Chennai Worlds 2014: #Adjstrike and Analysis

Datum: Dec 31st, 2013
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Category: [:de]International[:en]international[:]

Logo WUDC Chennai 2014Criticism has mounted about several aspects of the organisation of the World Universities Debating Championship (WUDC) 2014. After problems arose regarding the accommodation of the participants during the first days of the tournament, the failure to fulfil payment of travel subsidies to independent adjudicators threatened to derail the tournament on the last day of 2013.

Adjudication Strike

In order to insure quality adjudication at worlds, it has become common that organizers of the competition offer travel subsidies for independent adjudicators. This year, several judges were selected as independent adjudicators and offered subsidies to cover the costs of their travel to Chennai. By the beginning of worlds, however, the money has not been transferred. The issue was brought up during pre-council, which was held during dinner on the 28th of December, and organisers in attendance promised that the money would be paid out no later than the 30th.
Fearing the organizers would not stick to their promise, a “Coalition of Independent Adjudicators” was formed. This representitives of the coalition, Shengwu Li und Stephanie Bell, announced before round six that it would boycott the preliminary rounds on the 31st if the subsidies were not paid by 7 a.m. Furthermore the affected participants demanded to get the subsidies in Euros, as they were promised by before the tournament. The other participants reacted positively and applauded the announcement of the coalition.
The news spread like wildfire on Twitter and the FB-Group “WUDC Chat”, which led to speculations both about the severity of the strike – there were rumours about the participation of unaffected judges as well as the tab-team – and the chosen method of protest.
Marcus Ewald, a member of the external OrgCom, reported to the participants of the German Caucus that a number of motions prohibiting the Indian organizers from participating in future worlds were being considered for discussion at WUDC Council.
Members of the OrgCom did their best to fulfil the wishes of the coalition. Matthias Carcasona twittered the result: “money has arrived in big bags. rupees, though. #wudc #adjudicatorstrike“ The affected judges were offered Rupees, but participants were not satisfied due to the amount being about 15 percent lower than the amount promised.

The Achte Minute was unable to receive confirmed information about how the tournament would proceed even late at night on the 30th. Members of the CA-Team and the OrgCom asked the independent adjudicators to bring identification documents and to be on time for transfer, but it was not yet clear that payment would be guaranteed.

Before putting up the draw for round seven, the Coalition announced that the OrgCom had agreed to pay the subsidies during lunch, between round seven and eight, and they would not boycott round seven. Before round 8, the spokespersons of the coalition announced that the subsidies would be handed out after round eight and that the ballets of the both spokespersons would be held back until payment had been made. They kept their promise, so round nine took place regularly.

Besides the FB-group mentioned above, several debating blogs wrote on the issue. Visit the pages below if you would like to find out more.

St. Andrews Union Debating Blog
“Badger & Squirrel” Blog

“Drama” at WUDC 2014

The threat of an independent adjudicators’ strike, however, has not been not the only point of criticism of this years world championships. Missing WiFi, no food for participants with special needs, and delays on both the 29th and 30th were among the issues raised. Some of these problems can be explained by taking a deeper look into the internal structures of the organisation. The Achte Minute was informed about the fact that, a few months before the WUDC, the leaders of the REC, which was supposed to financially support and advise the organization, began to distrust the students’ organisation skills and took large sections of the organization themselves, including taking control of important decisions. This occured with intention of improving the chances that Worlds would be a success. However, it also led to certain problems, because the people who were now responsible for organising WUDC didn’t have knowledge of the specific problems related to organising a debating tournament and couldn’t address specific problems. For the OrgCom and Volunteers, these circumstances made it difficult to effectively host a satisfying competition for participants. Management of the event’s Twitter account is indicative of the issues faced: There are two Twitter accounts, one managed by an external communications agency and one by the WUDC’s Communications office, which used two different hashtags. According to information that has reached the Achte Minute, the delivery of the subsidies was only possible because of a crisis meeting between members of the OrgCom and the College, due to a communication problem.

A speech of the Head of Events Management of the college, Philip Praveen I., before round nine on the 31rs of December showed, that the critics got to the REC as well: He apologized officially for all the problems and thanked all the volunteers and especially the external OrgCom.

It is now up to the WUDC Council to find controlling mechanisms, so similar problems do not arise at future Worlds.

All motions of the preliminary rounds:

Motion R1: This House believes that the United States of America should fund moderate Madrassas (schools of Islamic study) troughout the Islamic world.
Motion R2: This House would allow first-time offenders to, with the consent of their victims, pay compensation to them in place of a prison sentence.
Motion R3: This House regrets the rise of a ‘hookup culture’.
Motion R4: This House believes that developing countries should ban members of political dynasties from standing for elected office
Motion R5: This House believes that the Trans-Pacific Partnership is in the interests of the small and medium-sized negotiating countries.
Motion R6: This House would make the receipt of welfare payments conditional on the use of long-term, but reversable, contraception.
Motion R7: This House believes that government agencies that regulate drugs should only test whether a drug is safe, not whether it is effective, before approving it for public use.
Motion R8: This House belives that NATO should unconditionally offer membership to the states of the former Soviet Union, excluding Russia.
Motion R9: This House regrets the commodification of indigenous cultures.

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4 Kommentare zu “Chennai Worlds 2014: #Adjstrike and Analysis”

  1. Alex L. (DD) says:

    I’d really like to hear convincing arguments for prop on VR8 apart from some kind of showing off to Russia who’s the cool cat in town…

    Apart from that: Go, Magdeburg, go! 🙂

  2. Christian (Mainz) says:

    @Alex: Wie wäre es mit einer Perspektive in Richtung Freiheit für manche dieser Länder? Und wenn nicht für die Regierungschefs, dann immerhin für die Völker. Man sieht ja, dass sich in der Ukraine auch etwas tut und zumindest eine Perspektive zu haben (in dem Fall die EU), kann ja motivierend für die Menschen sein. Ob das den Regierungschefs dann schmecken würde, ist natürlich eine andere Frage 😉

  3. Alex L. (DD) says:

    @Christian: Es geht aber um die NATO – woher soll da also eine Perspektive für Freiheit entstehen, zumal die Mitgliedschaft ohne Bedingungen erteilt wird? Aber selbst wenn ein Bürger in Tadschikistan glauben sollte, dass die NATO ihm per persönliche Freiheiten verschaffen könnte, sind die realpolitischen Folgen ein neuer kalter Krieg, da sich Russland plötzlich von einem Bündnis umgeben sieht, zudem es explizit nicht eingeladen wurde und somit davon ausgehen muss, dass hier ein neuer Ost-West-Konflikt geschürt werden soll…

    Ich gehe davon aus, dass es noch irgendwo ein ganz tolles Argument für so eine Aktion gibt, da ich mir nicht vorstellen kann, dass das Thema sonst ausgewählt worden wäre, aber die Freiheits-Perspektive sehe ich nicht als besonders stark an…

  4. Sven DC says:

    Alex es gibt yumindest den estland letland lithauen präzedenzfall… ansonsten sehe ich es genauso als sehr opp lastig an. Ich glaube nicht das du da irgendwas übersehen hast.

    lg sven

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