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7 January 2010

From the Adjudication Team of Koç WUDC

Dear debaters,

We have a few post-tournament announcements which we hope will clarify a great deal of confusion that appears to be floating around cyberspace. Some of this is down to errors on our part which we want to clear up and others are to do with information written on various blogs that is simply false. Let's go:

1) At the announcement of the top ten speakers of the Championships, we accidentally read out Richard Lizius of Hart House as being the equal 4th best speaker. As many will have noticed, he was actually equal 2nd best speaker on the tab. We would like to apologise to him for this error and also congratulate him. This did not affect any of the other announcements of speaker ranks.

2) Following a miscommunication between the Equity Committee and the Adjudication Team, we announced the wrong winner of the World Masters Tournament. After days of sleeplessness, pressure and confusion, we simply acted on a faulty understanding of the situation. This is our fault and does not reflect on the Equity Committee nor anyone else in any way. Vanuatu (Derek Lande and Jason Rogers) were unjustly not announced as the winners and it is now our pleasure to declare them the World Masters Champions 2010. We would like to apologise to the members of Team Canada, to whom we have already apologised in person, for our mistake.

3) In the past days there has been a truly astonishing level of misinformation going around the web concerning equity at this Worlds. We have our opinions on the systemic and structural issues surrounding equity but right now is definitely not the time to get into this debate. What is important now is that we correct some of the factual inaccuracies about specific people whose real lives are being affected by this and to draw a line under this matter.

a. A number of allegations have been made online about the content and scope of the equity complaints concerning the Worlds Masters final, and the eight speakers involved. To clarify: there was only one equity complaint successfully upheld by the Equity Committee on this matter, which concerned only one speaker in the World Masters Final, and was solely to do with the content of that speech in that final. Any suggestions otherwise are false.

b. Any other complaints concerning this speaker and any other speakers in the final were dismissed. Furthermore, all complaints not to do with the final itself were also dismissed.

c. At no point was anyone "dismissed", "expelled", or in any other way asked to leave the Championships or the hotel. This is simply false.

d. At no point was anyone "forced" to give an apology. Any apologies given, publicly or privately, were suggested by the people involved themselves to the Equity Committee and their content was not dictated by anyone.

We hope that this statement can finally draw a line under the things that did not go as we intended at Koc Worlds. We realise that this has upset a lot of people, but we really don't want Koc Worlds to be remembered for equity alone. Our feeling is that a vast number of people now just want to get on with their lives. Please remember that naming individuals online has lasting consequences and just means that any problems get amplified in ways that you may not intend. Of course, we will all need to have a discussion about what happened this year. We think that discussion will be more productive once some time has passed, and tempers have cooled.

For now, we want to say thank you to the Organization Team that worked incredibly hard and created a Worlds that we were proud to be a part of. Hasan Sadik Arik answered over 10,000 mails and made registration run as smoothly as we have ever seen. Seray Kuzu ensured we did not go bankrupt. Emre Karabacak travelled 4,000km bringing you to the hotel. Sevilay Caglar and Semsa Haczeyni helped everyone eat great food all week, whatever their requirements. Cem Hot did the gargantuan task of looking after 1,200 people's accommodation. Anil Kaya spent his life making the parties amazing. Huseyin Ozturk and Avni Mert Toplu solved all the problems before you knew they happened. Burcu Kepsutlu and her team got us into the newspapers.

They deserve our thanks and perhaps by remembering all that was good about Worlds this year we can remember that our problems are solvable with time and discussion. They were fantastic , and so were all of you who joined us to make the last week so unforgettable.

With our warmest regards,

The Adjudication Team of the Vehbi Koç World Universities Debating Championships 2010


  1. I think it would be helpful if the Worlds Council executive were given a fuller explanation, not to be distributed, of how many complaints were made and the rationale for upholding/dismissing same. At this point I don't think "crowdsourcing" the detail of what went on is going to help anyone. World executive could then report to the community on what can be learned in terms of improving the process and managing the expectations of future participants.

  2. Anonymous4:01 pm

    I think a general equity report would be valuable, but it needs to be borne in mind that the council executive is an inherently political body.

    Any report should absolutely tackle general issues and lessons learned surrounding equity, but comment should not be made on the specifics of individual cases so that the confidentiality of all those involved will be respected.


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