Scholars of Speech Winter Rumble

2023 — Irvine, CA/US

Policies, Protests, and Appeals

COVID-19 Procedures:

1) Scholars of Speech understands the inconsistency of health policies when traveling. As an organization, we will monitor and adopt rules set forth by local regulators (including the host school). We are dedicated to hosting a safe and meaningful in-person experience that ensures the well-being of our members, the equitable and reliable distribution of accurate scientific information, and ethical modes of gathering. To do this, S.O.S. suggests all members consult the CDC travel and group event planning guide prior to the tournament.

2) We encourage members to take precautions as per their comfort level; test before traveling; we also recommend that teams and groups congregate, eat, and hydrate outdoors whenever possible. We are building an experience in which we trust everyone to remain respectful towards the safety-related choices of fellow competitors. Judges are not to use masks as justifications towards any final ranking decisions and will not ask students to remove/wear them.


1) It is the student's obligation to go to their rooms and inform their judges before the rounds start that they are double/triple-entered and will leave after each speech to make it to their rounds on time.

2) If judges see speakers on their ballots missing (and those speakers have not come to inform them they are coming later), the judges should wait 10 minutes after every 'present' speaker in their rounds have spoken before concluding that the speaker is a true no-show.

3) If a student fails to inform a judge they are coming and misses their round, they will receive last place in the round and low speaker points--making it possible, but very difficult, to advance.

4) If a judge calls a round prematurely (they do not wait at least 10 minutes after the last presenting speaker performs before submitting their ballot), and there are over 15 minutes left in the round as scheduled, the judge will be called back to the room and will listen to the speaker they missed ASAP.

If this premature call is only brought to the tabulation room's attention when there are under 15 minutes remaining before the round's scheduled ending, the speaker's score in the missed rounds will be the average of their scores in their other two rounds.

5) If a 'missed round' complaint is brought to the tabulation room's attention after elimination rounds have already been posted, there is no remedy. The speaker missed their window.

Harassment and Discrimination Policy:

Scholars of Speech is committed to providing its participants, judges, coaches, and staff the opportunity to pursue excellence in their endeavors. This opportunity can exist only when each member of our community is assured an atmosphere of mutual respect. Scholars of Speech prohibits all forms of harassment and discrimination. Accordingly, all forms of harassment and discrimination, whether written or oral, based on race, color, religion, sex, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, marital status, citizenship, national origin, age, disability, genetic information, or any other characteristic protected by any applicable federal, state, or local law are prohibited, whether committed by participants, judges, coaches, or observers. Individuals who are found to have violated this policy will be subject to the full range of sanctions, up to and including removal from the tournament premises.


1) Protests must be lodged as soon as the offending behavior (anything from a student in SPAR using the internet during preparation time to violations of the Harassment and Discrimination policy) is observed. Protests that are lodged in an untimely manner (for example, arguing that a competitor violated a norm in round 1 only after finals postings are released) may be dismissed as such.

2) Anonymous protests will not be considered. Protests may be lodged by a coach or a competitor, in-person and online (by emailing Protests should specify 1) the name/affiliation of the protesting party, 2) identifying information about the allegedly offending party, 3) the time/location of the allegedly offensive event, 4) a specific narrative of the allegedly offensive event, and 5) the proposed remedy for the allegedly offensive event.

3) If someone is protested, they/their coach will be informed and have an opportunity to respond verbally and in writing before a decision is made. The decision will be made by the tournament director. It may include anything from a dismissal, a warning, and a rank change all the way to removal from the competition.

4) If either party is not satisfied with the tournament director's decision, they must lodge an appeal to the tournament's ombudsperson in writing immediately. The second party will have a chance to review the appeal and respond to it. The ombudsperson wlil consider the appeal, the response, and the tournament director's account. The ombudsperson may elect to consult with the Scholars of Speech Board of Directors before making their decision. The ombudsperson's decision is final.

5) All violations that result in something more severe than a warning will be documented on the Scholars of Speech website and serve as precedent for future decisions.

6) Scholars of Speech frowns on frivolous protests not based on a good faith belief that rules and ethical norms are being violated. Frivolous protests may result in anything from a warning all the way to removal from the competition.