Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Vol. CLIV, Issue 9
Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Policy Debate Team Season Canceled Following Policy Violation

Aleida Fernandez March 22, 2015
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.

Debate Team Moves Forward Under New Director

Shelly Le September 12, 2013
As the school year begins and Whitman’s nationally renowned debate team prepares for their upcoming fall tournaments, all signs point toward another another successful year for the debate team. However, recent decisions regarding the team have left some debaters unhappy.

Debate Team Moves Forward Amidst Disagreements About Supervision and Policy

Shelly Le May 20, 2013
Following last spring's Title IX investigation, a number of concerns have been raised regarding the relationship between students and assistant coaches and the administration's expectation and treatment of these coaches. Assistant coaches are almost always recent graduates, often just a year removed from being Whitman students. Despite their closeness in age to members of the team, they are hired as members of Whitman’s instructional staff and are expected to conform to the same codes of conduct as other staff members. In moving forward, members of the debate team hope there can be more positive and open communication from the administration, starting with the hiring of a new Director of Forensics. Steps to begin this process had been underway with the creation of an advisory group consisting of alumni, current debaters and a faculty member to provide input for a new director.

Debate Title IX Investigation Prompted By Sexual Assault

Shelly Le May 20, 2013
In spring 2012, Whitman administration carried out a Title IX investigation into a report of a sexual assault by a former assistant debate coach. Individuals who were called into questioning with the investigation board, however, have been extremely unhappy with the way the investigation was handled. None of the individuals who were called in to speak received a follow-up from the board or a final report nor were they told when the investigation was concluded. Given these concerns, 135 debaters, alumni and Whitman community members have signed a petition on change.org asking the college to conduct an independent investigation into its Title IX investigation.

As Longtime Coach Steps Down, Debate Culture Under Scrutiny

Shelly Le May 20, 2013
In the last week of April of this year, Director of Forensics Jim Hanson announced he would be stepping down from his role coaching Whitman’s debate team in order to take a position as chair of the newly created rhetoric studies department. Hanson has been coaching debate at Whitman for two decades and has been widely credited with getting the team to its position of national prominence today. In the weeks following his announcement of resignation, debate alumni, students and faculty have raised questions about Hanson’s decision and the administration’s handling of the change, given that a new coach had not yet been selected for Whitman’s nationally ranked team when Hanson stepped down. Many alumni and debaters have suggested that Hanson’s change of position was not a voluntary choice, a charge which he has declined to comment on. While the college is legally prohibited from discussing the reasons why Hanson stepped down due to laws about employee confidentiality, Hanson’s decision came in the wake of greater administrative focus on the debate team. A three-week investigation by The Pioneer has confirmed that the team was the focus of a Title IX investigation during the spring of 2012, and that other administrative concerns were raised about sexual harassment and treatment of women on the team, as well as about the supervision of assistant debate coaches, most of whom are recently graduated students. The college’s Title IX investigation into the team has been the focus of discussions about Hanson stepping down, but the full story involves earlier concerns raised about team culture, including the treatment of women on the team.
Director of Forensics Jim Hanson Steps Down

Director of Forensics Jim Hanson Steps Down

Rachel Alexander May 2, 2013
Director of Forensics Jim Hanson is stepping down from his position. Debate team members and debate alumni are confused about the decision and looking to the administration for more answers.

Rhetoric and Media studies split allows expansion of interdisciplinary courses, greater student specialization

Shelly Le February 2, 2012
On Wednesday, Jan. 25, Whitman faculty voted to split the Rhetoric and Media Studies Department into two new departments. This change is effective immediately.
Illustration by Bailey

Whitman debate team moves toward gender equality, women debaters face challenges

Rose Woodbury November 17, 2011
In the debate community, it's not uncommon to hear derogatory terms used to describe female debaters who come across as overly aggressive. The unequal gender ratio within the activity seems to stem partly from its history as an activity practiced largely by white males and also from general sexism in society.
Credit: Gold

Tension over debate tournament eases

Lea Negrin November 11, 2009
More posters and lower enrollment this year limit tournament's disruptive impact on Whitman campus.
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