Table of Contents
Article I. Tournament Setup and Tabulation Rules
- Section 1. Topic Selection Process
- Section 2. Outreach to Judges
- Section 3. Expectations of Judges for the NPTE
- Section 4. NPTE Tabulation
Article II. Debating and Judging Rules
- Section 1. Scope of Rules
- Section 2. Enforcement of Rules
- Section 3. Topic Announcement and Preparation Time
Section 4. During the Debate Rounds
- A. Audience Attendance
- B. Speaking and CX-Prep Order and Times
- C. The two debaters that qualified as a team must debate as that team with both debaters in each round at the NPTE
- D. If Debaters are late
- E. If a judge is late
- F. Use of Prepared Materials during debates
- G. Cases and Arguments
- H. Specific Knowledge
- I. Points of Information
- J. Points of Order
- K. Points of Personal Privilege
- L. Timekeeping
- M. Laptops and Handheld Computers
- N. Advocating the Splitting of Ballots
- Section 5. After Debate Rounds
Section 6. Anti Harassment and Violence Policy
- A. Introduction
- B. Addressing and reporting harassment and/or violence at the National Parliamentary Tournament of Excellence or concerning members of the NPTE Board of Directors
- C. Addressing and reporting harassment and/or violence that has occurred outside of the National Parliamentary Tournament of Excellence
- D. Documenting Instances of Concern
- E. Organizational Cooperation
Article I. Tournament Setup and Tabulation Rules
Section 1. Topic Selection Process
Submission of Topic Proposals.
- Any interested party may submit a topic proposal to the NPTE Vice-President by the deadline of November 30. Topic proposals should include a background/importance of the topic, potential affirmative arguments, potential negative arguments, at least one specific topic wording (with multiple wording options if appropriate), and a bibliography.
Criteria. Topic construction should attempt to ensure that:
- The wording of the topic is clear and easily understood.
- Both government and opposition have good potential strategic ground.
- Both teams will have an idea of what they should prepare when the topic is announced.
- Public Review. After the NPTE Vice-President has confirmed that a topic proposal has met NPTE standards for the required proposal elements and topic criteria, proposals will be released to the membership for review and comment until December 15. Authors of a proposal may revise their proposal at any point up to the December 15 deadline.
- Membership Vote. After the public review period, each member school may submit a ranked order vote to select the topics for the NPTE. The top five topics will be selected and released by January 1.
- Topic Committee. A topic committee will be formed of at least three people appointed by the NPTE Vice-President to refine and finalize wordings for the selected topics. The committee should be comprised of individuals who submitted topic proposals. Students may only serve on the committee if they are not competing in the current year’s NPTE. The NPTE Vice-President will also solicit community input during this time for suggested alterations to topic wordings.
- Topic Selection. By January 15, the topic committee shall provide the finalized topics.
- During the Tournament. Topics will not be used in any particular order (i.e. the same topic does not have to be used in back-to-back rounds).
Section 2. Outreach to Judges
- The Invitation shall state that the NPTE encourages Directors to reach out to persons from underrepresented groups such as based on race or gender to encourage them to be a judge and/or coach for their programs.
- The NPTE President shall make an effort to contact qualified persons from underrepresented groups such as based on race or gender to encourage them to be a hired judge for the NPTE.
Section 3. Expectations of Judges for the NPTE
The NPTE President shall ensure all judges used meet the following criteria:
- Judges must have at least two full years experience coaching, judging, or competing in intercollegiate debate.
- Judges with remaining eligibility to compete in undergraduate parliamentary debate shall explicitly forfeit all such future eligibility before being deemed qualified to judge at the NPTE.
- All judges shall be required to submit a judging philosophy at least one week prior to the NPTE tournament. Schools with judges who have not submitted their judging philosophy within six days of the NPTE tournament shall be fined $50.
- The NPTE President may give special consent to particular judges deemed qualified for the tournament or, in an emergency, for judges needed to keep the tournament running.
- Judges are required to give one team a win and the other team a loss within 40 minutes of the time the PMR concludes. In the event that a judge does not render a win and a loss for a debate within that timeframe, the tournament director shall decide which team wins the judge's ballot by coin flip, and the judge or school which hired the judge shall be required to pay for an uncovered round. The tournament director, if needed to assure win-loss ballots and the timeliness of the tournament, shall be able to remove such a judge.
- Judges shall judge two rounds past the elimination of their teams. Further, before the third elimination round, a member of the tab room will request that judges who are highly preferred by the teams that remain and as much as possible are representative of the percentage of judges as non-white, female, and/or less represented groups continue to judge further elimination rounds. These judges shall be compensated for extra rounds that they judge.
Judges who desire to be hired as a tournament judge at the National Parliamentary Tournament of Excellence must obtain the sponsorship of a member institution.
- No individual against whom a complaint has been made and for whom no verification of clearance has been received, as outlined in Section VI of this document, shall be eligible for such sponsorship or to participate in the National Parliamentary Tournament of Excellence.
- Should a complaint be made against an individual who is listed as a tournament judge prior to the National Parliamentary Tournament of Excellence, NPTE will contact the debate program of the sponsoring institution. At this time, the program may remove their sponsorship of that individual and they will be removed from the judging pool by the tournament director.
- If a program elects not to remove sponsorship after notice of a complaint, the NPTE will implement the procedures identified in Section VI.C. In the event a verification of clearance is not received prior to the commencement of the National Parliamentary Tournament of Excellence, the judge will be removed from the pool of potential judges and barred from participation in the tournament.
Section 4. NPTE Tabulation
Assignment of Judges.
Judges will be assigned primarily on the basis of mutuality.
- Teams shall assign each judge a preference rating under a mutual preference system. Teams still in contention to break will not be assigned a judge in their lowest 25% of the judging pool unless there is no other judge available.
- Judges should be constrained when a judge has a vested interest in voting for or against a team. The primary onus is on judges to request constraints - and all constraints requested by judges will be accepted. School-requested constraints would be appropriate for judges who debated or coached for a school in the last two years. Individual team-requested constraints would be appropriate for judges who 1) coached or were teammates with one or both of the team members at any time, 2) helped prepare the team for a debate or debates at the NPTE, 3) have an ongoing or previous significant relationship with one or both team members, or 4) have harassed one or both team members. Constraints would not be appropriate for judges who 1) had an argument with a team or coach or 2) are not likely to vote for a team. While there is no clear brightline, if there is a question, it is better to request the constraint and provide explanation. In the event that a team requests a constraint that is not requested by a judge, the tab director may request explanation and submit the request to the Board for approval.
Teams will be informed of the following regarding preferencing:
We encourage you to treat judges with respect for diversity and without discrimination against any gender, race, etc. To that end, one way you might consider how your preferencing is not discriminatory is to compare the % of non-white, female, and/or less represented group of your school’s judging preferences with the NPTE judging pool as a whole. We encourage you to ask yourself, do your preferences maximize diversity and avoid discrimination for your debaters and for the community as a whole?
- In assigning judges, the tab should assign judges consistently based on the tabulation program's algorithm with any adjustments requiring approval by the NPTE board.
- Judges should not judge a team more than once in preliminary rounds.
Preliminary Round Procedures
- There will be five preliminary rounds.
- Teams will be seeded high-low for the first round based on their season-long ranking. Teams with half points shall have their half points included in their point total (as described in the half-points explanation in the Qualifying Bylaws) and their win-loss percentage shall include all debates that both debaters have been involved in during the year.
- Each preliminary round shall be assigned two judges. Judges will render separate decisions both on the ballot and regarding points of order/personal privilege.
- Results of all preliminary rounds will be posted in a common area as soon as possible after each round. Judges will be encouraged to share decisions and comments about rounds with competitors after ballots are returned to the Tab Room. Adequate time will be included in the tournament schedule to allow teams to view the previous round's results and consult with judges.
Elimination Round Procedures
Breaks to elimination rounds shall be based on:
- Total number of ballots won.
- Z score.
The top 16 teams shall advance to elimination rounds unless there are more than 16 teams with records of 6-4 or better. If there are more than 16 teams with records of 6-4 or better:
- The bottom (N-16) * 2 teams (where N is the number of teams with records of 6-4 or better) will debate in a single elimination runoff round.
- The runoff round will be paired high-low (of the teams debating in the runoff round, the highest seed will debate the lowest seed; the second highest seed will debate the second lowest seed; and so on).
- If possible, brackets will be broken in the runoff round to prevent teams from the same school from debating. If it is not possible to break brackets, the school in question will inform the tabroom of their decision as to which team advances or if there will be a debate. If the school is unable or unwilling to do so by the end of the round, the tabroom shall advance the higher seed.
- Bracket breaks may not force a team to compete in the runoff round that otherwise would have received a bye; in such a scenario, the particular bracket will not be broken.
- Elimination rounds will be in double-elimination format (with the exception of the runoff round and the final round, which are single elimination).
Before the topic is announced, the topic and assigned sides for each debate will be determined in the topic announce area.
- First, the team from the most geographically distant school in each pairing will call a coin toss (heads or tails).
- Second, a single coin will be flipped for all debates.
- Third, the coin flip winner in each debate will choose whether to control the side or the topic for the debate (and the coin flip loser in each debate will control the option that the winner does not select).
- Fourth, teams with control over the topic will be given one minute to select one of the five NPTE topics as the topic for their debate. After the one minute has elapsed, tab will ask each team to announce their selection.
- Fifth, teams with control over the side will be given one minute to select their side in the debate. After the one minute has elapsed, tab will ask each team to announce their selection.
- Finally, tab will confirm the selections for each debate and then preparation time will begin.
- In the event that any team fails to select the topic or side within the allotted time noted above, the other team will be allowed to make the selection instead.
Pairing of the first elimination round.
- Team seeding for the first elimination round will be determined on the same basis as used to determine breaks to elimination rounds.
- Pairing in the first elim will be the highest seeded team versus the lowest seeded team; the next highest seeded team versus the team just above the lowest seed, etc.
Pairing after the first elimination round.
- After the first elimination round, teams shall be re-seeded after each round. Seeding for the second through final elimination rounds will be determined by (a) elimination round wins, (b) number of elimination round ballots received, and (c) seeding at the end of the preliminary rounds. Pairing will be high-low within brackets (highest seeded 1-0 will hit the lowest seeded 1-0; next highest seeded 1-0 will hit the team just above the lowest seeded 1-0, etc. highest seeded 0-1 will hit lowest seeded 0-1, next highest seeded 0-1 will hit the team just above the lowest seeded 0-1, etc.).
- For purposes of seeding, teams receiving a bye in elimination rounds shall be deemed to have received a win with the minimum majority of ballots sufficient to win the round had it been debated.
- When there are 5 teams remaining (after Elim 4), the undefeated team shall receive a bye in Elim 5. The tabulation room shall pair the 4 “1 loss” teams as one group with the highest seeded team facing the lowest seeded team, second seed versus next lowest seed, while following the procedure in #10.
- When there are 3 teams remaining (after Elim 5), the undefeated team shall receive a bye in Elim 6. The two "1 loss teams" will debate in Elim 6.
- The undefeated team shall debate the winner of Elim 6 in a single elimination final round.
- At least 3 judges shall be assigned to each elimination debate with no strike cards.
What happens when a Pairing is a Repeat or involves a School vs a School:
- Teams with 1 loss should never be paired against teams with 0 losses.
- Teams should never be paired to debate each other more than once unless doing so is required to avoid having a team with 1 loss debate a team with 0 losses.
- Teams should never be paired to debate teams from the same school unless doing so is required to avoid having a team with 1 loss debate a team with 0 losses OR unless doing so is required to avoid having teams debate each other more than once.
- When adjusting pairings to avoid teams debating each other more than once or teams from the same school debating each other, the lower seeded team will be switched with the lower seeded team from the next lower pairing. For example, if seed 5 is hitting seed 10 (teams already hit each other) and seed 6 is hitting seed 9; you would switch seed 10 and 9.
- In the event that teams from the same school must be paired against each other, the school in question will inform the tabroom of their decision as to which team advances or if there will be a debate. If the school is unable or unwilling to do so by the end of the round, the tabroom shall advance the higher seed on a 2-1 decision.
- If some unusual situation arises, the tabulation room shall be able to pair remaining elimination rounds via a method as close as is possible to the description in 5 above to assure the tournament finishes in the allotted number of elimination rounds.
- Breaks to elimination rounds shall be based on:
Final Round procedure.
The Tab Room shall establish a panel of at least 7 judges based on NPTE Judge Assignment procedure.
- Speaker awards will be determined in this order: double dropping high/low points, dropping high/low points, total points, and then z-scores for preliminary round ballots.
- Team awards shall be based on: (1) advancement in the elimination rounds (e.g. finals means first or second place; semi-finals means third or fourth place, etc.); (2) elimination round wins, (3) number of elimination round ballots received, and (4) seeding at the end of the preliminary rounds.
Public Posting of Debates and Ballots.
The Vice President shall post online for public viewing electronic versions of the ballots and video of the final round debate as well as other debates with the written permission of the debaters in those debates.
Article II. Debating and Judging Rules
Section 1. Scope of Rules
These rules shall be binding upon all rounds at the National Parliamentary Tournament of Excellence. These rules may be used in whole or in part at other tournaments. Tournaments need not use these rules to qualify for NPTE points, but are encouraged to do so as is practical.
Section 2. Enforcement of Rules
Rules applied to debaters shall be enforced as appropriate by the judges in the rounds. Judges who violate or encourage violation of these rules should be reported to the tournament director. The tournament director may remove judges from the tournament and appropriate fees may be assessed.
Section 3. Topic Announcement and Preparation Time
Selection and Announcement of Topics
For all debates, immediately prior to the start of preparation time, the resolution shall be announced.
- Initiation. Preparation time shall commence immediately upon announcement of the resolution.
- Duration. Preparation time for each round shall be 20 minutes. The tournament director may add time for travel to rounds. See Section 4C for what happens if debaters are late.
- Coaching. Coaches may choose to assist teams during preparation time. Coaches must ensure that such activity does not interfere with their judging obligations. Similarly, competitors may choose to collaborate during preparation time. Neither competitors nor coaches may assist teams in a round for which they will be acting as judge.
- Debaters must prepare during preparation time any materials that they use during the debate. Coaches and debaters may use any materials they wish during preparation time but the debaters for that round should use during the debate itself only items that they themselves prepared during the preparation time. Electronic or other "nearly instant" copying of material to the materials debaters bring to the round is not permitted. Using these "NPTE Rules for Debating and Judging" in a round shall be deemed an exception to this rule. Debaters and judges may possess, reference and/or quote from these rules in rounds as necessary.
Section 4. During the Debate Rounds
All rounds shall be open to the public. Use of recording devices shall be permitted so long as such use does not substantially interfere with the round. Attendees may applaud, cheer, or hiss as appropriate, but should avoid verbal heckling. Debaters may not use audience members to make substantive, sustained arguments in the round; the debaters themselves should be the source of arguments in the debate. Audience members who do seek to advance arguments or who become disruptive may be removed at the discretion of the judges.
Speaking and CX-Prep Order and Times
1. Prime Minister Constructive (PMC): 7 minutes
Cross-examination/Preparation Time: 2 minutes
2. Leader of Opposition Constructive (LOC): 8 minutes
Cross-examination/Preparation Time: 2 minutes
3. Member of Government Constructive (MG): 8 minutes
Cross-examination/Preparation Time: 1 minute
4. Member of Opposition Constructive (MO): 8 minutes
5. Leader of Opposition Rebuttal (LOR): 4 minutes
Cross-examination/Preparation Time: 1 minute
6. Prime Minister Rebuttal (PMR): 5 minutes
7. Cross-examination/Preparation Time is for the debaters from the team speaking next to ask questions should they wish to do so and/or to prepare arguments for their next speech.
The two debaters that qualified as a team must debate as that team with both debaters in each round at the NPTE.
- The two debaters from that qualified team must be in the room for the duration of each debate.
- Each debater from that qualified team must give a speech during each debate. The composition of that speech is up to the debater.
- One government team debater must give the PMC speech and the PMR speech; the other government team debater must give the MG speech. One opposition team debater must give the LOC speech and the LOR speech; the other opposition team debater must give the MO speech.
- Failure of one or both debaters to follow these expectations is grounds for an automatic loss.
If Debaters are late.
If the PMC or LOC of a debate team is late, the judges in the debate shall have a timer begun as soon as the PMC has been scheduled to begin. If it is the PMC speaker who is late, the PMC shall have the remaining time left to complete the PMC. If it is the LOC speaker who is late, the PMC shall begin when the LOC arrives but it is the LOC who shall lose the elapsed time since when the PMC was supposed to begin; the PMC would still have the full 7 minutes to present. If no time is available for the PMC or the LOC, the round will be deemed a forfeit by the team (or teams) with no speaking time remaining. In cases of verifiable circumstances outside of the control of the debaters, the tournament director may approve exceptions to this rule.
If a judge is late.
If a judge is late by more than 10 minutes, a person in the room should contact the tab director or tournament staff. A late judge does not automatically mean a round is forfeited nor that it results in double wins.
Use of Prepared Materials during debates.
With the exception of the document you are reading now, "The NPTE Rules for Debating and Judging," debaters should use only materials that they themselves wrote or similarly transcribed or produced after the announcement of that round's resolution. Debaters should not use in any debate 1) quoted evidence or "cards;" 2) electronically or "nearly instantly" copied files or recordings; 3) art sculpted, painted or drawn, photos taken, music recorded, and similar works of art materially created prior to the topic announcement; 4) any substantive arguments advanced by audience members; nor 5) materials written or similarly transcribed or produced during preparation time by others such as coaches or teammates (except their debate partner for that round). Debaters, of course, may present material they have memorized or remember as they speak. Debaters may cite statistics or sources for facts or definitions, but such factual citations should not be the sole basis upon which an argument rests. Debaters should rely upon their own analysis as the primary basis for arguments.
Cases and Arguments.
- These rules shall not be interpreted so as to require any specific case structure or judging paradigm. Issues of paradigm and debate theory shall be reserved for argument and justification by the debaters.
- Explicit definition of terms in the resolution shall not be required. Definitions may be presented explicitly, implicitly, contextually, and/or by metaphor.
- Normative values and/or evaluative criteria may be offered either explicitly or implicitly. Explicit presentation of a value or criterion shall not be a required "prima facie" part of a Government case.
- Government interpretations of the resolution should reflect a fair division of ground. Specifically, government interpretations should not be framed in such a way as to force the opposition to oppose well-established facts (i.e. physical realities), to embrace overtly racist, sexist, or otherwise discriminatory positions, or to uphold a value that is tautological with the resolution or with the Government case.
- Constructive speeches shall be used for the establishment and explication of primary lines of analysis. New arguments may be presented at any time in any constructive speech.
- Rebuttal speeches shall be used for the crystallization and weighing of previously established lines of argument. New arguments may not be presented in rebuttal speeches except in the case of a Prime Minister responding to an argument originally made by the Member of Opposition.
The basis for arguments should lie within the accessible realm of any reasonably well-educated person. Debaters who desire to present obscure or detailed information should be prepared to explain, in detail, the context of such information and its relationship to broader issues. Judges should exclude as "specific knowledge" only information that lies outside the accessible realm of a reasonably well-educated person and is challenged as such by opposing debaters. Judges should limit their consideration of information as narrowly as possible to exclude only those claims that are so specific or inaccessible as to be impossible to discuss without quoted evidence. The accessibility of the information and the debatability of the claim within the round shall be the critical issue, not lack of prior knowledge on the part of debaters or judges.
Points of Information.
Points of information shall be allowed during constructive speeches, excluding "protected time" during the first and last minute of each speech. Debaters desiring to raise a point of information may so indicate verbally and/or by standing and/or by raising their hand. The debater currently speaking shall have the option to accept or decline each point of information and may so indicate verbally and/or by gesture. While a debater may choose to limit the number of points of information he or she will accept, no such limit shall be imposed by the judge. Points of information may be offered in the form of questions or statements. Points of information may not exceed 15 seconds in duration.
Points of Order.
Debaters who perceive a violation of the rules may raise a point of order by standing or raising their hand and verbally announcing "point of order".
Upon recognition by the judge or chair, the debater should briefly state the nature of the violation.
The judge or chair shall then ask the other team for their defense and following that, rule on the point of order. "Point well taken" shall indicate that the point of order was valid. "Point not well taken" shall indicate that the point of order was not valid. "Point taken under consideration" shall indicate that the point of order is being deferred for later evaluation. When a point of order is deemed to be "well taken", the judge may instruct debaters to retract, rephrase, and/or avoid arguments.
Points of order are intended only to address rule violations and shall not be raised to insert new arguments or to disrupt another debaters' speech.
Upon recognition by the judge or chair, time shall be stopped, and the debater should briefly state the nature of the violation. The judge or chair shall then ask the other team for their defense and following that, rule on the point of order, and timing shall begin again.
Points of Personal Privilege.
Debaters who perceive that another debater has engaged in personal insult, harassing behavior, or other violation of personal dignity may raise a point of personal privilege. Debaters may also raise a point of personal privilege if they perceive another debater to be deliberately misrepresenting the arguments of others. Such points shall be raised and adjudicated in the same manner as points of order (above). When a point of personal privilege is deemed to be "well taken" the judge may instruct the offending debater to retract and/or apologize for the offensive comments. Points of personal privilege are intended only to maintain the collegial nature of the debate and shall not be raised to insert new arguments or to disrupt another debaters' speech.
The judge or chair of the judging panel shall provide time signals to the debaters or shall appoint someone to do so. The timekeeper shall indicate to the debaters the end and beginning of "protected time" during constructive speeches by loudly striking the table. Time shall not be stopped for points of information, but shall be stopped during presentation and adjudication of points of order and points of personal privilege.
Laptops and Handheld Computers
Use of laptop or handheld computers is not permitted except in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Requests for exemption based on disability must be accompanied or verified by documentation considered sufficient by the Board.
Advocating the Splitting of Ballots
Requests by debaters that judges in preliminary round 6 or any round to "split" the ballots to ensure that both teams advance to elimination rounds is considered by the NPTE Board to be a disqualifying offense. The NPTE Board also considers it unethical for judges to collude regarding the splitting of ballots. Prior to turning in ballots, judges should not discuss their decisions with any other person. NPTE Board members and staff may monitor rounds to ensure that such practices do not occur.
Section 5. After Debate Rounds
Ballot and Speaker Points.
As soon as possible after the conclusion of the round, judges shall complete and return to the tab room a written ballot. The ballot must include a designated winner and loser ("double-win" and "double-loss" rounds shall not be allowed). Speaker points shall be assigned to each debater on a 24-30 scale in .1 increments as follows:
30: Rare example of outstanding achievement in analysis and presentation.
28-29.9: Very Good/Excellent accomplishment of analysis and presentation.
26-27.9: Okay/Good accomplishment but some deficiencies in analysis and/or presentation.
24.1-25.9: Severe/Significant deficiencies in analysis and/or presentation.
24: Deliberately offensive behavior, intentional violation of rules.
Basis for Decision.
The resolution forms the basis for the round. The Government shall enjoy the right to derive any linguistically legitimate interpretation of the resolution and construct a case based upon that. If, at the end of the round, the Government has crafted such an interpretation and successfully defended a case based upon it, the Government should win the round. The Opposition may oppose the linguistic legitimacy of the Government's interpretation of the resolution and/or the case itself and/or the underlying resolution as the Government interprets it. If, at the end of the round, the Opposition has successfully opposed the Government in one or more of these areas, the Opposition should win the round.
- Judges shall base their decisions upon the arguments made, persuasive style displayed by the debaters, and the rules for the event.
- Once the decision is announced, that decision is final except in the event of a mistake in the reading of the decision, e.g. the person announcing the decision read the ballot incorrectly, the judge misstates who he or she intended to vote for, or there is a tab error.
- Decisions may not be changed because a judge changed his or her mind after a decision has been announced.
- Judges are encouraged to make pedagogically appropriate verbal and written comments to educate debaters about relevant factual or normative concerns that were not raised by the debaters.
Announcement (preliminary rounds).
Immediately after the round, debaters and audience members should leave the room. Judges must complete their decision, without conferring with any other person except the Tournament Director if it is absolutely necessary, and return it to the tab room before engaging in any disclosure or verbal critiques.
Announcement (elimination rounds).
- Immediately after the round, the chair shall dismiss the debaters and audience members to wait outside the room.
- Judges should make their decision as quickly as possible; deferring the writing of detailed comments on the ballot until after the decision has been announced.
- Judges of the elimination rounds shall not confer with each other nor anyone else except the Tournament Director if it is absolutely necessary in making their decisions.
- Once all judges have reached a decision, the chair shall invite the debaters and audience back into the room, publicly announce the decision of the panel, and communicate this decision to the tab room.
- Judges should then provide any verbal critiques, complete their written ballots and return them to the tab room.
Disclosure and Verbal Critique.
Judges are encouraged to engage debaters in discussion of issues and perceptions about the round, including the nature and justification for the judge's decision. When possible, the tournament should establish a discrete area for such discussions. Debaters, judges, and coaches should recognize the intensity of the competitive environment and avoid engaging in confrontational, demeaning or challenging behavior.
Appeals to Decisions and Pairings
- Appeals to decisions and pairing should occur only in the most extreme circumstances--where there is demonstrable and serious harm to a team; i.e. inappropriate behavior or a tournament error has caused a loss.
- Appellants must write their appeal and submit it to the board and should do so prior to the release of the next round's pairings. Appellants must be available to communicate with the board.
The Board shall pursue an inquiry under the following conditions:
- only if there is demonstrable and serious harm and
- with at least 50% of voting board members voting to pursue an inquiry with no more than 1 board member dissenting.
- Throughout this process, board members with teams affected by the appeal shall recuse themselves from the discussion and the vote. The President may consult board members not at the tournament but it is not required as efficiency in running the tournament is a primary concern.
- Assuming the Board agrees to pursue the appeal, defendants also must write their defense, submit it to the board, and be available to communicate with the board. The President shall provide a reasonable time limit for this defense.
- The Board will rarely overturn a decision by a judge or judges and will do so only if the harm caused by overturning the decision is less than the harm caused by the decision. Overturning a decision shall require at least 50% of voting board members with no more than 1 board member dissenting.
- Board rulings are final unless presented with new evidence of a substantial nature showing that the grounds for the board's decision were incorrect. Such a ruling will require a unanimous vote of all voting board members.
- The President and/or Tournament Director, will as soon as possible, issue a statement to participants explaining to the Board's ruling in a manner that maintains the confidentiality of those involved.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Addressing and reporting harassment and/or violence at the National Parliamentary Tournament of Excellence or concerning members of the NPTE Board of Directors.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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:
- The tabulation room will automatically grant a constraint to ensure that complainants are not judged by an accused individual.
- The tabulation room will take care to ensure that, inasmuch as possible, complainants are not forced to debate against an accused individual.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Addressing and reporting harassment and/or violence that has occurred outside of the National Parliamentary Tournament of Excellence.
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: Click Here.
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Tournaments may consult the NPTE to create accommodations similar to those identified in Section B.9 of this policy.
- 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: Click Here.
Documenting Instances of Concern
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.