The Stoa Board of Directors has been made aware of several incidents across the country when a speech, a debate case, a debate argument, etc., has been questioned by local tournament staff. Sometimes those incidents have resulted in a student or team being told that they could not use that content in competition.
As a national league that encourages local control, sometimes we struggle with crafting guidelines. Stoa does not endorse the practice of censoring speech and debate content. Judges are the ones that make the determination about the content of a speech or a debate argument. We are training students to speak boldly for Christ once they graduate and leave our league. They must be able to defeat arguments and ideas that set themselves up against Christ, not just refuse to hear them.
Moving forward, here are some things to consider:
Speeches and debate cases are not monitored for content at NITOC.
Reach out to the tournament director of the local tournament you plan to attend and ask them if there is the possibility that your material could be excluded from competition based on content.
Choose the tournaments you attend based, in part, upon whether competition pieces are reviewed and/or refused due to content.
Remember that the Stoa Board of Directors does not make a practice of adjudicating disagreements between competitors and local tournament directors.
Exercise grace. If you find yourself in a dispute, please show grace to one another.
Our hope is that local tournaments would avoid excluding material based on content. We also pray that all situations arising around this issue would be handled with respect, integrity, and grace. Remember, we are training the next generation to speak boldly and change the world for Christ. They are watching us; emulating us. May the example we set glorify God and raise up loving ambassadors for Him.