Update from the NPDA EC

Dear Friends,

The NPDA Executive Council has been working on the coming semester and wishes to update you on several important items. The EC is working hard to interpret our bylaws and sanction tournaments in a manner that preserves NPDA style debate but does not enact permanent change that would require the business meeting process. The circumstances require such action. We also realize that it is very possible that the current situation will continue into the spring as well and will extend the points below as needed.

Covid-19 has affected all formats of speech and debate. For our activity in particular, it presents a few additional challenges:

Written preparation: Work written during prep, other than where an ADA accommodation has been made, somewhat defines our format. With the need for online/virtual debates, this presents an obvious problem. For the coming semester, the EC considers material typed during preparation time to be written. This does not include cutting and pasting from a file. This obviously excludes simply reading from a prepped file that already resides on a drive. Obviously, handwritten preparation is still fine, but the EC is concerned about partners who may be debating from different locations being able to prep. ADA accommodations take precedence over anything in conflict here.

In-round messaging: For partners who are debating from different locations, communicating is also a challenge. The EC considers messaging between partners appropriate in this case. As in any other round, debaters should not communicate with anyone else who is not involved in the round.

Recording: The EC asks that recording be handled as it has been normally on our circuit. Permission from everyone should be given, including judges.

Sanctioning: The Executive Secretary will endeavor to err on the side of the tournament. We want debates to happen. Rule enforcement at invitationals will be up to individual tournament directors (as it would normally anyway).

Shared commitment to prep: The limited preparation aspect of our format is what makes it unique and continues to do so even as contemporary argument forms and performances have found their place in Parli. Virtual debating will challenge the format as it has not been challenged before. Only a shared commitment to honestly conducting prep will make the format workable in this situation. The EC asks everyone to commit to that.

Since this is all new territory, we expect to encounter things that we cannot predict. Accordingly, the EC has tried to make minimal recommendations at this time, leaving room to grow as needed.

As the season progresses, the EC will make a determination about NPDA nationals and will let everyone know as early as possible about its form, whether that be virtual or in-


The EC asks you to please post your tournament information at the calendar link publicized by Amanda Ozaki-Laughon recently. Please click here to log in, view your tournaments, and click the new tournament button to submit your tournament for our calendar. Amanda will grant your tournament probationary sanctioning, and send an email regarding tournament sanctioning procedures towards the end of July. Even though many of us still do not know what fall will look like at our respective institutions, getting on the calendar is important because it helps many of us request funding, update students, and start to form a plan for our teams.

Finally, please join us in welcoming and congratulating Brittany Hubble of El Camino College as the new NPDA Vice-President! We are excited to have her voice and experience in the VP role and we know she will do an awesome job.


NPDA Executive Council:

David Worth

Brittany Hubble

Amanda Ozaki-Laughon

Shannon LaBove