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Process for Selecting a CX Debate Resolution

Most people in the debate community are unaware of how resolutions are selected. The process that results in a national CX debate resolution is actually very meticulous and democratic.

The National Federation of High School Associations hosts the annual Debate Topic Selection Committee Meeting. The purpose of this meeting is to provide the debate community in the United States with five potential topics. This meeting currently occurs at the beginning of August and its site rotates around the country. Several groups of people attend this meeting. Any debate coach or student may attend the meeting and participate in the process. In the final vote, each State has one official voting delegate. UIL represents Texas as a presenter and as the voting delegate.

Potential topics for the following year are generated at this year's meeting. Anyone attending the meeting can offer a potential topic. The entire group votes for topics that will make good resolutions. The top twelve topics are then assigned to individuals to write study reports for the next summer meeting. Writers research throughout the fall/spring and prepare a paper using National Federation guidelines. Each author prepares resolutions covering his or her topic.

At the meeting, a short oral presentation on each topic is given to the entire assembly. The group then breaks up into smaller Marshall Committees (named for UIL's former director Dr. Bailey Marshall) to continue discussion over the paper and alternative wordings of resolutions. These resolutions are then presented to the entire group. The following day is very unique. The Wording Committee meets with each author, intensely discussing the resolutions from that writer's paper. The purpose of The Wording Committee is to create the best possible resolution based on the topic paper. This is an arduous task and literally takes hours. Each word in the resolution is scrutinized and all members are encouraged to offer input.

The much-discussed resolutions are presented to the entire group the next day. This is an important process because more discussion on each topic takes place. Ideas and perspectives from the group are voiced. Individuals may ask questions about the wording of the resolutions and why the Wording Committee chose to construct the resolutions the way it did. At this point, each resolution has gone through three intense scrutinies and will continue to be parsed through the voting process.

Voting delegates from states and interested organizations will vote for five topics. The votes are tallied and the topic that receives the least votes is removed from consideration. After each additional vote, the group may continue to discuss the remaining topics. The voting continues until there are only five topics left. These five topics are then presented to the debate community for consideration. Coaches will rank order the five topics and submit ballots. UIL conducts the State vote for Texas, and if you are members of NFL or other organizations, you may vote your preference with them, as well. This initial ballot occurs in early fall. The topics are narrowed from five to two. The voting process is repeated in December and one topic is selected for next year. The new topic is released in January.

The process is open to anyone who wishes to participate and is very democratic. The resolution is the result of a great deal of hard work on the part of an author, the Debate Topic Selection Committee, the Wording Committee, and the entire debate community in the United States.

UIL is very instrumental in the entire process. The League sponsors an author to the meeting every year - (Volunteer to Author a Study Report). A coach from Texas usually sits on the Wording Committee and quite often, it is a coach who participated in the process at the behest of UIL. UIL solicits a vote from every debate coach in our state!

It is an amazing process that gives us the debate resolution each year. It is the result of a great deal of research, discussion, and dialogue among outstanding debate coaches throughout the nation.

See the Synopsis of the Problem Areas for next school year.