Full Invitation as PDF

Dear DANEIS coaches,

PLEASE READ THIS CAREFULLY. Sorry for the delay in getting this invitation to you, but we are doing our very best to retool for this first-ever virtual RL Debate, where we look forward to hosting you remotely on Sunday, September 13. The format and schedule will be a bit different, but much will remain the same. We will be running two separate Zoom rooms (one for Novice and one for Advanced), limiting each school to one team of four in each division (as usual). In the short term, we need to know who is coming and whether you want one team in each division. Once confirmed by me, we will need your pairings and judges, as well as SCHOOL EMAIL ADDRESSES FOR ALL DEBATERS AND ALL JUDGES. Please, NO WolfmanJack@gmail.com. We will need to have names that match school email names easily in case we need to reach someone directly during the tournament. Sorry, but no observers allowed this year. We need to limit the number of moving parts to just the key people this go-round.

Following the approach just taken at Worlds this past week, we will be dispensing with the usual “Beginning of the Round” procedures. In the main Zoom room for each division, we will release the one and only topic at the end of the briefing, take any questions, then move to breakout rooms where individual debates will be run. We will provide an RL speaker (who will read the script to move the debate along), and an RL timekeeper (who will give time signals while muted), but it will be up to the judge to flip a virtual coin to implement a NEW PROCEDURE FOR DETERMINING SIDE. If the person calling the toss calls heads and it is heads, then his/her team is the Government. If the person calling the toss calls heads and it is tails, then the other team will be the Government. There will be 15 minutes prep time instead of 10 minutes during which everyone will be muted, and teams will be allowed to communicate privately using the Chat feature in Zoom or something like Facetime. The Government’s definitions, therefore, will only be revealed for the first time by the Government in the actual debate. Judges will take into account any unfairness in definition of terms (if any) only at the end of the debate.

There will be more to say on all of this down the road, but the usual straight resolutions, points of information, and speaker times remain the same.

Prime Minister – 5 minute constructive
Member of the Opposition – 8 minute speech
Minister of the Crown – 8 minute speech
Leader of the Opposition – 8 minute speech
Prime Minister – 3 minute rebuttal

As with all DANEIS tournaments, it is strictly understood that teams may not consult any reference materials of any kind (electronic or otherwise) during their preparation time or during the actual debate. Student judges will not be permitted to judge advanced debates, and students judging in the novice division must be experienced debaters who have competed in DANEIS tournaments at the advanced level. Parents of students debating in the advanced division should judge ONLY in the NOVICE division.

No exhibition round, no hardware to give out (only bragging rights and some emailed certificates). I don’t feel as though we should charge you anything this year. We’re not feeding you, and we can afford the paper for printing the certificates. Waiving the fee just gives all of us one less thing to worry about. We will be happy to share our documents and forms with others after the debate. It’s a grind to put this stuff together, and I want to give special thanks to David Conti at Hotchkiss and John Robinson at St. John’s Ravenscourt for being so generous with their time and work product as pioneers in this new virtual debate environment.

Please email me with your team requests by Wednesday, September 9. We would greatly appreciate it if you could provide the names and email addresses of your debaters and judges by that date as well. I encourage schools to contact me ahead of this deadline in case we reach a number that looks like it might be unmanageable. On the day of the debate, we will also need to have you provide a final confirmation of any name changes or dropped teams.
Here’s my email address: stewart.thomsen@roxburylatin.org

The DANEIS Fall Coaches Meeting normally takes place on this day, and if that remains the plan, we will certainly put it on the schedule for the day (which will be forthcoming, along with other documents for the debate). We certainly hope you can join us for the league’s virtual opener!

Stewart Thomsen, RL Debate Coach
Ethan Phan, RL Debate President