Policy Debate Team Season Canceled Following Policy Violation

Aleida Fernandez

On Monday, March 16, Provost and Dean of Faculty Pat Spencer notified students, staff and faculty via email that the Whitman College Policy Debate Team’s 2014-2015 season would be canceled. The cancellation follows a policy violation regarding alcohol consumption while on tournament travel. Spencer was made aware of the violation the previous week by Dean of Students Chuck Cleveland and Associate Dean Juli Dunn.

“Student safety is our utmost priority. In fact, members of the College’s debate teams and its coaches agree to adhere to strict standards of conduct. Violations of College or team policies can lead to sanctions,” wrote Spencer in his email.

The cancellation of this year’s season is unrelated to last year’s Title IX violation but does follow last year’s tumultuous season which included the resignation of longtime coach, Jim Hanson. In his email, Spencer promised that his office would work together with members of the College community to decide upon the future of the debate teams. However, there is no time frame for when an ultimate decision would be made.

“Discussions are ongoing and there is no timeline for decision-making,” said Spencer in an email interview.

If you have questions or concerns regarding the College’s Debate programs, please connect with Pat Spencer directly at [email protected] or via phone at (509) 527-5397. Please note that this action does not impact the Parliamentary Debate team or its competitions at present.