Minutes - meeting of World Universities Debating Council
1 January 2001
Glasgow University Union Building
Chair - Colm Flynn
Secretary - Marika Muller
Glasgow Report and comments
Toronto bid confirmation
Financial report from Sydney
bids for WUDC 2003
election of officers
- Bangladesh wanting to abolish ESL Competition
- Promotion of Croatia from 'C' to 'B' status
- delegates from new countries
1) Roll Call of Delegates
Australia - Catherine Orr - A
Canada - Ranjan Agarwal - A
England & Wales - Rob Weekes - A
Ireland - Sinead Lucey - A
Japan - Shotaro Tsuchibuchi - A
Scotland -Nick Bibby - A
South Africa - Kevin Burden - A
United States - Scott Luftglass - A
New Zealand - Kevin Moar - B
Croatia - Hano Ernst - C
India - Gauray Nayyar – C
Israel - Yehoshua Gurtler - C
Jamacia - Carlton Lowrie - C
Malaysia - Mohana Raj - C
Singapore - Jonathan Yuen - C
Thailand - Opnsapan Manuamopn - C
Bangladesh - Prashanta Bhushun Barua - D
Czech Republic - Milan Konrad - D
Estonia - Henri Enniste - D
Germany - Jan Hessbrugge - D
Greece -Manolis Polychronides - D
Pakistan - Bilal Murtaza Siddiqi - D
Portugal - Pedro Alves - D
Turkey - Evrim Altintas - D
Uzbekistan - Colin Spurway - D
Countries not represented
Philippines - A
China - B
Netherlands - C
Indonesia - D
Kyrghstan - D
Russia - D
Slovenia - D
Thailand - D
Trinidad & Tobago - D
Yugoslavia - D
Issue arising from this: Croatia status upgrade from C to B - have had three institutions for two years running, and this year have four. Check constitution and attendance records - determined to be correct, so Croatia's voting status is upgraded from C to B.
2) Glasgow Report and Comments
Lynne / anyone else from the Glasgow Organising Committee are not yet present (12:40pm), and we do need to wait for them
3) Confirmation of Toronto Bid
- will have a general overview from Toronto, then any questions
one important selling-point is the current weakness of the Canadian dollar, which is not expected to improve
Toronto itself is a really easy city to explore, with minimal distances to be covered between the accommodation (hotel) and the University campus.
the hotel booked is part of a top chain, and have given the tournament a really good deal. All rooms will be quad occupancy, and there will be various conferences spaces provided within the hotel itself.
the hotel is about a 25 min walk from the venues for the competition, but there WILL be shuttle busses running, and it is a 10 min cab ride or a short trip via direct subway link for those who miss the bus!
there isn't much detail that can be given about specific events at this stage
fundraising has been significant, events will have both food and drink, they will be held at a variety of locations, and entertainment will be provided for those not wishing to go out
the Tab system has not yet been finalised, T. are still looking at options
provisional dates are the same as with this tournament - 27th Dec to 4th Jan
the website, which is expected up at the end of January, can be found at www.worlds2002.com
Thailand - what is the registration fee looking like? T - about the same as Glasgow, it can't be lowered as there is no access to free campus accommodation, but have got the best possible deal in terms of accommodation
Uzbekistan - if your fundraising is successful, would you consider the idea of a hardship fund for hard-up countries? T - will try if can get enough money in, but is proving hard to get corporate sponsorship...the initial response looks good, but can give no guarantees
New Zealand - will there be the same over-emphasis on black tie events? T - probably not. Will probably be one, and then semi-formal / cocktail events.
Ireland - what about team numbers, university caps? will Glasgow no-shows count against teams, and how will you deal with overflows?
Colm - can't penalise for no-shows here - was hardly their fault most of the time!
T - there is no official team cap as yet, is still dependent on $$ issues
Colm - in last years bid, you estimated about 400 teams, does that still stand? T - can't say yet, is an issue of logistics and efficiency, as well as funding.
Croatia - when are you looking at starting pre-reg? T - will look to initial expressions of interest in January, then pretty much the same as Glasgow.
Question - need to take all possible contingency measures, keep us informed during the tournament, provide more details and please do a dry run. T - have been watching what has happened at Glasgow - venues are Internet wired, so will be able to get info to participants quickly, are also well aware of the need for contingency plans and worst-case scenarios. And will be running an internal tournament using the same set-up just to make sure it all works.
Scotland - what will your policy be toward independents, and what will your registration deadline be? T - are running to the same general time-frame as Glasgow for the moment, as far as independents go, will be looking to have as much participation from them as this tournament.
Colm - are there any objections to the Toronto bid?? No
Toronto confirmed unopposed as hosts for Worlds 2002
3) Report form Sydney 2000
Dominic Knight and Layla De Melo representing Sydney.
- 2 issues to be dealt with - finances
- tabbing issues
Layla presented Sydney’s budget
ran to budget, broke even - will give copy of statement to Colm for ratification (see attached document)
in terms of the outstanding $1000 from Princeton, $500 was paid, and they will cover the outstanding amount
there are three outstanding debtors at this point, one big one which is the GUU, and then Strathclyde and Northwestern
- GUU - owe the amount of A$5615.30 for what Sydney provided for the Host Night Party. Bills have been sent and the amount is still outstanding and in some dispute - the GUU have to pay soonest Sydney letter to Glasgow
Colm - it must be raised with the GUU rep when they arrive
- Sydney ask the Council to bear it in mind that there is the precedent of sanctions for this kind of problem, and that they wish Council to apply the same format of sanction as used with Princeton in the past i.e. either agree staggered payments or Glasgow banned from future competitions.
- the other two debtors are minor amounts and are being checked
- Strathclyde - A$1625 for 2 debaters and an adjudicator
- NorthWestern - A$840 for extra accommodation
Colm - have the GUU paid for this years Hosts Night? Toronto - T have already paid Glasgow for the Toronto night.
- Dominic the Sydney Tab was run off the 'Tabroom' software, developed for them by R. Edwards of Baylor University in Texas
- Unfortunately it cannot be made available at this point as has been requested, as there are several problems with it, and the bugs cannot be fixed until the creator has been contacted - and this Sydney have not been able to do.
- as far as the distribution of results goes, the programme was supposed to produce a full spread sheet, but the module didn't work, so Sydney is unable to release the results until the problem is fixed.
- Council should control its release, but also need someone to chase down the original programmer! Dom will send Colm a copy of the Tab system.
- Colm - this is something for the new Committee to deal with
- - Israel - can we please get full results, incl speaker points, for all the teams? Dom yup, will look into it, if you want to chase them down, Dom's e-mail is DomK@bigpond.com
- Colm - is the data still stored? D - yes, but unsure as to its correctness
- Mark - did Sydney pay for the programme? D - no, the Princeton money was used, but the programme is Council property
- Colm - given his experience, would just like to say that it was the best organised tournament he's been to and would like to commend Sydney
Still no sign of Glasgow, so continue through agenda
4) bids for 2003
only one bid so far - University of Stellenbosch, South Africa
Kevin Burden as Convenor to look through bid document and take questions
(refer here to copy of bid document)
Dom Knight - try make the Tab as quick as possible, and please try make it accessible as well.
New Zealand - will there be a yukka night? K - can rest assured it will be the biggest yukka night ever!
Comments apart from the actual bid document
As far as funding goes, have nothing concrete yet, until the bid is confirmed, but have the two largest breweries in South Africa promising both alcohol and corporate sponsorship, and Stellenbosch are looking to have at least half the necessary money covered by sponsorship
- all possible contingencies will be covered, have learned from the problems in Glasgow.
Adjudication / Tab issues
Marika Muller as CA
removals form the Tab will be dealt with ASAP - all venues will be computerised, and updated from a central database
computers and net links in venues will mean that speed ballots will be inputted directly
lots of helpers in each building
will be an electronic check-in system for the briefings, which will feed directly into the database and thus the tab, which will run from the database
will be holding joint briefings for debaters and adjudicators in the one venue, where a joint Tab draw will be shown - this will hopefully avoid confusions of phrasing between briefings
Greece - can you give us an idea of a projected total registration cost, as have been seeing it get higher every year, and it is hard for many to get that money together? K - it will not be more, and is projected to be less than Glasgow - can give you no more details than that at this stage
Greece - what about factoring in the cost of flights? K - at moment, can not tell you more than that, but there are cheap fares, you just have to look around.
Colm – Recently found that you can get relatively cheap to South Africa, just do some research and be careful of your timing and don’t take the first price you get. Perhaps the Stellenbosch Bid committee could try help people liaise with cheap flights / student travel Assoc. from within South Africa
Scotland - Nick, in his capacity as a long-serving hack and alcoholic on Worlds Council, would just like to give Stellenbosch his full support and commend it to the rest of Council
Uzbekistan - what do you think about the idea of a hardship fund? K - we already have the problem that some SA Universities would not be able to pay the Worlds Entry fees even for Stellenbosch, so we are aware of the problem. The question is at what point can we realistically start putting money into such a fund for the greater debating community. Suggest that individual universities take the initiative of looking for sponsorship from appropriate educational and cultural funds, and Stellenbosch will update on progress of any potential fund.
Mark Dowling - there is an economic precedent set for setting entry fees based on a countries GDP, if it gets to that
Kevin - Are we bound by the Worlds Constitution as to what we can do with entry fees? Colm - No, is completely at the discretion of the Organising Committee
Canada - central to this is the idea of value for money - people don't generally mind paying, as long as they see they are getting something decent for their money, this needs to be emphasised and taken into account by all concerned
New Zealand - when comes to issues of money, the big problem is almost always the issue of actually getting there.
Colm - any other bids? NO
- any opposition to Stellenbosch's bid? NO
the Stellenbosch bid to host WUDC 2003 is approved, subject to final ratification at Toronto Worlds
5) Committee Reports
General - Colm Flynn
· the committee elected in Sydney was Omar Salahuddin (Chair), Colm Flynn (Registrar) and Rob Silver (Secretary), plus Regional Reps, a Women's Officer (Meg O’Sullivan), and the CA and Convenor of Glasgow Worlds
- please note that the Committee (and Council as a whole) wishes to thank Omar for the many years he has given to debating and look forward to seeing him at future championships after his sailing trip ends.
- the Council website is in the process of being developed beyond the experimental stage. the test database was at www.debating.net/wudc, the NEW and CURRENT site can be found at www.wudc.org. Colm wants to thank Wilbert form the Philippines for his help in getting it set up (in a less text-dependent form!). There are issues around who will maintain this site on an Live basis but that should be resolved by the committee.
- Women's issues and their representation on the Committee
- there are the contentions of the women's forum, especially the issue of wether or not men are allowed to attend
- direct issues of individual discrimination / harassment cannot be discussed there, as the risk of 'trial by rumour' is far too great
- were ultimately no recommendations made, will continue with the status quo, where it is up to the individual hosts to decide who is admitted.
- Adjudicator accreditation
- This issue is concerned with how judges are ranked and “break”. There has been a perception that who you drink with or the college you are from can unfairly influence a your ranking. Traditionally it has been regarded that only the best debaters make the best judges. That is slowly changing to reflect the excellent judges out there who never had successful debating careers. However more needs to be done to help identify these judges and ensure that the best judging is brought to the fore at Worlds.
- There are always going to be questions over adjudicators' decisions, all you can do is try to make sure you appoint the most qualified adjudicators, and just try and keep an eye on them. It is very important to get feedback from the debaters and act on that feedback. If teams go out of their way to issue a complaint in the feedback forms than this should be followed up with the team. Similarly if a lower ranked judge is highly praised in feedback then their ranking should be reviewed to make sure that they are not under-rated.
- Acknowledged the need for more intense adjudicator testing and training, as well as checking of qualifications
- videos need to be made more widely available, perhaps even one to every university who requests it - will be too hard to get regional reps to take responsibility for its distribution
- Council supports the idea of extending the videos
- A big question is what you about the fabrication of experience
- need to try to get information from the Regional bodies as to how their adjudicators are ranked (the actual process, as well as the individual rankings). Committee should gather Adjudicator rankings from past Worlds and also Europeans, Austral-asians, and similar large international competition. These rankings should then be made available to future competitions.
Standardisation Issues - Rob Silver
- last year, the US representative raised the idea that we should allow potential hosts to bid for the Championship in the style of their choice, and the Masters Competition within the style of the host university.
- it is not an issues to be dismissed out of hand
- there is an argument for the proposal, and Worlds has lost many US Universities as a result of the refusal to consider a change
- Canada are suggesting that if nothing else, the Master's Comp be held in the home style of the hosts
- conclusions of the Committee are that there can be no change as yet, but that there needs to be a review of regional attitudes to such an idea. However, the idea that Masters be held in the local style is a good one.
Question - are there any objections to the idea of a host-based change in style for Masters? NO
Masters should therefore be held in the “Local” style at future competitions.
ESL Issues - Yehoshua Gurtler
- issues are especially ones of qualification and the competition itself. Have been discussed at some length since Sydney, with the crucial question the one over who qualifies as an ESL competitor.
- are four basic criteria for determining this status
§ the language of the country
§ language of instruction in institution
§ language spoken at home
§ does the debaters level of English place a burden on their participation at Worlds?
- have left the idea of the 'honour system' in place - trust to the initial declaration by a speaker that they are ESL
- issue of possibility of establishing an ESL committee to discuss ESL issues and make recommendations for improvements to next years council and to help resolve ESL qualification issues
- two countering problems, with worry of EFL domination of decision making as well as the need to integrate ESL within the tournament.
- possible problems of this committee
§ how would you decide representation of countries where there were both EFL and ESL debaters (ie South Africa, Singapore, India, Pakistan) - ultimately, the National rep would have to cover both bases.
§ also a concern of the development of a clique mentality - would be over-ridden by the fact that Worlds Council will maintain full and final authority.
- New Zealand - please clarify the role of this Committee
§ to re-examine in depth the ESL criteria; to check the lists of those registered, and to rule on ESL issues (with a right of appeal to Worlds Council)
- general feeling seems to be that the idea is a good one, but that details need to be worked out
- Croatia - are you looking to amend the constitution?
§ YG - no, rather for a general decision form Council and then ratification
§ basic idea is that need a committee of ESL-focused people, as these are the issues that can get neglected at the general Worlds Council meetings.
§ Colm: The constitution cannot be changed at the moment, but would be a good idea to have a temporary committee who can make a report on the issue. The Constitution ultimately does need reviewing, and it is recommended that the Committee looks at this (with the proviso that any proposed changes are presented at least 72 hours before the main Council meeting in Toronto)
- issue of excluding teams who break in the EFL draw from breaking in the ESL draw was not an issue this year, but are some aspects that may need to be looked at in future
§ the rationale is that if you can make the EFL break, then your English cannot be considered an impediment to your debating.
§ we need more clarity on the recommendation that anyone who ever breaks as EFL can never break as ESL - the recommendation is that the emphasis must be placed on the individual who breaks and not the Institution as a whole, however some feeling is towards the institution. The ESL committee is required to look at this.
§ issue raised of ESL adjudicators through the break - has increased in Glasgow, but could get better. Point raised that the best judges should break and that experience should be the deciding factor. EFL/ESL should be secondary to experience as a judge. Feeling that the tradition that the most successful debaters make the best judges may discriminate against excellent ESL judges.
§ Also the issue of having ESL adjudicators for Masters where possible. This year it was acknowledged that there was a shortage of judges willing to judge masters.
- Colm – Bangladesh have a proposal to drop the ESL competition altogether?
§ Bangladesh - are withdrawing the proposal, but would still like to note that there are all kinds of problems inherent with how you define / qualify ESL participants
- Croatia - you say that individuals who have broken in EFL will be prohibited from the ESL break, but won't this disadvantage the ESL speaker who is their speaking partner?
§ YG -debating is a 'team sport', and the result of allowing a team with one ESL and one EFL speaker would be that the EFL speaker pulls their team-mate's standard up with them. This rule will help deal with the issue of problems arising tournament after tournament.
- Composition of ESL committee
§ Initial idea is 5 members, with the Chair sitting on Council
§ nominations Israeli delegate - Yehoshua
South African delegate - Kevin
Portugal - Pedro
Germany - Jan
Croatia - Hano
Thailand - Manuaian
Bangladesh – Bulwar
- Decided that all 8 sit on committee, Chair of committee will be selected by them.
§ Singapore - want to raise issue of NUS's qualifications as an ESL team as result of their language proficiency. You cannot base your decision on ESL on the working language of a country - the language spoken at home is generally their mother-tongue. Request that honour system is maintained. Would like to assure Council that the NUS teams in question are indeed ESL.
o Colm - acknowledge the problems of defining a team one way or the other. The honour system is crucial, but bear in mind that if it is abused and this is discovered, there will be serious damage done to ESL at Worlds.
Glasgow Report - no-one from Glasgow here yet, so move on to election of Committee
6) Election of Committee
- Committee comprises of
Regional Reps - North America Africa
Convenor and Chief Adj of next Tournament
nominations for Chair of Committee
- Colm (Israel nominates, New Zealand seconds)
- Ranjan (Canada nominates, USA seconds)
secret ballot weighted voting
result - Colm Flynn elected
nominations for Registrar - Nick Bibby (UK nominates, Uzbekistan seconds)
- no other nominations, elected unopposed
nominations for Secretary - Yehoshua Gurtler (Australia nominates, Greece seconds)
- no other nominations, elected unopposed