WUDC Council 2004 Minutes

World University Debating Championships 2004, Nanyang Technological University Pre-Council Meeting

Date: 28th December 2003
Time: 1.04 pm

Change of Registrar

Chair informs council that appointed Registrar, Matt Charlesworth is unable to attend Worlds and has made an executive decision to appoint Rory McKeown in his place. There were no objections to this appointment.

Updates to nations voting status

Chair brought to the attention of council that the criteria used to determine voting status has altered a little in the past. The constitution states that changes happen based on attendance of 2 years (insert from constitution) but is ambiguous as whether that includes the current year of participation. The contention was that the 2 year rule was instantiated to ensure that changes to voting status are made based on a consistent turnout and not temporary surges, and whether including the current year dilutes that purpose. However not including the current year ignores the current level of participation at that worlds and that is unfair.

Motion: The voting status of nations at any particular Worlds are to be decided by including the current Worlds that they are participating in.

Proposed: Malaysia

Seconded: Israel

Motion Passes unanimously

Updates to nations' voting status:

Singapore moves up from C to B

Bangladesh moves up from D to C

China moves up from D to C

Thailand moves up from D to C

Botswana moves to D

Netherlands moves down from C to D

Clarification of status and voting rights: nations are eligible to vote at council as long as they are at worlds. Attendance at Pre-Council is not a pre-requisite to that.

Move to close

Proposed: Canada

Seconded: Bangladesh

Institutional review

The convener for NTU, Namrata Verma, proceeded with her report on the institutions participating at Worlds. She informed council that:

All institutions had fulfilled the N-1 regulation

There were no violations of the 4 year rule (maximum number of worlds as a debater). However she stressed that this was done by comparing the registration list with the database available on Colm Flynn's debating website and is by no means exhaustive, as people may have changed their names (example used was Rory a.k.a Roderick a.k.a. R McKeown)

Even though the team cap was extended to 304 teams, there were still teams outside the tab who wanted to register. Some of them came to Singapore anyway to try their luck. Due to some last-minute pull-outs, all the teams who showed up at NTU were allowed into the tab. Nevertheless, these methods to put pressure on the organiser to expand the registration list are unfair to the organisers and doesn't help them with the tournament.

Australia : Melbourne university wishes to inform council and NTU that one of their debaters is unable to attend because he had been detained at Melbourne airport because his passport had expired. Melbourne wishes to alter their team lineup, to have 4 teams and 2 adjudicators. This will put them in violation of N-1.

New Zealand : There is still a chance this person will show up if the passport problem is solved. He can then enter the tab as an adjudicator. Thus this won't be setting a precedent of allowing N-1 violations.

Malaysia : These are extenuating circumstances which should qualify Melbourne for some leeway.

Ravi : From an adjudication perspective, it is not a problem that Melbourne sends 1 less adjudicator than it has to. Though NTU would like council's opinion on whether the circumstances are indeed extenuating enough for the rule to be waived.

Rory : This will be recorded, thus Melbourne cannot keep infringing this rule as it will reflect badly on them in the future.

Australia : Circumstances are indeed extenuating and in no way did Melbourne ignore the rule. (proceeds to produce a copy of the expired passport, as proof that situation could not be avoided).

Council agreed that Melbourne's situation was unique and thus NTU agreed to let them alter the team composition and debate without any sanction.

England : Questioned the legitimacy of the Australian Legal Workshop (ALW) as an institution, as defined by Worlds Constitution.

Amanda : Offered that the ALW is a separate course in the Australian National University (ANU), similar to an Inns of Court.

Netherlands : Observed that it is participated by students of ANU and degrees are from ANU, making it part of ANU.

New Zealand : Important to sort this out because if ALW becomes part of ANU, then ANU will be in violation of the N-1 rule.

A representative of the ALW is sent for to present his case to council.

Chair announced to council that as of now they were 2 bids for Worlds 2006. They were from MMU (contact person, Sumithra) and UCD L&H (Ciaran). There would be no presentations today, but bid materials would be passed around.

Israel : Need clarification in regards to bribes and deals as part of bids. Does offering DCAs constitute as a bribe?

Ireland : It is fair, as it is still part of the bid. It doesn't matter how many DCAs you have, council cannot regulate how you compose your bid. Also, we couldn't really do anything to punish or reprimand bidders even if we knew of deals.

Croatia : Redundant discussion, because there is no more or less legitimate reason to vote for a bid, be it a DCA or be it the weather.

-Discussion closed-

The Croatian rep reminded council that they have to finalise the ESL team list and highlighted its absence from the agenda. The chair apologised for this oversight and amended the agenda. However ESL registration had not ended and thus the final list was still not complete. ESL status had been accidentally omitted from the registration process, thus creating the necessity to do it on day 2 of the tournament. NTU admitted and apologised for this oversight and recommended to future hosts to ensure ESL status is included in initial registration details.

The delegates from the Australian Legal Workshop (ALW) arrived to clarify their status. Their representative, Andrew Jory, explained that the ALW has a separate function from the Australian National University (ANU) in that it provides an avenue for students there to practice their law in Canberra and produces a Diploma certificate to this effect. They do however lease buildings from ANU and has an administrative agreement with ANU, in terms of processing student registration and so on. Once one is enrolled at ALW, they cease to become students of ANU. They pay different fees and cannot represent ANU.

After a brief period of questioning, Council was satisfied that ALW was independent from ANU and there were no objections to allowing them to debate as a separate institution.

ESL Status

There was a difficulty in confirming the ESL status of teams as people were still registering. After a short discussion on whether to cap the number of teams so that Council can start processing the list, Council decided this would be unfair to the teams who had not yet had a chance to register, since registration had only opened on that day.

The New Zealand rep suggested that once available the list of ESL teams should be distributed to all regional representatives and then Council could reconvene to confirm the status. This was however decided to be logistically difficult and an unnecessary effort for one item on the agenda.

The chair then proposed that the list of ESL teams currently registered be printed out and reviewed by council. If there are new additions to the list, the Chair will confer personally with the regional representative concerned to confirm the status. If there is a possibility that the list needs to be altered, the executive will confer and decide if council needs to convene again.

Results of ESL list confirmation Changes : DSLU A was confirmed as NOT ESL There was confusion as to the status of LSE, which was on the list. The registrar was assigned to personally investigate their status.

Other business

Chair : Does council need to act on the issue of teams who even when unable to register, fly in to the competition and force the host to accept them?

New Zealand : Specific action is not required, the council should just support the host as it does it many other matters.

Council agreed no specific action was required.

Ireland : proposed discussion on principles of a tabbing system. Other than malfunctioning programs itself, most of the confusion in past tournaments stemmed from the lack of agreement on the principles of the system.

Chair : it is on the agenda for the main council meeting.

Israel : Proposed firstly discussion on extending the 4 year rule and secondly, discussion on "hidden costs" at worlds. There have been many incidents where participants upon arrival have been informed that they have many fees to pay other than their registration fee.

Chair : slated for next council meeting.

Main Council meeting

Date: 1st January 2005

Time: 10.48 am

Novotel Apollo Hotel, Singapore


Modifications in Voting Status.

Russia, who was absent at Pre-Council, is promoted to C Status (2 votes) Slovenia drops to D (1 vote).

Status of Turkey.

Council discussed the status of Turkey, who have no teams or adjudicators registered in the tournament, but have a delegate present. According to the delegate, they would've participated if the team cap had not been reached.

Ireland : Given the circumstances they should have a vote. The 1 year lapse in a way recognises that the status of these countries is still active.

New Zealand : Constitution says only all participating teams may be represented at council.

England : One could set a precedence of creating useless votes - votes for teams that are not present at the tournament - and this could lead to abuse.

Ireland : No abuse because 1 year lapse still guarantees the number of votes they should have this year.

Womens : not choice to not participate, current circumstances made it difficult to participate. Thus the interest still exists and it is fair that this interest be represented at council

Netherlands : highlighted that Section 8 of the Constitution stated that every delegate present at Council be eligible to vote.

Israel : Council should encourage participation, since they are here, they should be allowed to participate and thus vote.

Ireland : The 1 year lapse was instantiated because council tried to balance the importance of being represented while recognising the difficulty in consistently sending teams to Worlds that is held in many different places around the world.

Malaysia : if there is no contribution to the championship per se, then it would be strange to still allow them a vote.

New Zealand : This could set a dangerous precedent. This could allow anyone off the street to represent a country, then walk into council meeting and vote.

Israel : No, this is different because Turkey has been represented at Worlds before and they did try to send teams for worlds this year.

Motion : to include Turkey in this year's Council Meeting.

Proposed : USA

Seconded : Canada

Motion falls by 35-32

Ratifying minutes of last year's council meeting

New Zealand : highlighted that their vote last year against a motion proposed by Israel was noted as in support, when it was actually against the motion.

Israel : Corrected the wording of a motion they proposed last year.

Move to ratify the minutes

Proposed : Israel

<>Seconded : Ireland

Motion passes unanimously

Stellenbosch Reports

The convener of last year's worlds, Kevin Burden, was unable to attend due to family matters and thus the report was presented by Pierre, who apologised to council on behalf of Kevin. He summarised the running of the tournament and stated that the tournament eventually ended on a loss of 200,000 Rand. They are currently in negotiation with the University administration to absorb this loss and assured council that it will not reflect on them. He also cleared up an item on the budget with showed subsidies were provided for local teams. These were sourced wholly from sponsors contributions and were not paid for by other participants.

Australia : What does "marketing and printing" under the budget refer to?

Pierre : Signs, pamphlets, banners, ballots.

Chair : What happened to the twin giant banners of faces?

Pierre : it was auctioned to recoup losses.

Womens : Bedding refers to?

Pierre : we bought new mattresses and pillows for all the participants as it was cheaper to do this than rent it from the university for 9 days. It was donated after the competition.

discussion was concluded and Stellenbosch report passed unanimously.

NTU report

Convener Namrata Verma stepped up to present the report. She started by thanking people who had congratulated her on the efficacy of the competition and then went on to highlight the major problems faced by the organisers.

After the team cap had been reached, many teams pushed very hard to still be included in the competition and this put unnecessary pressure on the organisers. Some teams dropped out after checking in with the attendance system and after the motions had been released. This caused delays as the organisers had to look hard for swing teams. In one round, they had to put in 5 swing teams. Some adjudicators dropped out and changed their status to observers, while a few were selective about which rounds they wanted to adjudicate and which ones they wanted off. This should be considered a violation of the N-1 rule and NTU would like it to be enforced in that if the adjudicators drop out, so should the teams. In regards to socials, organisers apologised for not being able to fulfil all demands of participants. They had some trouble at the hotel and the New Year's Eve party and this was unfair to the hosts.

Bangladesh : Was the 300 team cap number set randomly or one that was based on logistical constraints?

NTU : We needed a number to work with in order to plan the logistics, so it was a bit of both.

Ireland : Which are the institutions that flouted the N-1 rule midway during the tournament?

Neil (DCA) : Don't want to bring up the list because we don't want to have sanctions now. Just want to know how to respond, in case of future occurances.

Ireland : The intention to have the list is not to punish, but to record for the future, to allow for a more solid basis for reaction.

Neil : The list is not necessary to for that. The need is to know how to react during the tournament

Bangladesh : We need to analyse the reasons behind these drop-outs and then make contingencies

NTU : Legitimate reasons were accepted (i.e. medical reasons) and expected. But there were many strange reasons, for example some teams were told by coaches that if they felt the going got too tough, then they could stop and quit some adjudicators dropped out because they felt they were too good to adjudicate rounds that they were allocated to

Malaysia : There is a need to devise a sanction or give the hosts the right to react in any way suitable, like for instance, dropping teams.

Israel : Does dropping teams from the tournament make it harder or easier for the hosts? Because now they have to find swing teams.

England : We are taking too long on something we all agree is a problem.

NTU : Not asking council for a specific measure, just mandate to enforce N-1.

Chair : Discussion taking too long. Hosts already have mandate and full rights to enforce N-1.

New Zealand : Questioned hosts on the absence of free or subsidised alcohol. Didn't realise alcohol was so expensive.

NTU : Apologised for lack of information on that aspect

Japan : Questioned why wasn't it brought to attention of participants that it was wrong to have discussions during prep time with people other than your teammate?

Neil : The panel decided that the educational aspect of conferring and discussing was more important and the unfair advantages it brought was negligible.

Japan : Had 3 responses

this was brought up at council last year and was confirmed that joint preps were unfair

if the focus is on educational benefits and not competitiveness, then why not allow computers

this then becomes unfair to single teams (1 team only from that institution)

Neil : There is not explicit rule against a) while there is one against b). In regards to c), teams can prep with teams from other institutions.

Registrar : No basis to discuss it here, because rules don't explicitly spell it out. If there is intent to modify the rules, it must be done later.

Amanda (DCA) : Would like to apologise to Sarfaraz, because they made a mistake and he was unfairly pushed down in the tab.

Discussion ends and Council thanks hosts for a wonderful job.

Croatia presentation for bid confirmation

Presentation was by Convener of Zagreb Worlds, Petar Bezjak. He first announced the official dates of the competition to be from the 27th of December to the 5th of January, with participants leaving on the 6th. There would be a 2 day extension for participants to enjoy Croatia.

He went to list preparations done to that point they had organised a very successful Europeans and other large tournaments they had the support of the President of Croatia, University Senate, City of Zagreb and more the organising committee was finalised started negotiations with sponsors (big beer sponsor lined up!) there will be 3 meals a day, every day. There were no immigration issues in regards to travel and they were working on flight subsidies. The registration fee had to be increased though to 2000 Kunar, which was approximately 300 USD (up 50 USD from when the bid was put in). Team cap is 400 teams, website is

Israel : There was a problem with food at Europeans. Will that happen again

Petar : No, that was due to a mistake at the point when people were registering dietary preferences. Will not happen again.

Bangladesh : There is no Croatian embassy in Bangladesh and the nearest one is in India. There is a Slovenian embassy though, can a visa be arranged through them?

Petar : Yes of course. We will look into it.

Registrar : Do you have a budget?

Petar : Not here right now. But it is the same as the one presented last year during the bid.

Amanda : With 304 teams, we faced huge logistical burdens. What are you doing to prepare for 400?

Petar : Not sure we will have 400, that is just an outside limit. Plus the N-1 rule will ensure we have enough adjudicators

Chair : What about team caps per institution?

Petar : There will no team cap during pre-registration. During registration, there will be cap of three. If the tournament cap is not fulfilled, then it will be opened up to the other teams that pre-registered.

Iva : We ran the largest Europeans last year. There was a very extensive briefing and the timing of the competition was smooth. But if we feel we don't have enough manpower, we might get additional people.

England : Unworkable to not have team cap. Also, how can we have confidence in the CA when she didn't make the judges break this year?

Petar : Iva has an extensive CV, and the N-1 rule will guarantee there will be sufficient judges.

Neil : There is a difference between having adjudicators (who might just be people who couldn't make the debating spots) and people who know their stuff. How do you plan to sort out the people, to go through their feedback or test papers and so on?

Petar : There is a tab director and the software will do most of these sorting.

Netherlands : Without a cap, big institutions will send large contingents, which will make it difficult to sort chairs for panels. How do you plan to overcome this?

Iva : There were no complaints when we announced a limit of 400 last year. But if this is a problem now, it can be reduced.

Australia : What have you done specifically to train people?

Petar : Must keep asking people to send experienced adjudicators, it's not just our burden to provide the best adjudication. We are currently working on perfecting the adjudication test. There will be feedback and all the other usual tools used by adjudication teams at worlds.

Womens : A question in regard to equity. How will you open up the 3 team cap after registration in a fair manner?

Ireland : If no cap, large institutions will send large groups and adjudicators will be the weakest debaters, because he/she will be selected based on who the weakest speaker is. Since there is no financial burden, Croatia being so close there will be a flood of these adjudicators.

Petar : We want a good worlds for all. But if you send weak adjudicators, we will have to choose from those.

Iva : More than 1/3 of all adjudicators will be from IONA and we can expect many good judges from Great Britain.

Israel : If size is really an issue, then they have agreed that it can be reduced to match Singapore. Can we discuss lowering the rego for adjudicators?

Wales : Discuss and decide categorically, a) tournament team cap, b) institution team cap, c) chief adjudicator

Malaysia : Why should we change the status quo? Institution team caps ensure good judging.

Neil : Issue is not just the cap. There is no response on how you are planning to deal with logistics in adjudication room, only response is that tab director will do it. Plus the non-existence of a budget, makes it very hard to put faith into them.

Petar : We have the experience and have done it before. The budget is fine as most of the sponsors have already confirmed with us.

Amanda : Stated that her specific concern is that she doesn't think Iva can do the job.

England : Stated that they have no confidence in the ability of Croatia to do run an efficient tournament.

Israel : Similar issues were raised last year in regards to Singapore's bid. Iva has more experience than Ravi. If there are no problems with the DCAs, then it should be allowed to pass.

Amanda : Admitted there was similar discussion last year, but at the end of that meeting, council did have confidence in the Singapore adjudication team.

Registrar : There is no budget, how can we assess the progress and stability of the organisation. Can it really be possible that nothing has changed in a year?

Petar : Apologised for lack of budget. Re-affirmed that all sponsorship was confirmed and that there was very little to worry about.

Wales : Logistics can be sorted out, just problem with CA. Will you still run the tournament if the CA had to be changed?

Motion : No confidence in Croatia's bid

Proposed : England

Seconded : New Zealand

Proposal for silent ballots

Proposed : New Zealand

Seconded : Malaysia

TOTAL 40 25 3

Motion passes.

Netherlands : Difficult to run a fair re-bidding process, in view of short notice to other bidders and emotional tension in the room. Could council reconvene at a different time?

Canada : What time frame should we use to decide when the next meeting is to be held. Could we ask potential bidders how much time they need?

Croatia : Announced to council that they do not intend to re-bid for 2005.

Neil : Agreed it had to happen another day, the overly emotional environment today might create prejudice against bidders.

Croatia : Clarified that they have thought it through and decided to not re-bid not because they were emotionally affected. Not re-bidding is the final decision.

Ireland : Is it practically possible to have this meeting on another day?

Registrar : It can't be done today because country reps will need to consult with their teams.

Motion : Reconvene tomorrow evening after quarterfinals

Proposed : England

Seconded : New Zealand

Motion carried unanimously

NTU : Confirmed there will be time tomorrow for the meeting, as long as council members are willing to skip the social event.

Chair clarified that the special meeting will be just for the purpose of sorting out bids, for 2005 and 2006.

Ireland : Asked for an expression of interest to bid for 2005 from anyone in the room. This was not to conduct the bid now, but just to evaluate the scene for tomorrow.

Malaysia : On behalf of Multimedia University Malaysia, if there are no other bidders for 2005, they will step up.

Ireland : L&H expresses that they will not be bidding for 2005.

Recess from 1.37 to 2.45

Ratification of adjudication guidelines

Chair explained that while there was an oral tradition for adjudication rules and standards, there were no explicit records of this anywhere and that created a lot of ambiguity. There is a need for a guideline, to be adopted by worlds council.

Chair presented to council a guideline that had been composed by Omar Sallahuddin, Praba Ganesan, Steve Johnson and himself.

Israel : There is no information in the document on how to prioritise different aspects of the debate.

Chair : We didn't want to put that in, because it might create prejudice against certain styles of debating.

Ireland : Do we really need to ratify or adopt these guidelines? Do we then restrict the evolution of Worlds debating, in that it becomes too rigid?

Chair : It is not to restrict the growth, but to address the necessity for a common understanding on the most basic principles.

South Korea : If the fear is indeed that it will too restrictive, then we can keep it general. This document will be very useful in developing new adjudicators.

South Africa : The guidelines can also be updated regularly to reflect whatever changes that have occurred. It will be useful for new and fresh adjudicators, older ones will most likely ignore these specific merits.

Registrar : We cannot make some adjudicators follow these rules and allow others to flaunt them. Teams will complain about double standards. Perhaps adjudication panels should devise their own guidelines, prior to each Worlds tournament.

Canada : Specific comments on document ; section 6 : the description there makes it seem like only 2 sides are involved in the debate (gov and opp). There is no acknowledgement of top and bottom halves.

Chair : Noted

Neil : Good idea if adjudication panel released their guidelines every year, based on changes that happened the year before.

Motion : To ratify this document as official guidelines for adjudication

Proposed : USA

Seconded : Scotland

Move for Roll Call vote

Proposed : Malaysia

Seconded : Canada

TOTAL 42 16 7

Motion passes.

Motion : Guidelines are to be discussed through whatever medium necessary and 1 month before the competition the updated version must be published for all to view.

Proposed : South Africa

Seconded : Malaysia

Motion carried unanimously

Official Tabulation System

NTU presented their tabulation software and discussed in detail how its works. It was designed based on tab principles outlined as Article 31, by Michael Smith. They then presented a demonstration of this software.

Issues highlighted during discussion about tab software:

Is there a maximum limit on the number of teams? No

Can it run of a remote server? Yes

Can you make changes to the teams after the draw is run? No, you would have to edit the database directly through the back-end

Will it highlight and point out mistakes? Yes

How feasible is it to make modification if you want to use some other algorithm to perform the power pairing? It is simple. You would just have to change 1 module.

Motion : WUDC recommends the use of this tab for future rounds of this competition but hosts are not f
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