As we approach NITOC, it is important to discuss adjudication—a formal judgment on a disputed matter. Though Stoa is a league that values having as few rules as possible, we do still need rules.
Evidence violations are the bulk of debate-related adjudications at NITOC. These violations include evidence that is incorrectly formatted, pieced together, or missing citations and often occur because of “evidence rings” (i.e., groups of students who share evidence) and outside coaching. While it is okay to trust your fellow competitors and your private coach, don't forget to verify the evidence. Ultimately, you are responsible for everything you present from the podium, even evidence cards someone else wrote. By using evidence that doesn't meet the standards, you could suffer the consequences and have your ballot overturned, which has happened in outrounds at NITOC. Take heed of President Ronald Reagan's famous words, "Trust, but verify."
A word of advice as you prepare for NITOC. First, know the rules. Second, look through your case and evidence before NITOC to make sure it is all formatted within the bounds of the rules. Finally, bring copies of the 2021 Debate Rules and Evidence Standards documents on paper to your rounds. They can serve as evidence in the round if you believe there is a violation.
I look forward to seeing you all at NITOC. I miss you. It will be good to have many folks together again.
In Christ, Steven Vaughan Stoa Debate Committee Chair