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 on: May 26, 2016, 05:48:21 PM 
Started by gabemurillo - Last post by gabemurillo
Version #1 is attached


 on: May 21, 2016, 04:16:54 PM 
Started by ceda - Last post by ceda
Emissions was selected as the winning controversy area for 2016-2017. 61 eligible ballots were cast. A complete breakdown of the voting is below.

Initial count of first-place votes:

Anti-racism: 6
Emissions: 28
Labor: 8
Police: 0
Poverty: 7
Taxes: 12

Police was eliminated. The votes for anti-racism were redistributed. The second count of first-place votes was:

Emissions: 29
Labor: 10
Poverty: 9
Taxes: 13

The votes for poverty were transferred. The third count of first-place votes was:

Emissions: 30
Labor: 15
Taxes: 16

The votes for labor were transferred. The fourth count of first-place votes was:

Emissions: 38
Taxes: 23

The following schools voted:

Arizona State University
Baylor University
Binghamton University
Boston College
Cal State Fullerton
Concordia College
Cornell University
Dartmouth College
Emory University
Fresno State
Georgia State University
Gonzaga University
Idaho State
Illinois College
Indiana University
James Madison University
Johnson County Community College
Liberty University
Michigan State University
Missouri State University
New York University
Northwestern University
Rutgers University-Newark
Samford University
San Francisco State University
Stanford University
Towson University
Trinity University
United States Military Academy
University of California, Berkeley
University of Central Oklahoma
University of Florida
University of Georgia
University of Houston
University of Iowa
University of Kansas
University of Kentucky
University of Louisville
University of Mary Washington
University of Miami
University of Michigan
University of Minnesota
University of Missouri - Kansas City
University of Northern Iowa
University of Oklahoma
University of Pittsburgh
University of Southern California
University of Texas
University of Texas at Dallas
University of Texas San Antonio
University of West Georgia
University of Wisconsin
University of Wyoming
Wake Forest
Wayne State University
Weber State University
West Virginia University
Wichita State University

 on: May 20, 2016, 10:36:16 PM 
Started by WHSDebaters - Last post by WHSDebaters
School: Westside in Houston, TX

Situation: Our present debate coach has left us at the end of this year and we need a new coach for next year.

About the team: We do CX, PF, and LD at the local UDL level and also at the local TFA (Texas Forensics League) level. The team is a medium sized squad but usually cuts down by the end of the year. A CX team went to NAUDL this year and several teams have done phenomenally at large tournaments.

What we are looking for: We are looking for a coach who can coach on-site full time and is policy oriented. Additionally we ask that you are willing to put forth some time, not a lot, to cut evidence (Just politcs DA, and the occasional K card) and explain evidence to debaters. The person should also be willing to teach debate to newcomers. We are looking for a debate coach that is willing to take us to the 6 UDL tournaments and also 4 to 6 TFA tournaments and some more potential national circuit tournaments. (We have ever only gone to one a year) We are also looking for somebody that has debated at the high school level and for SOME time at the college level.

If you are interested please contact us at

 on: May 20, 2016, 11:08:20 AM 
Started by charrigan - Last post by charrigan
The policy debate team at Ransom Everglades Upper School in Miami, FL is seeking a coach to provide research and on-site tournament coaching. The team is looking to attend 8-10 total events, during the 2016-17 season. The coaching position can be either locally based or remote. Compensation is competitive. If interested, please contact Seema Chaturvedi by email at

 on: May 20, 2016, 08:29:32 AM 
Started by Tim Barouch - Last post by Tim Barouch
Hi all: we're looking forward once again to hosting you for the 2016 GSU National College Debate Opener in Atlanta! More information forthcoming in the invitation, which will be released later (but no later than the release of the topic). In the meantime, the dates for our event are Friday, September 16 through Monday, September 19. Below are links to make reservations at our tournament hotel. You may also call the hotel directly at 404-325-0000 and ask for Jill Kantor, who is once again handling our event. 

Hope to see everyone in September!


Link for King rooms at $90:

Link for Double/Double rooms at $105:

 on: May 19, 2016, 01:14:39 PM 
Started by gabemurillo - Last post by gabemurillo
I am working with Weber State to figure out numbers for catering for the topic committee meetings. If you plan on attending please let me know - you can e-mail me at pandagabe(at)


 on: May 19, 2016, 12:51:35 PM 
Started by skipeno - Last post by skipeno
Hello friends--just want to thank all those who privately posted good wishes for my recovery. I am, once again, home from the hospital. The first operation for sleep apnea on the 5th went well; then I fell my 2nd night home and ended up with my lower jaw broken in two new places. Looks like I'll be wired for an extra month, but at least I'm home again.
Thank you.

 on: May 18, 2016, 01:34:44 PM 
Started by Malgor - Last post by Malgor
I assume most have already cast their ballots, but I encourage all to place the poverty topic paper as your first ordinal ranking on the ballot.   

The issue has been avoided in college for far too long.  the taxes paper doesn't really get at this at all- it's about deterring behaviors which may have secondary effects on poverty, but is a far cry from centering a topic around economic inequality/poverty. 

The policing and race topics have a lot of potential, too, but is there any reasonable argument that a poverty topic isn't also a race topic?  You can't talk about poverty in America without also addressing race (and teams that fail to do so will likely pay the price on the aff).

Poverty strikes me as the best balance of timely, important, and robust for debate.  It's the ONLY topic that gives us the potential to talk about increasing public services in the US.  The taxes topic is a non-starter in this area, because any advantage the aff reads about increasing funding for X service will be counterplanned out of in about 2 seconds.  Any negative team with a minimal understanding of economics will make it so those advantages serve no strategic utility for the aff- if they even get run in the first place.

We should stop avoiding this.  The US has a gratuitous number of people, particularly racial minorities and children, living in poverty.  We are the richest country on earth.  Would it really be so bad to dedicated 100s of 1000s of hours of brain power from the college community to debating about these issues?  Even putting this plea aside, in terms of debate, it's one of more controversial issues facing domestic policy.  Obama called inequality the most important social problem of our time.  Congress isn't going to do anything about it, and there is such division between ideological perspectives on this issue that it guarantees robust, clash-oriented debate.

 on: May 16, 2016, 03:50:09 PM 
Started by lgarrett - Last post by William Mosley-Jensen
I had a question for the topic committee about this controversy. Are there any "must include" areas, or is it likely that the resolutions will be various permutations of them? I cross-posted this from Facebook too, as some folks might not be in the topic discussion group.

Thanks for some guidance on this!

 on: May 16, 2016, 02:47:29 PM 
Started by gabemurillo - Last post by gabemurillo
As promised here is an attempt at explanation of my process for reading and voting on topic papers. Two important caveats:

1)   This post is just about my thought process and my vote and does not represent the topic committee as a whole.
2)   I worry some about posting too frankly about my no votes. I want to be sure to say that I greatly appreciate all of the folks who wrote topic papers, it’s a very difficult task. I hope that my frankness is seen as an attempt at transparency in my process, and not anything negative against the authors.
I will start with my general criteria for voting on topic papers and then explain my specific no votes for the 2016-2017 topic papers.

Completeness of paper:

Does the paper present all necessary components of an argument that the topic is sustainable and centered on a sufficient amount of controversy to produce quality debates across the argument spectrum.

IF YES: Then I continue to evaluate the paper.

IF NO: I ask myself how much work would be required to make the paper complete, and if that amount of work is a reasonable expectation of the topic committee given time constraints between the topic vote and the topic meeting. If I decide it is workable I continue to evaluate the paper.

The obvious follow up is “what are the necessary components to prove that a topic is sustainable and sufficiently controversial”. While I will admit this is not an exact science the following are examples (but not a complete list) of things I consider:
•   Defense of an agent
•   Timeliness and specificity of the topic controversy  
•   Inherency / Negative uniqueness
•   Quality topic disadvantages that are balanced with affirmative advantage areas
•   Germane counterplans that center around the controversy of the topic paper
•   Negative and affirmative arguments from a wide variety of argumentative perspectives

“Non-Negotiable” components of the paper:

While I believe that it is perfectly reasonable for the topic committee to “perfect” ideas in topic papers by adding ideas, limiting certain options on the final resolution ballot etc., I also believe that the topic committee should maintain fidelity to ultimatums made in topic papers. After evaluating the completeness of the paper I look to see if the paper establishes non-negotiable conditions for the controversy area and if I believe those ultimatums are workable from the topic committees perspective.  

Topic rotation:

Pretty self explanatory, does the topic paper meet the requirements of topic rotation. If I don’t believe that it does has the topic paper done sufficient work to overcome my interpretation of topic rotation.

Topic Repetition:

If the topic paper is similar to a previous topic I evaluate two things, has enough time passed to “reset” on the topic area or has the paper proven that the controversy area has altered enough to consider revisiting the topic area.

Using that process, I voted no on space, wealth distribution, and policing.


I felt the paper was incomplete. I felt it lacked compelling negative arguments, in particular counterplans that were centered in the literature about space exploitation. This made me worry that negatives would be encouraged to focus on non-topic related process and agent counterplans to compete against large impact affirmatives. I also had concerns about the timeliness, I was not convinced that the controversy area had developed sufficiently since the last time debaters debated space.

While I didn’t “vote on T: domestic” I do think that question weighed on some topic committee member’s minds. I think there is an argument why a space topic could meet T: domestic, I do not think that this topic paper strongly makes that argument. I think stronger definitional and evidence based support would have helped immensely.

Wealth Distribution:

I felt this paper was incomplete. I was not confident that the explanation of negative arguments on the topic was sufficient to sustain a year of debate. I thought for a long time about whether I thought there was sufficient time to complete the negative on this topic. I was unfortunately not sure enough to vote yes. As a side note I love this controversy area, and if the poverty topic wins I plan on exploring this area as a wording paper because I think this would be a great topic, but cannot be confident without investing time in independent research.


I thought this paper was complete. I had some concerns about the agent but overall thought it could be workable. My concern was with the non-negotiable elements of this paper. I read the paper as demanding two things that worried me: that the resolution be constructed to force the affirmative to defend the institution of policing, and that the resolution be bi-directional. The former worried me because I thought it over-limited affirmative approaches to transformation, and made the “abolish policing” CP too powerful against large portions of the topic papers affirmative arguments. The latter worried me because I don’t think the topic paper established sufficient uniqueness for a topic that allowed affirmatives to increasing policing.  

Two FWIW’s about this topic paper: First, I believe I was the only no vote on the policing paper. I’m fine with that, but wanted to make clear that I was in the extreme minority on the topic paper on this vote. Second, I think that this controversy area was addressed strongly in the policing section of the anti-racism paper, so I did not think of my vote against this topic as much as a vote against the controversy, but a fear that the non-negotiable components worried me about the workability of the topic.  


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