Mid America Cup

2022 — West Des Moines, IA/US

Behavior Expectations and Tournament Support

1) Judges and coaches should respect appropriate boundaries and hold the students' education and positive debate experience as their highest goal.

A. Regardless of how close you are in age to students, it is absolutely impermissible for a judge to behave toward any student in other than a professional, educational role. Prohibited behaviors include but are not limited to: sharing personal information; asking for personal information; commenting on any student's appearance; discussing "adult" subjects such as chemical use or social interactions outside of debate; or attempting to establish one-on-one contact with the student outside the context of the round. If any student feels uncomfortable with a judge's behavior, they should contact a trusted adult. Students, parents, or coaches are all free to contact the Tournament Support staffer (see below). We will take your concerns seriously. 

B. Any harassment or inappropriate behavior will be reported to the coach of the team represented by the judge, and, where appropriate given the severity of the behavior, to relevant civil authorities. 

In the event that the tournament Ombudsperson concludes that a competitor, coach, or judge has violated our behavior expectations, they will be removed from the tournament and their home school will be contacted with details of the incident(s).

C. Judges will refrain from commenting on aspects of students' performances not related to argumentation in the round.

• Do not comment on a student's appearance or mode of dress. Do not consider a student's mode of dress in your decisions. 

• Be very thoughtful if you feel moved to judge or make comments on a student's demeanor or tone. Be aware of common double-standards regarding argumentative aggression for womxn debaters, debaters of color, and gender non-conforming debaters. Be conscious of these common biases and strive to avoid imposing them on students. If you feel moved to comment on a debater's level of aggression or tone of voice, stop and reflect on the degree to which those impulses are shaped by bias. Your comments matter. Don't detract from students' experiences.

D. Where students or judges have indicated preferred pronouns, debaters and judges should respect those preferences. We are not looking to police every utterance of every person at the tournament, but students should report deliberate mis-gendering as a form of harassment to a trusted adult, and, if appropriate, to the Tournament Support staff. The MAC is committed to improving our support for trans and gender non-conforming members of our community. 


2) We encourage all students, judges, and coaches to approach debate with a healthy attitude, which will make our tournament, and debate in general, more fun and fulfilling for everyone.

A) Debate is a competition, but "winning" is not its core goal. Rather, the competitive aspect of debate should push us all to improve on the skills and virtues embodied by the activity: research, writing, speaking, critical thinking, advocacy, confidence, and empathy, among others. As long as you are learning and improving your skills, you are succeeding in debate. 

B) Debate is a sport. It should be fun. If you find that the competitive aspect of debate is detracting from your enjoyment of the activity, talk to a trusted adult about your experiences. Like every sport, debate pushes us to improve with a goal of becoming better competitors. But, also like every sport, a positive attitude involves acknowledging that you will lose much of the time; it is OK to lose; and, most importantly, no one's value as a person is connected to how well they do competitively.

C) Your health should come first. Make sure you hydrate! Your body will be thirsty before you feel thirsty. Keep a bottle of water around. The same is true for nutrition! Public speaking is tiring and your body needs fuel. Starving your body of fuel is not "hard core" -- it is unhealthy. If you are having trouble maintaining healthy habits during the tournament or debate season in general, speak to a trusted adult. 



Your tournament host, Dave McGinnis, will serve as the primary Ombudsperson for the Mid-America Cup. If you have a time-sensitive concern, you should text Dave right away. It is difficult to keep up with email during a tournament so sending an email doesn't guarantee a quick response. 

Dave's Cell: 515-710-6225 (If you want to get me on the phone, best to send a text and I'll return with a call.)

Dave's Email: mcgin029@gmail.com