This is code of conduct is established for students participating in the University of Washington Debate Union or wishing to participant in the Debate Union.

The code applies to students even if they have not read the Code of Conduct or engaged in any Debate Union activities.

Violations of the code may result in restrictions on a student’s engagement or involvement in Debate Union activities. Restrictions are at the discretion of the Director of the University of Washington Debate Union.


General Conduct

Respect others.

Keep commitments.

Understand your role as a participant.

Conduct of Debate Competitors

Adhere to a high standard of competitive ethics.

Maintain a courteous and sporting attitude.

Respect the coaching staff and team members.

Maintain a strong work ethic.

Maintain high academic performance.

Dress appropriately for competition.

Comply with all federal, state and local laws and host policies

Understand the overarching UW Conduct Code.



Respect Others

Debate involves the engagement of ideas between parties that do not agree. In discussions over issues, participants must remain civil and polite in their engagement with others. Treating other persons with personal disrespect is not acceptable. As a member of the Debate Union, you are expected to exhibit high standards of civil behavior in contentious discussions.

Keep Commitments

Debate Union participants are expected to take on a variety of responsibilities within the program. Participants should respect the time and obligations of others by being prepared to be clear in how and when they can participate, being punctual to meetings, avoiding continuous rescheduling and completing assigned responsibilities. Participants should realize that they will be asked to take adjust their schedules to engage in Debate Union activities.

Understand Your Role as a Participant

Debate Union participants continuously represent the Debate Union in their conduct and attitudes. When engaged in Debate Union activities, participants should seek to exhibit the ideals of intelligent, critical and logical conversation. Debate Union participants should remember that they are participants in the Debate Union and do not speak on its behalf unless specifically authorized to do so by the Director.


Adhere to a High Standard of Competitive Ethics

Competitors are expected to maintain the highest ethical standards, including those on academic integrity. A high standard of competitive ethics includes, but is not limited to:

  • A commitment to full, open, and unconditional disclosure of first affirmative constructive arguments after their first deployment by a Debate Union member.
  • An obligation to avoid any activity that undermines the competitive and academic integrity of the activity.
  • An absolute and specific prohibition on the following activities:
    1. Intentionally misrepresenting which parts of a piece of evidence have been read in a debate, also known as “card clipping” or “cross-reading.”
    2. Altering or creating material to be used as evidence by changing the words or substance to augment its effectiveness, also known as “fabricating evidence.”
    3. Representing evidence in way that directly contradicts the intent of the evidence, also known as “reading evidence out of context.”
    4. Aiding an opposing debate competitor in that will help that opposing team in competition against a University of Washington team, outside those obligations dictated by competitive fairness.

Maintain a Courteous and Sporting Attitude

Debate is an emotional activity and it is essential that competitors learn to conduct themselves in a courteous fashion in all contexts. Competitors are expected to maintain a courteous attitude and address toward all competitors, judges, and other participants in debate competition. Rude conduct, including belittling or insulting comments, gestures, or negative attitudes, is not acceptable.

Moreover, competitors are expected to maintain a sporting attitude. A sporting attitude is defined as: (1) a positive attitude toward the process of competition, not just winning, (2) a willingness to maintain positive attitude and effort throughout competition without becoming cynical about or in competition, (3) a commitment to fair competition and abhorrence of attempts to gain unfair advantages, (4) an understanding that opponents are legitimately engaged in attempts to win the competition and their attempts to win are not insulting or personal, (5) the ability and willingness to positively recognize the achievements of opponents, even when those achievements come at the expense of the competitor, and (6) the ability to treat defeated opponents with courtesy and respect.

Respect Coaching Staff & Team Members

Competitors are expected to treat their coaches and fellow team members with a high level of respect and courtesy.

The Director of the Debate Union and the designated graduate student, hired or volunteer coaches are to be addressed with courtesy and respect at all times. Competitors should understand that they are expected to comply with specific directives given by the coaches regarding any Debate Union business or competition.

Competitors should treat the fellow team members with respect. This includes engaging in courteous address toward team members and avoiding insulting or denigrating fellow team members either directly or to others. Discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity, sex, religion, sexual orientation or gender is prohibited. Harassing comments, sexual or otherwise, are also not acceptable.

Respecting coaches and team members includes understanding that work of Debate Union competitors should not be shared with high school programs or other colleges universities unless specifically otherwise noted.

Problems or disagreements between team members that impact Debate Union activities should be brought to the attention of the Director.

Maintain a Strong Work Ethic

Competitors are expected to take and complete a variety of tasks for the Debate Union. The Director and coaches will set work levels appropriate for each competitor. Students who refuse to take on tasks or do not complete their tasks are unfairly burdening their teammates and coaches.

Maintain High Academic Performance

Debate Union members are expected to maintain high standards of academic performance in their classes. Debate Union activities should never be used as explanation for poor academic performance. Debate Union members should seek the advice of the Director if they are having difficulty balancing their debate and academic performances.

All competitors are expected to provide an official report or a copy of an official report of their grades to the Director twice per year.

The following are the standards of academic performance for the Debate Union competition:

  • Students are expected to maintain a cumulative 3.0 or higher grade point average (GPA) at all times and 3.0 of higher GPA in each quarter.
  • Students that do not meeting the 3.0 GPA standard may be given an ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE WARNING, placed on PROBATION, SUSPENDED from competition.
    1. An ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE WARNING indicates that competitor’s academic performance has fallen below the Debate Union’s standards.
      1. Circumstances that trigger an ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE WARNING include (but are not limited to):
        1. A cumulative GPA above 3.0 but a lower than 3.0 performance in the most recent quarter.
        2. A grade lower than 2.0 in any completed class.
        3. A failure to complete 12 credits in the most recent quarter.
        4. A contact from a faculty member indicating a student has subpar performance in a class.
        5. Failure to provide a report of the competitor academic performance.
      2. A competitor will be given an ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE WARNING in person and via email or letter.
  • An ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE WARNING requires the competitor to meet with the Director to discuss a plan for academic improvement.
  1. An ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE WARNING is not a status of the competitor but a notification of concern from the Director.
  1. PROBATION indicates that a competitors’ academic performance has fallen below the Debate Union’s standards.
    1. Circumstances that may place a competitor on PROBATION include (but are not limited to):
      1. A lower than 2.5 GPA in the most recent quarter.
      2. A cumulative GPA below 3.0.
      3. A failure to complete 6 credits in the previous quarter.
      4. A failure to complete 36 credits in the previous academic year.
      5. A non-passing grade in the previous quarter.
    2. A competitor will be notified of their PROBATION status in person and via either email or letter.
  • PROBATION will require to the student to: (1) meeting with the Director on the competitor’s academic performance, (2) establish and explain a plan for academic improvement, (3) provide regular updates on the competitor’s academic performance. PROBATION may include limitations to a student’s competitive schedule.
  1. A competitor will be removed from PROBATION either following the resolution of the circumstance or by meeting standards set out by the Director.
  1. SUSPENSION indicates that a competitor’s academic performance has fallen below the Debate Union’s standards in significant or consistent fashion.
    1. Circumstances that may place a competitor on SUSPENSION include (but are not limited to):
      1. A lower than 2.0 performance in the most recent quarter.
      2. A lower than 2.0 cumulative GPA.
      3. Placement on Academic Probation by the university or college.
      4. Two or more consecutive quarters on Debate Union probation.
      5. A non-passing grade in the previous quarter.
      6. Failure to maintain full-time status in two or more consecutive quarters.
      7. Failure to comply with requirements of PROBATION or SUSPENSION.
    2. A competitor will be notified of their SUSPENTION status in person and via either email or letter.
  • SUSPENSION involves all of the requirements of PROBATION but also indicates a student may not compete in intercollegiate debate events until the SUSPENSION is lifted.
  1. A competitor will be removed from SUSPENSION either following the resolution of the circumstance or by meeting standards set out by the Director.

Dress Appropriately for Competition

The appearance of our competitors influences the way judges, opponents, administrators and donors perceive the team. Competitors should dress is a manner that exudes respect for the activity and people with it. As it long it complies with the below standards, competitors are welcome to dress is whatever style they deem appropriate regardless of societal gender norms. Competitors are also expected to maintain personal hygiene. The following are the standards of dress:

  • Avoid distracting clothing. This includes clothing with messages that are highly likely to considered offensive or distracting to the public and clothes that are overly revealing or are appropriate for a nightclub. Do not wear clothes that require constant adjustment or clothes the significantly reduce mobility (overly tight clothes, flimsy sandals, very high heeled shoes).
  • Avoid being overly under-dress or over-dressed. Do not wear overly worn or mismatched clothes that are not appropriate for a public activity. Examples: torn clothing, significant stained or damaged clothing, clothes that are revealing. Evening wear or business suits should not be worn for competition (unless otherwise noted).
  • Specific competition directives
    1. Elimination rounds: Competitors involved in elimination debates a tournament should wear a “casual” level of dress and should avoid T-shirts or shorts.
    2. CEDA or ADA National Tournaments:
      1. Preliminary rounds: “Dressy casual” level of dress with no shorts or T-shirts. Shoes required and flip-flops prohibited.
      2. Elimination rounds: “Business casual” level of dress.
    3. National Debate Tournament
      1. NDT District Qualifier: “Dressy casual” level of dress, as above.
      2. NDT Tournament Competitors: “Business casual” to “Business informal”—ties highly suggested with button-downs, jackets suggested.
  • NDT Tournament Observers: “Dressy casual” as above.
  • Note on attire from non-Western culture

Competitors are welcome to wear clothing from outside contemporary Western culture’s tradition of attire. Competitors doing so should still abide by the rules regarding distraction, should ensure they are not engaged in cultural appropriation and should attempt to match the formality level of their attire to the occasion.

Comply with All Federal, State and Local Laws and Host Policies

Competitors are expected to comply with all applicable laws and rules. Failure to comply may result in consequences for competitors, regardless if the violations occurred on a university trip.


Understand the overarching UW Conduct Code

Students should understand and comply with Chapter 478-120 WAC STUDENT CONDUCT CODE FOR THE UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON, available at