall be filled as soon as
possible using the procedures specified in Section 4 above. Such
members shall serve the remainder of the term for which the vacancy
B. Powers and
- The following
rights shall be reserved to the National Committee:
- a. to regulate
the number and geographic boundaries of the districts;
- b. to establish
a uniform formula for determining the number of teams which the
districts may qualify for the National Tournament;
- c. to establish
and administer procedures for operation of the National Tournament
in compliance with this Charter, the AFA Code of Ethics, and the
Standing Rules for the Operation of the National Debate Tournament.
- The duties
of the chair of the National Committee shall be:
- a. to preside
at meetings of the National Committee;
- b. to report
committee activity to the annual meeting of the AFA;
- c. to appoint
such subcommittees as specified in the Standing Rules or as she/he
- d. any other
duties as designated by the AFA or by the National Committee.
- The National
Committee shall select the following officers:
- a. a secretary
selected from among the Committee who shall maintain and report to
the National Committee and to subscribers the minutes of the Committee;
maintain an up-to-date list of institutions carrying on forensics
programs as well as the subscriber status and instructional staff
of these programs; and perform any other duties specified by the National
- b. a tournament
Host who shall be responsible for such arrangements at the hosting
institution as the National Committee shall request;
- c. a tournament
Director who shall have the following rights and duties:
- (1) to work
with the Board of Trustees in developing a budget for the NDT;
- (2) to work
with the Vice-President of AFA on publicity for NDT;
- (3) to work
with the chair of the AFA Educational Development and Practices Committee
to implement AFA Code of Ethics sanctions;
- (4) to request
any guidance she/he wishes from the National Committee in areas not
covered by existing policies and procedures;
- (5) to implement
the policies and procedures of the AFA and the National Committee
in conducting the National Tournament;
- (6) to report
annually to the National Committee on the National Tournament including
presentation of motions to alter NDT policies and procedures to facilitate
work with the Tournament;
- (7) any other
duties specified by the National Committee.
- C. Rules of
- A quorum
of two-thirds of the voting members shall be required for transaction
of National Committee business.
Rules of Order (newly revised) shall govern committee business.
- Voting rights.
- a. Voting
members of the National Committee shall have all the rights and
privileges endowed on the Committee.
- b. The ex-officio
members shall have the right to address the Committee but shall
not have voting rights on any matter.
- c. In their
absence from a National Committee meeting, any member of the Committee
may be represented by another person from his or her constituency
who shall assume his or her voting rights.
required for enactment.
- a. Policy
decisions with respect to the Standing Rules for the Operation of
the National Debate Tournament shall require a two-thirds vote of
members present and voting, or a simple majority in two consecutive
years. All policy and procedure decisions applicable to the Tournament
on an on-going basis shall be enacted into the Standing Rules for
the Operation of the National Debate Tournament.
- b. Changes
in the Standing Rules of the National Committee shall require a
majority vote of all those present and voting.
- The chair
shall call meetings as necessitated by committee business with
the following stipulations:
- a. all meetings
shall be open;
- b. at one National
Committee meeting each year, students shall be invited and encouraged
to voice their opinions regarding the operation of the National Tournament;
- c. at a meeting
each year at the AFA National Convention, all AFA members and NDT
subscribers shall be invited and encouraged to voice their opinions
regarding the operation of the National Tournament.
Article V: The
Board of Trustees.
- The Board
shall consist of five members appointed by the President of the
shall be appointed for staggered terms of five years. In the event
of death or resignation of a member of the Board, the President
of the AFA shall appoint a person to fill the unexpired term.
- All members
of the Board must be members of AFA and none shall serve concurrently
as members of the National Committee or as tournament Director.
- The Chair
and Treasurer of the Board shall be elected by the Board from
among the membership of the Board. The term of office shall be
- The tournament
Director and Host, and the Chair of the National Committee, shall
serve as ex-officio members of the Board with no voting privileges.
- B. Powers and
- The Board
of Trustees shall be responsible for all financial affairs of
the National Debate Tournament including:
- a. preparing
and approving the budget for each National Tournament;
- b. developing
sources of funding for the NDT including establishing any assessments
for the districts and the subscribers;
- c. developing
the Standing Rules of the Board of Trustees to govern accounting
and auditing procedures for the expenditures and income of the NDT;
- d. signing
any agreements with sponsoring institutions. The Board shall have
the sole authority in negotiating with the agent(s) financing the
- The Board
of Trustees shall be responsible for establishing whatever legal
framework is required to execute its duties.
The National Tournament.
A. The organization
shall annually sponsor the National Debate Tournament on a date determined
by the National Committee and at a site approved by the National Committee
and the Board of Trustees.
- B. The Tournament
shall be under the direction of the tournament Director who is subject
to the definition of duties in Article IV, Section B.3.c. of the Charter.
Decisions of the Director shall comply with all relevant regulations,
policies, and procedures of the AFA, the National Committee, the NDT
Charter, and the Standing Rules for the Operation of the NDT. The
Director is granted power to formulate further rules and procedures
and to make interpretations of rules and procedures as are necessary
to operate the tournament subject to the review procedures established
by the National Committee. The Director may select whatever assistants
necessary for operation of the tournament subject only to Board of
Trustees approval of financial arrangements.
- C. Operation
of the NDT shall be governed by the Standing Rules for the Operation
of the National Debate Tournament subject to the following:
and Procedures of the AFA, the Standing Rules for the Operation
of the NDT, and policies and procedures of the National Committee
and Director concerning tournament operation shall be published
and provided to all NDT subscribers by January 15 of each year.
Any changes after this date shall not apply until the following
year's tournament unless the emergency clause is invoked.
alterations or exceptions necessitated by unforeseen circumstances
shall be allowed only under the following procedures:
- a. the tournament
Director shall provide in writing a request for the alteration or
exception, a justification for declaring an emergency decision,
and a justification for the request;
- b. the National
Committee shall on a two-thirds vote of those present and voting
declare the situation an emergency created by unforeseen circumstances;
- c. the National
Committee shall by a three-fourths majority of all those present
and voting approve the request;
- d. all subscribing
members (or schools participating in the NDT if full participation
has been determined) shall be notified of the change within five
days of the decision.
- In addition
to the provision for amendment in Article IV, Section C.4.a.,
the Standing Rules for the Operation of the National Debate Tournament
may be amended under procedures identical for amending this Charter
defined in Article VII, Section B.
- D. Any member
school is eligible to participate in the National Tournament provided
they are in good standing with the financial requirements of the Board
of Trustees; they are free of disqualifying sanctions from the enforcement
of the AFA Code of Ethics; and they have qualified through the procedures
established by the districts and/or the National Committee.
- E. Student qualification
shall be established by the National Committee consistent with the
AFA Code of Ethics.
- F. Qualification
procedures shall be established by the National Committee.
- G. In all cases
the NDT shall operate in a manner consistent with the provisions of
the AFA Code of Ethics.
Enforcement and Amendment.
A. This Charter
shall be in effect immediately following the NDT following the annual
meeting of the AFA which votes upon it according to the procedures
in Section 7.H. of the Bylaws of the American Forensic Association.
- B. This Charter
shall be subject to amendment by submitting a printed ballot mailed
to the membership of AFA after discussion and passage of the recommendation
by those present and voting at the annual AFA meeting. A summary of
the pro and con arguments from the discussion at the annual meeting
shall accompany the proposal. The ballots should carry instructions
that include a return deadline date no earlier than thirty days from
the date of mailing. Changes in the Charter will be accepted if ratified
by a majority vote of the members voting. Changes in the Charter shall
take effect immediately following the NDT following the annual meeting
at which the changes are voted upon.
- Revised by action
of the National Debate Tournament Committee, February 6, 1993, Evanston,
Illinois, and the National Debate Tournament Board of Trustees, November
18, 1993, Miami, Florida. Approved by membership of the American Forensic
Association, November 19, 1993, Miami, Florida. Ratified by American
Forensic Association members voting via mail ballot, March 1994. Revisions
incorporated by Arnie Madsen, NDT parliamentarian. Revisions to take
effect for the 1995 NDT.