Jan 312002

The debate team will have plenty to argue about if their $20,000 travel budget is suspended for next year.

And that’s a good thing.

The orange flyers posted around campus have urged students to write in and complain about the loss of the travel budget, which debaters say will destroy the extracurricular competitiveness of the program.

This will definitely force the forensics team to make some changes if they still plan on competing.

We realize how important the debate team is for CSU; they are ranked No. 11 in the nation, and some students decide to attend CSU just because of the program.

Debate is truly an intellectual art in which anyone, regardless of background or education, can participate.

We feel that the program should continue, and the team should be able to travel and compete as they have in the past.

However, it’s for the best that their money will have to come from new sources.

The issue at hand isn’t whether or not the speech team should have funding for travel expenses, but where this money should come from. The money has previously come from the Department of Speech Communication, which is in turn funded by the tuition that each student pays CSU.

Other traveling groups, like club sports teams, must find private donations, grants or other sources of funding – they can’t rely on a departmental budget funded by students.

Departmental budgets pay for classroom expenses.

The debate team shouldn’t lose hope just because they are losing a generous subsidy; they should seek financial assistance in other areas. The university, through travel grants, has money available for student organizations, and there is always the tedious but effective process of fundraising that many clubs and organizations must go through to travel with their groups.

The debaters seem to have had it easier than most. That’s unfair, to some degree.

That doesn’t mean that the university, and particularly the speech department, should not assist in securing new revenue. Without assistance, finding enough money to maintain the program might not be possible.

A travel budget of $20,000 is big money – maybe too big considering only 16 students benefit.

Another concern for the future of the debate team is their leadership. Cara Buckley-Ott, the director of forensics, is leaving after this semester. This will be the fourth director in four years; that’s a problem.

Without strong leadership, it will be interesting to see how the debate team holds together. With the loss of funding and the loss of a director, their future doesn’t look bright.

We wish them the best.

But they should foot the bill.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

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