Section 6 Anti Harassment and Violence Policy:
Preamble: The National Parliamentary Tournament of Excellence (NPTE) promotes parliamentary debate as a contest of knowledge, wit and argumentation conducted in a setting of civility and mutual respect. All eligible, qualified members should have access to debate activities without regard to race, color, religion, age, sex, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, disability, use of a service animal, or any other characteristic or trait protected by state or federal law. These principles should guide the behavior and conduct of all members of and participants in the organization.
While this policy is largely directed at sexual discrimination, sexual harassment and/or sexual violence, the principles herein shall be considered a model for dealing with all forms of harassment and/or violence.
This policy is intended to eliminate specific behaviors and address concerns which may arise while participating in parliamentary debate events and activities and to provide a forum for resolution of conflicts.
This policy supplements, but does not replace the institutional policies of each participant’s school and the applicable federal and state laws.
1. Debate, Free Expression and Harassment
Academic debate provides a forum for the expression, criticism and discussion (and for the tolerance) of a wide range of opinions. Participants are encouraged to develop skills in reasoned and supported argument while avoiding the pitfalls of faulty argument. Academic debate is not a license for demeaning actions and the NPTE does not tolerate harassment. Any participant who suffers discrimination or harassment as part of an parliamentary debate event or activity is denied an equal opportunity to work, learn and grow in the arena of academic debate.
2. Sexual Harassment and/or Sexual Violence
Sexual Harassment is unwelcome verbal, nonverbal, or physical conduct of a sexual nature that is sufficiently severe or persistent or pervasive such that it unreasonably interferes with, limits or deprives someone of the ability to participate in or benefit from participating in the NPTE and other parliamentary debate events and activities. The unwelcome behavior may be based on power differentials (quid pro quo), the creation of a hostile environment, or retaliation. A single instance of sexual assault may be sufficient to constitute a hostile environment.
The NPTE will rely on relevant legal definitions of harassment to guide its implementation of this policy. The complainant’s perceptions are an important factor in determining whether specific conduct meets the definition listed above. In addition, it is important to recognize that other factors (e.g., supervisory authority, power relationships, etc.) may affect the relationships between the complainant and the accused and that these factors can compound the degree of threat or potential harm perceived in a situation.
3. Other Forms of Harassment
Like sexual harassment, harassment because of a race, color, religion, age, sex, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, disability, use of a service animal, or any other characteristic or trait protected by state or federal law will not be tolerated. In general, slurs, jokes and other verbal or physical conduct relating to a person's race, color, religion, age, sex, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, disability, use of a service animal, or any other characteristic or trait protected by state or federal law constitute harassment when they are sufficiently severe or persistent or pervasive such that it unreasonably interferes with, limits or deprives someone of the ability to participate in or benefit from participating at the NPTE and other parliamentary debate events and activities.
B. Addressing and reporting harassment and/or violence at the National Parliamentary Tournament of Excellence or concerning members of the NPTE Board of Directors.
1. The NPTE harassment policy shall apply to discrimination and harassment complaints that arise during the National Parliamentary Tournament of Excellence or from actions taken by officials or employees of NPTE acting at any time in their official capacities.
2. Participants in the National Parliamentary Tournament of Excellence who are affiliated with an academic institution are also subject to that institution’s policies, procedures, rules, and regulations related to harassing conduct, reporting such conduct, and/or addressing such conduct and taking steps to eliminate its recurrence.
3. Individuals who believe that they are being discriminated against or harassed and cannot or do not wish to resolve the matter informally should promptly report the complaint to the Sexual Harassment Officer (SHO), who shall be appointed annually by the President of the National Parliamentary Tournament of Excellence. The name and contact information for the SHO may be found on the organization’s web site.
4. Individuals who witness another individual being discriminated against or harassed should inform the SHO. NPTE officers, judges, and employees who witness another individual being discriminated against or harassed are required to inform the SHO.
5. If reporting the matter to the SHO would prove to be uncomfortable or if the individual is not satisfied with the SHO’s handling of the complaint, the individual should promptly bring the matter to the attention of any other member of the NPTE Board of Directors.
6. The SHO and/or a member of the Board of Directors (in cases where the party advancing the complaint is uncomfortable reporting to the SHO, or the SHO has a conflict of interest) shall promptly investigates all allegations of discrimination and/or harassment in as confidential a manner as possible. An appropriate institutional representative of the complainant’s institution and the institution of the accused will be informed of the investigation.
7. The SHO, or the designated member of the Executive Committee, shall, in consultation with the NPTE President, determine what, if any, remedial action should be taken. Depending on the totality of the facts, possible sanctions may include, but not be limited to, any of the following: constructive efforts that assure the offense behavior does not reoccur; oral reprimands; written reprimands to be sent to directors of forensics and/or Deans of Faculty or Students and/or College or University Presidents; removal from future participation at the National Parliamentary Tournament of Excellence; removal of NPTE points; or suspension of membership in NPTE.
8. Under no circumstances will an officer, agent, employee or member of the NPTE be allowed to threaten or retaliate against anyone who in good faith alleges unlawful harassment or discrimination or who participates in the investigation of such a complaint.
9. In the event of a report of harassment, including a report received under the procedures outlined in Section C of this policy, care shall be taken, guided by the totality of the facts, during and after the investigatory process to reduce the potential for future incidents of harassment as defined above, as well as to ensure that complainants and accused are not forced in proximity to one another as part of the competitive experience. These measures include, but are not limited to:
a. The tabulation room will automatically grant a constraint to ensure that complainants are not judged by an accused individual.
b. The tabulation room will take care to ensure that, inasmuch as possible, complainants are not forced to debate against an accused individual.
c. The tournament director shall communicate to coaches involving the institutions with the accused and complainant to 1) inform each other of the hotel they are staying at and 2) consider ways the accused and complainant may want to handle getting food and receiving announcements during the tournament.
d. The President of NPTE may also issue “no contact” orders at the National tournament, with which participants must comply to maintain eligibility at the tournament. Those who willfully violate the no contact order at the tournament may be subject to sanctions as outlined in B.7.
10. Appeals of NPTE decisions regarding sexual harassment complaints are limited to questions of proper process or to new evidence that would significantly affect the outcome of the decision. Such appeals shall be directed in writing to the full Board of Directors. Such appeals are not automatic.
C. Addressing and reporting harassment and/or violence that has occurred outside of the National Parliamentary Tournament of Excellence.
1. Individuals who believe that they are being discriminated against or harassed outside the National Parliamentary Tournament of Excellence, and cannot or do not wish to resolve the matter informally, should promptly report the complaint by submitting a formal complaint utilizing the form available here: xxClick Herexx.
a. Upon receipt of a formal complaint meeting the legal definitions of harrassment/violence, NPTE will transmit the complaint to the Title IX offices/coordinators or appropriate officer of all schools relevant to the complaint (including the host school if an alleged event occurred at an invitational tournament).
b. NPTE will also contact the institution of the individual accused of misconduct requesting further information on the ability of that individual to represent the institution in intercollegiate parliamentary debate competitions (a “verification of clearance”). This verification request will not provide or solicit information about the substance of the complaint, but will require the institution to verify that the individual is cleared to participate in intercollegiate debate events on behalf of the institution.
c. These, and all other actions described below, shall be the responsibility of the NPTE President or their designee. NPTE officers involved in such proceedings will exercise care to maintain, where possible, the confidentiality of individuals involved in such actions.
2. Investigatory responsibility for a complaint of harassment that has occurred outside of the National Parliamentary Tournament of Excellence will rest with the Title IX compliance offices/compliance coordinators or appropriate officer of relevant home institutions.
a. After 14 business days have elapsed from the time that NPTE transmitted the complaint to the institution, NPTE will again contact the Title IX compliance offices/compliance coordinator or appropriate officer at the institution of the individual accused of misconduct. NPTE will request that the verification of clearance request be completed and returned. Verification of Clearance Document, available here: Click here.
b. Unless a written verification of clearance has been signed and transmitted to NPTE by an appropriate representative of the home institution, individuals accused of misconduct will not be allowed to attend or participate in parliamentary debate activities beginning 14 business days after the complaint has been sent to the institution.
c. Should a Title IX compliance office/compliance coordinator or appropriate officer not respond to the request of NPTE, NPTE will presume that clearance has not been authorized and individuals accused of misconduct will not be allowed to attend or participate in parliamentary debate activities beginning 14 business days after the complaint has been sent to the institution.
d. Directors shall be notified of the individual’s status immediately after the 14 days have elapsed or after other information has been received from the Title IX compliance office/compliance coordinator or appropriate officer indicating that the individual is ineligible to represent the institution in intercollegiate parliamentary debate activities. Should the complaint be against a director of a program, the notification shall be provided to the department chair.
e. Because Title IX investigations and/or other investigations of harassment should occur within a 60 day time period, NPTE will re-send the verification of clearance request 70 business days after the complaint has been sent to the institution of the accused to determine if the individual has been cleared to represent the institution in intercollegiate parliamentary debate activities.
f. An individual’s ability to attend and participate in intercollegiate parliamentary debate activities and events can be reinstated at any point once the verification of clearance has been received from the institution. If no verification of clearance is received for an individual who is the subject of a complaint under the processes listed above, the individual shall not be eligible to attend or participate in parliamentary debate competitions until a verification of clearance has been received by the NPTE.
3. In the event that a complaint is made against an individual who is no longer affiliated with an institution at the time the complaint is made, a record will be kept of the complaint.
a. Should the individual accused affiliate with an institution at a later date, NPTE will confirm with the complainant whether he or she wishes to proceed with his or her complaint.
b. If the complainant wishes to proceed, the organizations will start the process as stated above and transmit the complaint to the relevant Title IX compliance offices/compliance coordinators or appropriate officer.
4. Individuals under this section for whom no verification of clearance has been received, and their affiliated programs as specified below, will be subject to the following sanctions until a verification of clearance has been received by the NPTE.
a. Individuals under this section for whom no verification of clearance has been received shall not be eligible to attend or participate in NPTE debate competitions in any capacity, including, but not limited to, administering, competing, judging, on-site coaching and/or observing as a spectator.
b. Individuals under this section for whom no verification of clearance has been received will not be allowed to attend the National Parliamentary Tournament of Excellence in any capacity and will be asked to leave the premises if they attempt to attend.
c. Programs that bring an individual against whom a complaint has been made and for whom no verification of clearance has been received to any parliamentary debate tournament in any capacity shall not receive NPTE points for any of their teams attending the tournament.
5. Tournaments may consult the NPTE to create accommodations similar to those identified in Section B.9 of this policy.
1. Documenting instances of concern which do not rise to the legal standard of sexual harassment, sexual discrimination, and/or sexual violence can be directed to the Board of Directors and/or the Sexual Harassment Officer of NPTE. All members are encouraged to document instances of concern.
2. Reporting Requirements
a. Members of the Board of Directors and the Sexual Harassment Officer are required to report all formal complaints as outlined in this policy to relevant Title IX offices.
b. Members of the Board of Directors and the Sexual Harassment Officer must disclose that they are required to report all formal complaints as outlined in this policy to relevant Title IX offices.
c. Should the instance of concern rise to the legal standard of sexual harassment, sexual discrimination, and/or sexual violence further action may be required on the part of the Board of Directors and the Sexual Harassment Officer, with or without the presence of a formal complaint.
In the event that NPTE receives a complaint pursuant to this policy, information, including complaints and verification of clearance, will be shared as necessary and legally permitted with the National Parliamentary Debate Association. Each organization will make independent determinations regarding appropriate sanctions.
All website content and ranking data is copyright © 2014 N.P.T.E. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form without written permission from the N.P.T.E. board is strictly prohibited.