College Policy Debate Forums
September 22, 2014, 10:11:19 AM *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?

Login with username, password and session length
News: IF YOU EXPERIENCE PROBLEMS WITH THE SITE, INCLUDING LOGGING IN, PLEASE LET ME KNOW IMMEDIATELY.  EMAIL ME DIRECTLY OR USE THE CONTACT US LINK AT THE TOP.
 
   Home   Help Search Login Register CEDA caselist Debate Results Council of Tournament Directors Edebate Archive  
Pages: [1] 2
  Print  
Author Topic: Round Robin in March  (Read 10357 times)
hardyat
Jr. Member
**
Posts: 69


« on: November 28, 2013, 10:59:00 AM »

First – Let me make clear that this post represents my own views, and I do not speak on behalf of Northwestern or any of its coaches or debaters.
 
Short version
I am independently hosting a round robin in Chicago, March 8-9. The full invite will be posted soon. The tournament is open to anyone who would like to attend – the only stipulation is that teams must opt-in to debate exclusively about the topic, subject to an enforcement mechanism. The idea is to remove the burden of rules enforcement from the debaters and allow debates to focus more on substantive discussion.

While the tournament will use the current War Powers topic, I broadly support the idea of tournaments providing an enforceable opt-in mechanism to debate about whatever topic or set of rules reflect the wishes of the participants. If I hold the tournament again in a future year, I am very open to trying out different formats, styles or topics instead. In that spirit, the tournament will also feature an optional round (or two) for participants to try out debating under a different set of specified parameters (e.g. passive voice or a different resolution), final details TBD.

Longer rationale
For all of the debates about “framework” over the last 10-15 years, it seems that we have gotten no closer to an actual consensus. Instead, the status quo is failing both sides of the divide. Policy teams begrudge the number of debates in which they don’t discuss USFG policy, and K teams begrudge the number of debates in which they have to listen to endless variations on “you cheated.” If a decade’s worth of meta-debates over the rules has failed to solve the issue, I’m doubtful another ten years will make much difference.

Instead, I think that students and debate programs should have the choice of what they want to debate. Preparing for and attending tournaments takes an incredible amount of time, energy, and money. I think that if a program would like for that investment to result primarily in substantive debates over disads, they should have that option. If a program would rather debate in an alternate style, or over issues pertaining more to their social location, I think they should have that option as well. And if a program was interested in attending a variety of tournaments with a differing set of pedagogical approaches to ensure their students receive well rounded exposure to different types of debate, they should have that option as well.

At any given tournament, I like the idea of participants voluntarily opting-in to a set of minimal requirements about what the debates will be about. To me, that seems like a good method of avoiding unproductive and repetitive debates over what we should be debating about in the first place. It’s collegial, and it means more time spent discussing issues, and less time spent name-calling. While I like traditional policy debate a great deal, I also think it would be both fun and educational to have an in-depth debate over a social justice issue, or a resolution of fact, or over different strategies for attacking capitalism. I think it would be interesting to have a traditional policy debate at talking speed, or without recourse to nuclear wars, or a debate where teams “footnote” evidence.

I, unfortunately, don’t have the time nor the resources to host a million experimental tournaments myself. But I would truly welcome, as just one example, the “K” equivalent to my tournament which asks that participants agree not to go for framework. I think there’s value to debating with a shared set of rules, regardless of argument preference, style, social location, or anything else.

All forms of debate have value, but not all of them need to happen simultaneously. Oklahoma and Northwestern held what I understand to be a very productive and meaningful public debate over Stand Your Ground laws the weekend before Wake, and no one is criticizing it for being insufficiently fast or technical. Nor is anyone criticizing it for a failure to completely abandon a discussion of government policy. I think this is due to both parties’ willingness to stick to the agreed upon parameters. And participation in that event doesn’t seem to have hampered their ability to engage in different styles on the subsequent weekend.

Debate can be a lot of different things, but regardless of the topic, format, or style, I think that debates would be better if at least some of the burden for rules enforcement was shifted out of the hands of the debaters. Otherwise, competitive pressures will always result in an incentive to “skirt the rules,” and without some kind of backstop, we end up (as in the status quo) with a large percentage of debates being devoted to arguing about the rules, rather than anything substantive.

***

The other big issue that has been weighing on my mind for the last several years is finding a way to address the lack of diversity in the debate community, and the legitimate concerns that raises for other areas of our praxis. I do not direct a program, so my influence in some areas is necessarily limited. But in addition to hosting an independent tournament I wanted to find a way that I could substantively work to improve the community on other metrics.

I came up with many ideas – from scholarships to help send kids to camp, to subsidizing travel for new programs, to promoting novice debate. Most of them need money. So in the process of preparing to host the tournament and looking for ways to concretely expand diversity, it became clear that I would need an organizational structure to help accomplish both goals. To that end, I have been working since the early summer to set up a new non-profit organization, and have already started the process of soliciting donations and seeking funding sources. Among its intended missions are:
•   Expanding access to policy debate for underprivileged students through a variety of mechanisms
•   Hosting tournaments, like the aforementioned round robin, with agreed upon parameters for the participants
•   Helping other tournaments interested in the same thing with a set of guidelines for putting that into practice, including an independent rules enforcement mechanism
•   Seeking ways to reward students for outstanding research, not just speaker awards or winning rounds

As a result of having talked to a few people about hosting a tournament focused explicitly on debating a shared topic, and the creation of an enforceable opt-in mechanism, I was approached by a number of coaches and directors who had heard through the grapevine about the idea and were curious about supporting it or using a similar opt-in idea at other tournaments. That led to my participation in discussions like the “secret” meeting at Wake, hoping to start vetting and refining my idea and hearing other people’s ideas about charting a way forward from the current issues confronting debate. This was not an attempt at “secessionism,” it was a desire on the part of people to discuss how current NDT/CEDA debate could provide a better set of choices to participants.

That process happened organically – it was not designed as a secret cabal to segregate debate, or any of the other paranoid conspiracy theories I have heard people spreading. True, not every discussion between interested people was live-tweeted to every member of NDT/CEDA, but no children were sacrificed; no blood was drunk. Everyone I have spoken to has viewed ongoing discussions as the starting point for engaging the rest of the debate community, not an end point. It’s true that not everyone was included in the first round of discussions on these topics – but hurt feelings over the lack of an invite are ironic given that perhaps the lion’s share of all discussion I’ve heard has been on how best to reach out to more people.

The other thing that happened organically was the moniker “Policy Research League” or “PRL” being attached to the discussions. I think the phrase “PRL” originated sometime over the summer (not by me), and I’ve heard it bandied around in water cooler talk ever since then, with no particular care taken to make it a “secret” organization. To be clear, the “PRL” is not a name of my own devising - but it has been a moniker that many people (admittedly including myself) have used occasionally as a shorthand way of describing the common goals articulated above. There is no such thing as a “member” of the PRL, and no organization demanding a loyalty oath.

I think that it is worth pointing out that nearly every conversation about the future of debate that I have been party to has focused in large part on developing a concrete program for increasing meaningful diversity in the community, finding a way to incorporate a variety of stakeholders, trying to ensure that as many programs and debaters as possible are included in any future vision of debate, and strategizing ways of improving access to policy debate at all levels, including through changes to current argument practice. These are not a group of racist illuminati hell bent on destroying debate through segregation and secrecy or clinging to the vestiges of some dying form of traditional debate, these are well-meaning and deeply passionate educators who are concerned over the state of the activity and are looking for ways to make it better.

I will be hosting a tournament in Chicago on March 8-9. Everyone is invited. I am unfortunately limited to hosting a two-wheel round robin, since I am doing this completely independently and have a limited number of available rooms, but I will do my best to give a slot to any program who wants to attend. This is not an attempt at segregation or the debate equivalent of Jim Crow or slavery, or any of the other absurd and hyperbolic accusations that have been leveled in the last few days. Everyone is invited. The only condition of attendance is that you agree to abide by the rules governing the topic and debate in a civil fashion. If that’s not something that interests you, then fair enough – I believe you’re entitled to that choice.

hardy
Logged
jasonlrussell
Newbie
*
Posts: 20


« Reply #1 on: November 28, 2013, 11:34:24 AM »

Hilariously, the Northwestern and Oklahoma debate had rules decided only by the debaters.
Logged
jasonlrussell
Newbie
*
Posts: 20


« Reply #2 on: November 28, 2013, 12:14:15 PM »

The element of choice emphasized here is particularly pernicious: don't be confused -- it is the choice to exclude anyone that expresses discontent with debate as is from participating. In practice, this means excluding an enormous portion of highly successful black debaters from attending. Segregation was, in fact, a policy based on choice and emphasizing the freedom to choose to affiliate or not affiliate with black folks in America. Many of the policies purported to be color-blind or based on tradition. If you can't see the similarities, you are choosing not to see them. Choice is not an unfettered good; some choices should be rejected as even being choices in the first place. Others have been roundly rejected as even being legal because they are so dangerous, like the choice to discriminate based on race or sex. We have a choice to run round robins that, for instance, are based off of no objective criteria at all, clearly. People don't do that generally because it's, well, rude and runs contrary to the competitive spirit of debate. This round robin can't be considered to be fairly competitive: it excludes an entire class of people who debate differently than Hardy's view of what makes debate right and good. A fair number of those folks are the top debaters in the country by any objective measure. It's an insult to those debaters, their preparation, and their way of looking at the world to think that Aaron should get to determine what arguments should be considered at a tournament. That is a job best left to the judges of the debates themselves.

I understand why Hardy doesn't consider framework debates to be productive. He appears to have learned very little from them. I suspect he rarely judges a fairly matched debate on what debate ought to be given his preconceived notions regarding what makes for good debate. Many students and debate as a whole have benefited from considering what debate ought to be for. It serves as a proxy for a broader question about what learning ought to be for, what action ought to be for, and who we are as people in general. In this way, learning about the way that education and especially education about policy issues has excluded the perspectives of a large number of people, especially black folks, has helped to inform the way that debaters consider what policy issues are a good idea in the first place. It also helps to expose our implicit biases in thinking, a good piece of information for anyone making any decision of any variety. If you see that education as unproductive compared to a debate on drone courts, well, I don't know what to do for you sir. I suspect many lives have been changed for the better as a result. If your point is that it's so obvious that implicit bias exists, then you should have foreseen the reaction your proposal will get, given its implicit racial bias about the value or worth of non-white perspectives on education and policymaking. I personally think you have a lot to gain from some more framework debates, respectfully.

Your thoughts about how to improve diversity are unlikely to improve without, say, talking to black people who feel differently than you do about policy debate. Forming a tournament that de facto excludes most black folks in debate won't make their opinions any easier to hear. The problem with your secret meeting (notice the lack of scare quotes) is that it's insulated from the perspective you say you've been so keenly interested in understanding for many years. I found out what I needed to know about the many problems black folks have regarding traditional policy debate by asking them and then listening to their response. It sure sounds like you just figured it out on your own. I guess those are just the different choices we've made.

Please don't attend Aaron's round robin. Choices have consequences.
Logged
goody5534
Newbie
*
Posts: 17


« Reply #3 on: November 28, 2013, 01:25:57 PM »

Has there ever been any clarification on what his role(hardy) was in creating-sustaining-covering up the uncomfortable at best and abusive harrassment environment at Whitman while he was working there or was he a victim as well? Or is this a different Aaron Hardy-Just wondering...

Robbie Goodrich
Logged
gabemurillo
Jr. Member
**
Posts: 97


« Reply #4 on: November 28, 2013, 01:31:05 PM »

Aaron,

This proposal is contrary to the entire point of the public debate between Oklahoma and Northwestern. In that debate the students negotiated the rules, format and topic, at your tournament you will decide all of those things. That debate was about bridging divides in the activity, your round robin is about solidifying them. I will be posting more on this in the near future, but for now I insist that you refrain from using that as an example to support your proposal. I would appreciate it if you edited your post to remove any mention of that public debate, you were not involved, you have made clear you speak for neither Oklahoma nor Northwestern, and it is in poor taste to cite that example entirely out of context.

Gabe
Logged
Nate Cohn
Newbie
*
Posts: 13


« Reply #5 on: November 28, 2013, 02:21:38 PM »

Has there ever been any clarification on what his role(hardy) was in creating-sustaining-covering up the uncomfortable at best and abusive harrassment environment at Whitman while he was working there or was he a victim as well? Or is this a different Aaron Hardy-Just wondering...

Robbie Goodrich

I think there's more than enough room to disagree with Hardy without restoring to the baseless, McCarthy-esque, Fox News-style character questioning that you and so many others in the debate "community" apparently prefer to substantive engagement. And, for the record, Hardy couldn't have had less of a role in creating or sustaining the deeply problematic elements of the Whitman debate team's culture. Happy thanksgiving.
« Last Edit: November 28, 2013, 02:34:23 PM by Nate Cohn » Logged
joe
Jr. Member
**
Posts: 68


« Reply #6 on: November 28, 2013, 02:29:19 PM »

Stay silent for weeks then post it on thanksgiving...awesome
Logged
AndyEllis
Newbie
*
Posts: 9


« Reply #7 on: November 28, 2013, 05:47:44 PM »

Aaron,

Will you be streaming all of the rounds? I think it would be great to show this tournament so people unable to attend can see for themselves? I understand you are funding this your self, I imagine the community would do a gofundme to bring the streamers there?
Logged
misslindsayv
Newbie
*
Posts: 13


« Reply #8 on: November 28, 2013, 06:38:24 PM »

Quote
goody5534

Has there ever been any clarification on what his role(hardy) was in creating-sustaining-covering up the uncomfortable at best and abusive harrassment environment at Whitman while he was working there or was he a victim as well? Or is this a different Aaron Hardy-Just wondering...

Robbie Goodrich

This is totally uncalled for. Whitman is going through a hard time right now and this is not the way to help ANYONE out. This idea might not be a good one, but that is not an excuse to make this about Whitman.
Logged
AndyEllis
Newbie
*
Posts: 9


« Reply #9 on: November 29, 2013, 12:22:00 AM »

Hello Aaron,
I am interested for now in this
"•   Expanding access to policy debate for underprivileged students through a variety of mechanisms"

There is a widespread and long term commitment to this in many many places. I am excited any time I hear about potential institutions that can support these programs but I wonder how you intend to do this.

So i have a few questions.
1) Prior to devising and implementing your variety of mechanisms are you going to listen to and respond to the needs, interests, and concerns of a large cross section of the existing UDL community? Or do you seek to provide a corrective to existing UDL practices?
2)When you say "policy debate" what do you mean? Do you mean your new enforcement mechanism on topicality "policy debate"? Or do you mean the more inclusive version of policy debate that describes that status quo?
3)Are you aware of the evolution and still contentious nature of debate frameworks, literature  bases, competitive scale, and educational goals within existing structures to expand access to policy debate for underprivileged students?
Logged
Ryan Galloway
Jr. Member
**
Posts: 97


« Reply #10 on: November 29, 2013, 01:02:41 AM »

Counterplan:  All participants in Aaron's Round Robin are required to open up 25% of the slots in the top lab at the camp of their respective institutions to historically disadvantaged minorities.  Funding is through active collaboration with donors, UDL's, and the debate community to fund full tuition and travel expenses for such students to these camps.  Enforcement is by the participants of the round robin.

Observation 1:  The counterplan solves the rationale for the PRL while providing clear meaning to the phrase:  "Expanding access to policy debate for underprivileged students through a variety of mechanisms."

One of the primary goals, nay founding principles, of any debate organization is a commitment to diversity.  We strive for diversity in our classrooms, and we strive for diversity in debate.  That diversity extends beyond the rules or norms for any tournament to provide access to opportunities denied students due to historical disadvantages.  Debate should serve non-competitive purposes.

Observation 2:  Camps are a critical internal link to expanding opportunity to debate.  The best camps in the nation are the starting points for the elite levels of competition in the activity.  Most, if not all, of the presumed candidates for Aaron's Round Robin host one of these camps.  Students get to know each other in both traditional and non-traditional classroom settings, and receive the highest quality instruction and training in the practices of debate.  One of the critical barriers to meaningful participation in any level of debate is access to high quality instruction.  While it is both fruitful and important that camps support students from historically disadvantaged backgrounds, the elite levels of the camps still lack meaningful participation from historically disadvantaged students.  My proposal is a sort of Marshall Plan at the camp level to encourage diversity.  Get a critical mass of students involved so students feel both comfortable and wanted at the highest levels of the activity.  Test the proposition that policy debate is open and inclusive to students of historically disadvantaged backgrounds. 

Observation 3:  The perfect isn't the enemy of the good.  Obviously, this proposal leaves several avenues of success for minority students unaddressed.  However, if the PRL, or whatever organization is backing this round robin, want to provide meaning to expanding access to policy debate for minorities, this proposal provides an avenue to one critical entry way to debate.  It is admittedly imperfect and incomplete.  However, I feel few can deny that access to high quality camps is a crucial barrier to success. 

The success of previous fund raising (Bronx Law and Towson) proves our community is willing to give to support these initiatives.  Camps might have to cut a little to make expenses free for these groups--this is a price these organizations should be willing to pay for both expanding diversity as well as illustrating the long-term viability of the model of debate espoused.  If the lab is made a little bigger by the proposal, so be it.  The benefits of diversity outweigh the costs. 

It is tempting to use the rolling out of the round robin to attack the PRL, Aaron Hardy, etc.  I would rather use this moment as an opportunity to bolster something that everyone agrees upon:  more must be done to support diversity.  Instead of making this a tag-line in a proposal for the new round robin, let's make it a central rallying point that we all can agree upon.

RG
Logged
Erik Cornellier
Newbie
*
Posts: 1


« Reply #11 on: November 29, 2013, 03:47:51 AM »

You have already lost this argument Aaron Hardy.  Please stop before you do any more damage.
Logged
Boomer
Jr. Member
**
Posts: 87


« Reply #12 on: November 29, 2013, 07:47:41 AM »

The UDL's do not need this kind of help.  The pedagogy you take to these students matter. Please leave them out of any plan our counterclaim.  They are not your tokens to bargain with.  Stop it.  Please.
Logged
AndyEllis
Newbie
*
Posts: 9


« Reply #13 on: November 29, 2013, 08:54:51 AM »

Ryan, you say the perfect should not be the enemy of the good, I think equally though the under theorized should not be the ally of the good intention. If you remove this nod to the diversity that Hardy and The PRL seek you have a pretty bad proposal. Far more well theorized intervention into urban education using policy debate have occurred and  are currently encountering problems that career urban educators and social engineers are having a difficult time grappling with.
Logged
antonucci23
Full Member
***
Posts: 137


« Reply #14 on: November 29, 2013, 10:37:04 AM »

Hardy, your best defense of this event is that you don't actually eat babies.  When that's your go-to 2ar, you're in some trouble .

You have a great debate legacy already, both as a coach and an innovator.  I don't want to see this business overshadow it.
Logged
Pages: [1] 2
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.19 | SMF © 2013, Simple Machines
SMF customization services by 2by2host.com
Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!