Topic statement: Corporations should prioritize stakeholder value over shareholder value.
The 2020 Lafayette Debates Western Championship and General Lafayette Debates Championship will be held on February 8-9 at the Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, California.
Saturday February 8th, 2020
10am - 10:30am - Registration at Loyola Marymount University - Seaver Hall Room 100
10:30am - Introductions - Format and Topic Briefing - Third Floor Foley Building
10:45am - Round 1 - First Affirmative Speeches with cross examination
Preliminary Round - Each team will elect one of its team members to deliver the first affirmative speech in a group with two other speakers and a judge.
Final Round - The winners of the preliminary debates will advance and give their first affirmative speech in front of the group and a panel of judges.
12:00pm - Round 2 - First Negative Speeches with open cross examination
Preliminary Round - Each team will elect a team member, that did not speak on the affirmative, to deliver the first negative speech in a group with two other speakers and a judge.
Final Round - The winners of the preliminary debates will advance and give their first negative speech in front of the group and a panel of judges.
1:15pm - Lunch - provided; cafeteria options nearby
1:45pm - Round 3 - Venn Debate - Three teams of 2 or 3 participants.
3:00pm - Final round - Venn Debate with three mixed three person teams. Mixed meaning that students will have to debate with people from other schools. Every school attending will have at least one representative in the final.
4:00pm - Leave for Bonfire
4:30pm-8pm - Bonfire at Dockweiler Beach - Food Provided; Awards and open discussion
The deliberations will focus on the first affirmative and first negative respectively. Each team will elect one of its team members to deliver the first affirmative speech in a group with two other speakers and a judge. A different speaker will be selected to give the first negative speech. The preliminary debates will involve groups of three. The winners of the preliminary debates will advance and give their first affirmative speech in front of the group and a panel of judges. If necessary the format will be modified to accommodate the number of speakers. Awards will be given to the top three speakers in each category.
Venn Debate Format
- There will be three teams per round.
- Each team will consist of one to three members.
- All speeches will be 4-6 minutes in duration. Set at tournament discretion.
- Teams will be assigned to be the A set, B set, or C set.
- A set will be the opening team – individual speakers will be designated as A1, A2, A3
- B set will be the second team – B1, B2, B3
- C set will be the third team – C1, C2, C3
- Students will speak in the following order:
- A1; followed by 90 second cross examinations by B2, then C3
- B1; followed by 90 second cross examinations by C2, then A3
- C1- followed by 90 second cross examinations by A1, then B3
- Moderator feedback - 1 minute
- A2; followed by 90 second cross examinations by B1, then C3
- B2; followed by 90 second cross examinations by C1, then A2
- C2; followed by 90 second cross examinations by A3, then B3
- Moderator feedback - 1 minute
- Two minutes of preparation time.
- B3- 3rd speaker; may take points of information after the first and before the last minute
- C3- 3rd speaker; may take points of information after the first and before the last minute
- A3- 3rd speaker; may take points of information after the first and before the last minute
Note – Speakers B3, A3 and C3 will conduct two cross examinations but will not be subject to
cross examinations after their speeches. These speakers are permitted, but not required to
accept Points of Information.
Teams should strive to present powerful arguments, to distinguish their research and arguments from that of their opponents, and to productively contribute to a civic dialogue on corporate ethics and responsibility that aspires to improve understanding, produce knowledge, and promote the ability of students to negotiate consensus on difficult policy, economic, and social questions.
Ideally every round will have 1-3 moderators. Teams will be evaluated by both the moderators and the teams themselves as described below.
The role of the moderator is to ensure the advancement of a quality discussion. While the moderator may remain silent during the course of the discussion, it is encouraged for moderators to interject during discussions if it adds to the value and quality of the discussion. It is the role of the moderator to actively address issues of unethical argumentation including lying, discrimination, or fabrication of claims and evidence.
During their discussions, moderators should consider the following items in descending order of importance:
- The primary question judges should consider is which team made the most valuable contribution to the dialogue.
- A secondary question is the quality of team research and argumentation. Students are not expected to be experts on the topic area, however quality research, reasoning, and consistent strategy should be evidenced in each student speech.
- A third question is the quality of the team’s presentations and communication skills. This includes both the quality of the team’s public speaking as well as the extent to which the teams dealt with challenges and questions in a polite and professional fashion.
- Finally, examine the debaters ranks and evaluations of the other teams in the debate. If you cannot effectively disagree with the debaters ranks and evaluations, then they should be used to establish presumption.
Discount new arguments presented in the final speeches:
Because the opposing team does not have an opportunity to respond it is particularly important that you discount new facts, evidence and explanations presented in the very last speech of the debate that could have been presented earlier in the debate. Debaters should not present new primary arguments for or against the topic in either of the last two speeches. Although they may respond to arguments presented by their opponents, debaters are asked in these last two speeches to assess the arguments that have been presented in the earlier speeches rather than presenting new facts, evidence and explanations that could have been presented earlier in the debate.
Interpreting the topic:
You should interpret the burden the topic places on the teams in a manner consistent with the topic statement. Debaters will sometimes attempt to interpret topics in a manner that “tilts” the playing field to their advantage. This approach should be disfavored. If a question of topic interpretation is not resolved by reference to the topic statement, you should adopt a “centrist” interpretation of the topic that allows both teams to engage the core, predictable question you believe raised by the topic and topic statement’s plain language.
Cross examination is an essential element of the debate format chosen for this weekend’s competition. It is also an element that requires debaters to cooperate in good faith with their opponents to some extent, which may be a complicated proposition in a competitive debate.
Cross examination can be an invaluable tool for moving debates “forward” by establishing undisputed facts, clarifying areas of agreement, isolating areas of dispute, and allowing rigorous examination of opposing arguments. Cross examinations may be far less productive, however, if debaters waste cross examination time so as to avoid having their arguments clarified and scrutinized by answering questions that haven’t been asked, filibustering, and otherwise failing to directly and succinctly answer questions to the extent possible. In such cases, debates may even become hostile as cross examiners may be forced to talk over their opponent to prevent their opponent from dominating the cross examination period.
For these reasons, when determining the winning team and assigning speaker points judges should favor debaters who respond to questions directly and succinctly to the extent possible and disfavor debaters who consistently fail to do so. “To the extent possible” is an essential qualifier to this requirement. Debaters should be allowed reasonable time to answer “open” questions or any other questions that cannot be answered in succinct fashion.
Use of Evidence:
When necessary to resolve an important point of contention, debaters are encouraged to introduce evidence. The introduction of evidence is not required and not all arguments require evidence to resolve. But judges should consider whether the introduction of evidence would have strengthened debaters' key arguments and/or materially assisted in resolving disputed key points when determining which team did the better debating.
If debaters choose to introduce evidence, they should be prepared to provide a hardcopy to their opponents that includes a complete citation (author, source, date, at minimum) and quotes supporting portions of the source (full paragraphs) such that their opponents might confirm whether the source supports the claim(s) for which it is being offered. Debaters introducing evidence are expected to be able to share this evidence with their opponents quickly and efficiently without materially delaying the debate round; i.e., debaters introducing evidence should take up hardcopies with them while speaking and be ready to hand this evidence to the other team upon request within seconds of finishing their speech.
Providing an electronic copy is disfavored absent advance consent of the opposing team. If a team wishes to provide an electronic copy for this purpose, they should be prepared to loan their opponents a device upon which to review the source for as long as their opponents require.
Judges should penalize the speaker points of debaters who fail to make their evidence available in a quick and efficient manner such that material opponent cross examination time is wasted and should consider voting against teams in particularly close rounds in which one team's failure to produce their evidence promptly results in material loss of the other's cross examination time to collect evidence and/or egregious instances of delaying rounds to organize evidence.
All debaters are expected to engage in responsible advocacy. This includes taking responsibility for researching and confirming the claims made in debates. Students that introduce false information--even if by accident and in limited fashion--should be marked down as individual speakers depending on the nature and frequency with which false information has been introduced and this should play a role in assessing which team did the better debating. Any student fabricating evidence or presenting evidence in a manner that distorts its meaning to their advantage should be assigned a loss for the round. Complaints should be lodged after the round with the tournament director and penalties may be assigned retroactively in cases of clear fabrication and/or distortion of evidence.
While a judge may not consciously privilege the arguments or positions of particular groups of people over others, studies have shown that decisions nevertheless may be influenced by societal biases or prejudices in regards to, inter alia, race and gender. Daniel Kelley and Erica Roedder (2008) have found implicit bias in a number of settings analogous to debate including job hiring practices, grading, and sports officiating. Deborah Tannen (1998) has shown that in the field of competitive argument men are sometimes presumed to be more reasonable and less emotional and that these presumptions may lead a judge to implicitly give more weight to a man’s argument than a woman’s. We therefore ask each judge to consider their implicit biases in evaluating participants’ arguments and performance before making their decision.