Constitution

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The Constitution of the American Debate Association

ARTICLE 1. NAME AND PURPOSE

SECTION 1. The name of this organization shall be the American Debate Association

SECTION 2. The purpose of this organization shall be to promulgate standards and procedures for intercollegiate debate tournaments sanctioned by the Association, which participants agree to follow, based on the following assumptions:

  1. Debate is a controlled discussion which analyzes the substantive issues raised by a particular public policy proposition.
  1. Debate is persuasive, oral communication activity in which debaters assume the obligation to communicate reasons for positions taken in a manner that is coherent, intelligible, and consistent with the limitation on human speech and listening.
  1. Debate tournaments will be run efficiently, honestly, and in a manner which promotes the educational values of debating for all participants.
  1. Coaches and judges are educators whose job is to effectively prepare students to debate, to objectively and fairly evaluate rounds of competition to which they are assigned, and to behave in an ethical and professional fashion.
  1. Debate is an educational activity to be engaged in by undergraduate students who are officially enrolled full-time students in good academic standing at the colleges and universities that they represent in competition.

ARTICLE II. THE MEMBERSHIP

SECTION 1. Membership shall be open to any institution of higher education which agrees to abide by the ADA Constitution, By-Laws, Standing Rules of Debate Tournament Procedure and other standing rules of the Association and pays the annual membership fee.

SECTION II. Associate membership shall be open to any individual unaffiliated with an institution of higher education or to any individual affiliated with an institutional member who agrees to abide by the ADA Constitution, By-Laws, Standing Rules of Debate Tournament Procedure and other standing rules of the Association and pays the annual associate membership fee. Associate members shall have no vote in the meetings or elections of the Association but shall be entitled to the Association newsletter and to invitations to all Association business meetings.

SECTION III. Each institution shall have one vote in the meetings and elections of the Association.

ARTICLE III. OFFICERS

SECTION 1. The Association shall biannually elect a President, Vice-President, Secretary and Treasurer at its May meeting. The term of office shall be two years. Officers are eligible for reelection to a maximum of two consecutive terms. A special election shall be held to fill the incompleted term of any officer forced to resign.

  1. The President shall call and preside at general and Executive Committee meetings of the Association, appoint the Editors of the newsletter, the Vice President for records, the Vice President for Public Affairs, and such standing and select committees as from time to time may be established, and serve as an ex-officio member of all committees. The President may appoint a parliamentarian to serve during his/her term of office.
  1. The Vice-President, in the absence of the President, shall preside at general and Executive Committee meetings of the Association and serve as a member of the Executive Committee.
  1. The Secretary shall maintain an up-to-date membership list, record the proceedings of each meeting of the Association, distribute minutes of each meeting and shall be responsible for maintaining Association records. The Secretary shall serve as a member of the Executive Committee.
  1. The Treasurer shall collect the annual membership fees, maintain the Association’s bank account, pay Association bills and present annually a report of the Association’s finances to the membership. The Treasurer shall serve as a member of the Executive Committee.
  1. The ADA representative to the topic selection committee will represent the ADA in Topic Committee matters. The topic representative shall serve as a member of the Executive Committee. The two-year term for this office shall begin August 1 following election.
  1. Awards Chair: The Awards Chair will supervise selection processes for the awards given at ADA Nationals. The Chair will drive discussion on the recipients of the coaching, service, and alumni awards, is responsible for tabulation of the awards given by vote at ADA Nationals, and supervises the tabulation of the Front Royal Cup. The Chair will also sit on the Julia Burke Award Committee. The Chair is a member of the Executive Committee.

SECTION 2. The Executive Committee shall be composed of the President, Vice-President, Secretary, Treasurer, ADA Topic Representative, Parliamentarian, Awards Chair, Vice President for Records and Vice President for Public Affairs. Individuals who have retired from the faculty of member institutions may be elected as emeritus members of the executive committee by a two-thirds vote of members present at the May meeting of the Association.

SECTION 3. The Executive Committee shall set the agenda for meetings of the Association and act with authority of the full Association on any matters requiring action between meetings of the Association, subject to approval by the membership at the next scheduled meeting of the Association.

ARTICLE IV. MEETINGS

SECTION 1. The Association shall meet during the summer (May-August) for the purpose of election officers and revising the ‘Constitution and the Standing Rules of Debate Tournament Procedure.” Additionally, the Association shall meet, at least once, during the Fall academic semester (September-December) and at least once during the Spring academic semester (January-April).

SECTION 2. Written notice of the time and place of all meetings of the Association shall be given to all institutional members at least two weeks prior to any meeting. This may include, but is not limited to, announcement in the Newsletter.

SECTION 3. The President will issue the call to the annual business meeting at least one month prior to the date of that meeting. All proposed changes to the Standing Rules or the Constitution must be received by the President of the ADA no later than two weeks prior to the date of the annual business meeting. The President will distribute received proposals to the membership as soon as practical. Motions received after the two week deadline may be considered only by a suspension of the rules.

SECTION 4. General business shall be by a simple majority vote of members present and voting or represented by proxy. Policies shall be effective after passage by the membership except that a ballot of the entire membership may be directed by a two-thirds vote of the members present and voting or represented by proxy. To be valid, with respect to policies or amendments to the Constitution or the Standing Rules, proxy votes must comply with the following conditions:

  1. Member schools not attending a meeting of the Association may complete and sign a proxy statement which must indicate (a) the motion on which the vote is to be cast, and (b) the vote which is to be cast, for or against the motion.
  2. No member institution may vote more than five proxy votes in addition to its own vote.
  3. Proxies must be submitted to the Secretary at, or prior to, the start of the meeting.
  4. Proxies shall apply only to main motions and not to subsidiary motions.
  5. Should successful amendments to a main motion substantially alter its intent, the Chair may rule the proxy void.

SECTION 5. Unless otherwise provided in the Constitution, all proceedings shall be governed by Robert’s Rules of Order.

ARTICLE V. ADA NATIONAL TOURNAMENT

SECTION 1. The ADA will sponsor a national tournament during the second semester.

SECTION 2. The executive committee of the ADA will administer the tournament.

ARTICLE VI. ORGANIZATION AND DISSOLUTION

SECTION 1. This Association is organized exclusively for educational purposes within the meaning of Section 501 (c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954.

SECTION 2. Notwithstanding any other provisions of these articles, the Association shall not carry on any other activities not permitted to be carried on:

  1. By any organization exempt from Federal income tax under Section 501 (c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954 (or the corresponding provisions of any future United States Internal Revenue Law), or
  1. By any organization contributions to which are deductible under Section 170 (c) (2) of the Internal Revenue Code of 194 (or the corresponding provision of any future United States Internal Revenue Law).

SECTION 3. Upon the winding up and dissolution of this corporation, after paying or adequately providing for debts and obligations of the corporation, the remaining assets shall be distributed to a nonprofit fund, foundation, or corporation which is organized and operated exclusively for charitable educational, religious, and/or scientific purposes and which has established its tax exempt status under Section 501 (c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954 (or the corresponding provision of any future United States Internal Revenue Law).

ARTICLE VII. AMENDMENTS

SECTION 1. Amendments to this Constitution shall be made by a two-thirds vote of the members present and voting or represented by proxy at the May meeting of the Association, or at the meeting of the Association at the Annual Convention of the American Forensic Association, subject to approval by a two-thirds majority of a ballot sent to the entire membership.

SECTION 2. Amendments and changes to the Standing Rules of Debate Tournament Procedures shall be made by a simple majority of the members present and voting or represented by proxy at the May meeting of the Association, or at the meeting of the Association at the Annual Convention of the American Forensic Association, subject to approval by a simple majority of a ballot sent to the entire membership.

 

Revisions-American Debate Association Constitution

ADA Constitution approved May 17, 1988, Frederick, Maryland.
Revised by schools in attendance at Frederick, Maryland, May 18, 1989. Edward Grinder, O.S.B.
Revised by schools in attendance at Frederick, Maryland, May 17, 1990. Edward Grinder, O.S.B.
Revised by action of schools attending ADA meeting in Atlanta, Georgia, November 2, 1991. Approved by membership via mail ballot. Arnie Madsen.
Revised by action of schools attending ADA meeting in Chicago, Illinois, October 30, 1992. Approved by membership via mail ballot. Arnie Madsen.
Revised by action of schools attending ADA meeting in Annapolis, Maryland, May 11, 1993. Approved by membership via mail ballot. Arnie Madsen.
Revised by action of schools attending ADA meeting in Fredericksburg, Virginia, May 15, 1998. . Approved by membership via mail ballot. Sue Wenzlaff
Revised by action of schools attending ADA meeting in Fredericksburg, Virginia, May 19, 2000. Approved by membership via mail ballot. Brent Brossmann
Revised by action of schools attending the NCA meeting in Atlanta, Georgia, October 31, 2001. Approved by membership via mail ballot. Brent Brossmann
Revised by action of schools attending ADA meeting in Fredericksburg, Virginia, May 17, 2002. Approved by membership via mail ballot. Brent Brossmann
Revised by action of schools attending ADA meeting in Orlando, Florida. May 14, 2005. Approved by membership via mail ballot. Michael Dutcher
Revised by action of schools attending ADA meeting in Washington, DC. May 16, 2014. Approved by membership via mail ballot. Danielle O’Gorman
Revised by action of schools attending ADA meeting in Annapolis, MD. May 15, 2015. Approved by membership via mail ballot. Nicholas Ryan
Revised by action of schools attending ADA meeting in Fredericksburg, VA. May 13, 2016. Approved by membership via email ballot. Nicholas Ryan