The Towson University Debate Team has a storied history of national success using an emphasis on racial and social justice. This was launched by a national championship in 2008 that helped to propel a historically elite, white activity into ongoing and rigorous conversations about the legacy of white supremacy in society. The most recent generation of Towson debaters have committed themselves to extending this legacy but have faced life altering challenges from the university itself.
Read Towson University’s response: http://tunews.towson.edu/2013/10/24/a-statement-from-towson-university-regarding-the-forensics-program/
The forensics program uses a specific set of criteria to determine the debate team’s competition schedule, which is as follows:
- Competitiveness: Selecting venues and competition most advantageous to the team’s ability and likelihood of success.
Likelihood of success? Shouldn’t our students be challenged and encouraged to take one competitions that not only foster the skills they’ve possessed that have made them successful, but also test those attributes in hopes of pushing them to new level of competitiveness? I guess trophy counts and “sweepstakes” are more important.
- Prestige: Choosing regional or national tournaments in line with the team’s ability and experience.
Harvard University isn’t prestigious? Haven’t these students won countless competitions?
- Schedule and Academic Load: Recognizing that these team members are students first, we must ensure their positive academic and personal development while thinking strategically about travel and classroom schedules.
Granted, but based on the schedule the university posted in the press release (see above link) and the university’s academic schedule (click here) one competition was attended on the eve of midterm exams. The Harvard competition will not conflict with any important academic events or exam periods.
- Debate Style and Content: Selecting tournaments that are consistent with the “K-performative” style of the current team members.
What? These students are nationally ranked and have won several awards. Adding a descriptive style does not deter the potential success these students can achieve when given a chance.
- Budget: Making financial decisions that support competitiveness and success while retaining some flexibility for contingencies or future invitations to competition.
Successful Kickstarter campaign and raised the funds to cover ALL costs for the tournament.
I just don’t get it. TU should set aside the embarrassment of being called out for your shading tactics of drowning the cries of students of color (and allowing the wife of the coach they fired for abuse stay Director of the program). TU gave me a criteria and I broke down why your decision and reasoning is still fallacious. And to think, I should believe an institution that has allowed a white supremacist student organization to be sponsored by student fees versus a small, driven, accomplished group of students of color? I’ll take my chances with the latter. It’s sad that these bright young people will miss this tournament, but at least now the public is aware of what is going on at Towson University.
- Member of All-White Student Union Makes Stunningly Outrageous Comment About Slavery During CPAC Session (theblaze.com)
- White Student Union Taking Up ‘Weekly Night Patrols’ to Guard Against ‘Black on White Crime’ at Md. University (theblaze.com)
- Matthew Heimbach Embracing Hard-Core White Supremacy (adl.org)
- Towson University Will Not Detail Hazing Allegations Against Cheerleading Team (baltimore.cbslocal.com)
- Visit Towson University this fall (friendsbaltcollegecounseling.wordpress.com)