We have received valuable feedback regarding our students’ judging commitments. We will continue to incorporate constructive criticism from our colleagues and peers.
Specifically regarding this issue, the following team-wide email was sent by Paras to the DebateDrills Club Team on November 4th, 2019 after the Bronx Invitational:
“Re: Parents Fulfilling Judging Commitments at Tournaments
Our colleagues have made it clear that it frustrates them when our students provide unqualified judging (e.g. parents) to fulfill judging obligations. This has been an issue at several tournaments, including Voices, Bronx, etc.
I see both sides to this issue: on the one hand, it is an additional cost to hire judging for every tournament, and on the other hand, we would not want to debate in front of parents of our competitors, just as they don’t want to debate in front of our families’ parents. I think the real question we should ask ourselves is this: would I feel comfortable staking an important debate round in front of the judge I have provided for this tournament? If the answer is no, I think we should improve. The commitment we made to the community on our official roster and policies is as follows:
We have asked our students to avoid using their parents or other lay judges to fulfill judging requirements where possible. Our students have agreed to only provide lay judges if the tournament in question does not give them the option to hire qualified judging.
If you have concerns about this, please let me know, but I think it is the most productive way for us to engage with what we think is a reasonable request from the debate community. Moving forward, we will start forfeiting coaching options for students who are circumventing this process in bad faith.”
We are aware that, since this email was sent, several students have continued to circumvent this policy. We are directly in communication with these families to prevent this moving forward. Part of the challenge we have encountered is that sometimes our families have trouble sourcing qualified judging due to lack of supply or the family not fully understanding how to find judging. We are working with our students’ to increase proactiveness and resources in sourcing qualified judging.
We still have work to do to impress upon our families that providing qualified judging is non-negotiable. We will work to improve compliance and we agree this is a problem. We will also internally discuss the best methods to ensure compliance with our policy in future seasons.
For the remainder of the 2019-2020 season, we will increase our on-site coaches judging commitment to a full commitment at any given tournament if one of our students is circumventing our internal policy regarding judging commitments at said tournament.
We are always happy to hear constructive criticisms from our colleagues and peers. If there are any thoughts about ways we could improve our approach to the activity, please feel free to email us at email@example.com.