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Standards:Harassment Policy

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IDEA remains steadfast in its belief that speech and debate events should be contests of knowledge, wit, and argumentation, to be conducted in a setting of civility and mutual respect. IDEA further maintains that all eligible speech and debate participants, irrespective of race, creed, age, sex, national origin, sexual preference, or non-disqualifying handicap, should have access to activities.

These principles should guide the behavior and conduct of all members of, and participants in, a speech and debate organization. While the policy described herein is directed specifically at sexual harassment, its principles shall be considered a model for dealing with all forms of harassment.

IDEA has designed this policy in an attempt to eliminate specific behaviors and situations that may arise while participating in a speech/debate activity, and to provide a forum for the resolution of conflicts. IDEA acknowledges that neither this policy nor any other can eliminate all discomfort or intimidation that arises when ideas are in conflict, or when positions taken are uncomfortable to one or more participants (nor is IDEA responsible for dictating good taste or social posture).

IDEA assumes these elements to be part of the learning and educational process, and encourages the open discussion of these concerns as another means of education. Academic speech and debate does not provide a license for demeaning actions, and sexual harassment in particular will not be tolerated. Any participant who suffers discrimination or harassment as part of an activity is effectively denied the assurance of an equal opportunity to freely work, learn, and grow in the arena of academic speech and debate, and may be harmed in mind, body, and performance.

Sexual harassment is a form of discrimination characterized by, but not limited to, verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature that has the effect of denying or limiting an individual�s right to participate in an activity, or that creates a hostile, intimidating, or offensive environment that places the victim in an untenable situation and/or diminishes the victim�s opportunity to participate fairly.

Sexual conduct can become discriminatory and harassing when the nature of the interaction is unwelcome, or when a pattern of behavior that is offensive to a "reasonable woman" (or man, as the case may be) exists.

IDEA believes that each accredited member should have or adopt a policy that embodies the principles set forth above. It is expected that each accredited member will take harassment seriously and enforce their policy with regard to any breaches therein.

If a violation of the harassment policy occurs, the following procedure should be followed:

  • A written complaint detailing the allegation should be provided to any member of the IDEA-USA or IDEA-NL Board of Directors.
  • Upon receipt of the complaint, the IDEA-NL Board of Directors will appoint an ad hoc Ethics Committee composed of three members (at least one of whom shall be a representative of the IDEA-USA Board of Directors) who will investigate the charge that a member has failed to enforce the policy.
  • If the committee sees merit in the charge, it may take the appropriate punitive actions, including, but not limited to, censure, sanctioning, forfeiture of some or all membership privileges, revocation of accreditation, and/or recommendation to IDEA-NL that membership be revoked.

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