"Speak a New World!" the Cross Examination Debate Association

Article excerpt

Established in 1971, the Cross Examination Debate Association is the largest intercollegiate debate organization in America. Since its inception, CEDA has stressed a balance between analysis, evidence, and delivery in debate. After more than a quarter of a century, though, CEDA represents so much more.

The hallmark of CEDA is its inclusiveness. There is room for all types of programs: large and small, regional and national, public and private, new and established. The association acknowledges competitive achievement on a number of levels. The year-long CEDA National Sweepstakes system rewards a squad's cumulative success over the debate season, treating novice and junior varsity accomplishments with the same value as varsity. The sweepstakes system also recognizes success on each of the several regional circuits across the nation, and almost every region supports strong opportunities for beginning debaters. The National Tournament, open to all competitive levels, crowns a champion two-person team at the end of each season. The organization also recognizes the top two-year programs, and the Newcomers Award highlights the best program new to CEDA tournament competition.

CEDA represents more than competitive success, though. Each year, the association commends forty debaters for their accomplishments beyond debate rounds. In addition to tournament performance, members of the CEDA All American team are chosen on the basis of leadership ability, commitment to their squads, school and community service, and academic achievement. The Don Brownlee Award emphasizes each year the achievements of an outstanding faculty coach's contributions to the pedagogical, scholarly, and service contributions to the activity.

CEDA has made notable progress in dealing with minority participation in intercollegiate debate. Started in 1990, the Commission on Women and Minorities in Debate continues to collect demographic data and to sponsor research, convention panels, and tournament fora on women and minority participation in our activity. CEDA is the first and only intercollegiate debate association to develop and adopt an official policy defining and providing for adjudication of instances of sexual harassment that might occur at tournaments. And the National Outreach Program, designed to bring high schools and colleges together for beneficial cooperation, matches CEDA programs with high school programs in the same location. CEDA programs help the high schools create a larger, more diverse debate community.

While CEDA is very proud of its accomplishments over the past quarter of a century, we still look forward as we move into a new century. …