The Constitution of the World Universities Debating Council

Article 1

1) The World Universities Debating Council is hereby established.

Article 2

1) There shall be a competition, which for the purposes of this constitution shall be named the World Universities Debating Championship. A round of the Championship shall be held once during each and every calendar year.

2) The Format of the debate shall be British Parliamentary as set out in the rules attached to this constitution.

Article 3

1) The purpose of the Championship shall be the promotion of debate, the free exchange of ideas and international contact and co-operation.

2) It should be noted that anything said by any debater during a debate round does not necessarily represent the debater’s personal beliefs, those of his/her university or those of his/her nation.

3) a) In addition to the Championships, there shall be an English as a Second Language (ESL) competition contested between the highest ranked English as a Second Language (ESL) teams after the preliminary rounds

b) The ESL competition will be limited to teams where for both speakers English is not their first language of familiarity. Teams must register before the competition commences as ESL teams to be eligible to compete in the final.

c) The Format of the ESL competition will be the same format as the main championships.

4) a) In addition to the Championships there shall be a Masters competition contested between teams representing their country of origin.

5) a) In addition to the Championships there shall be an individual public speaking competition open to all participants at the championships.

b) The format of the public speaking shall be as set out in the rules attached to this constitution.

6) a) In addition to the Championships, there shall be an English as a Foreign Language (EFL) competition contested between the highest ranked EFL teams after the preliminary rounds

b) The EFL competition will be limited to teams where for both speakers English is not their first language of familiarity. Teams must register before the competition commences as EFL teams to be eligible to compete in the final.

c) The Format of the EFL competition will be the same format as the main championships.

Article 4

The functions of the Council shall be as follows:

(a) To appoint a host for each round of the Championship;

(b) To decide on appropriate sanctions against a host organisation in the event that it fails significantly to comply with the terms of the bid;

(c) To perform the other functions conferred upon it by this constitution.

Article 5

The council shall consist of the following members:

(a) The Chairperson of the Executive Organising Committee (who does not have a vote) or a designate in his/her absence .

(b) Delegates, who shall be appointed in accordance with Article 7

(c) The Chair of the Committee (under Article 28 who does not have a vote) or a designate in his/her absence; who will chair the meeting of the council.

(d) The Registrar of the Committee (who does not have a vote) or a designate in his/her absence;

(e) The Secretary of the Committee (who does not have a vote) or a designate in his/her absence

(f) The Chair of the Executive Organising Committee of the next host university (who does not have a vote) or a designate in his/her absence.

(g) The Emeritus life members of Worlds Council (who do not have a vote) as voted by previous meetings of Worlds Council.

Article 6

1) The acceptance of a bid by the Council in accordance with Articles 5-18 shall be deemed to operate as the election of the proposer as Chair of the Executive Organising Committee.

2) The Chair of the Executive Organising Committee elected under para1 above shall take office two weeks after his/her election.

3) The outgoing Chair of the Executive Organising Committee shall remain in office until his/her successor takes office.

4) The Chair of the Executive Organising Committee may resign from office only by appointing a successor in writing.

5) Where the office of Chair of the Executive Organising Committee becomes vacant other than by reason of para4 above, or the Chair of the Executive Organising Committee fails totally in his/her duties under Article 10.1 (ensuring the organisation of a round of the Championship) the Council, convened by registered mail sent to all members, may appoint a successor to the Chair of the Executive Organising Committee and a new venue.

Article 7

1) Every country represented at a Round of the Championship shall be entitled to send a delegate to the meeting of the Council convened during that Round.

2) Where there exists in relation to a country a debating body consisting of an executive elected by the debating organisations in that country, and relating to parliamentary debate as generally understood in common law countries, the President of that body, or equivalent, shall be deemed to have been appointed as delegate for that country provided that he/she or a nominee in writing is present at the Round of the Championship during which the meeting is being held.

3) In any other case the members of the teams originating from a country shall by common or majority action appoint one of their number as the delegate for that country.

4) Every delegate shall provide the Chair of the Committee with notice of his/her appointment, a home telephone number and address, and an alternative contact number and address if home details do not relate to permanent residence. This information shall be provided within 24 hours of appointment of the delegate or, in the case of an appointment not taking place during a Round of the Championship, within two weeks of appointment. The Chair of the Committee shall furnish a list of all information provided under this paragraph to all delegates within two weeks of the end of the Round for which he/she is responsible.

5) A delegate may resign from office only by appointing hi/her successor in writing.

6) A delegate shall hold office until his/her successor takes office.

7) Delegates shall take office immediately upon appointment.

8) Save as provided below, each delegate member of Council shall be entitled to cast their countries votes on every substantive motion placed before the Council.

9) Save as provided below, every substantive motion placed before the Council shall be decided by majority vote.

10) The Chair of the Committee shall not have a vote on any substantive motion placed before the Council, save in the event that the number of votes cast for and against the motion are equal, in which case he/she shall exercise a casing vote.

11) On every substantive motion placed before the Worlds Debating Council, delegates representing Status A nations will be entitled to cast four (4) votes, delegates representing Status B nations will be entitled to cast three (3) votes, delegates representing Status C nations will be entitled to cast two (2) votes, delegates representing Statues D nations will be entitled to cast one (1) vote.

Status A nations are nations represented by teams eligible to participate in the final series of the Championships form four or more recognised institutions for two consecutive years.

Status B nations are nations represented by teams eligible to participate in the final series of the Championships from three recognised institutions for two consecutive years.

Status C nations are nations represented by teams eligible to participate in the final series of the Championships from two recognised institutions for two consecutive years.

Status D nations are nations represented by teams eligible to participate in the final series of the Championships from one recognised institution for two consecutive years.

Nations are allowed a lapse of one year in the level of their participation, before their status is downgraded. Any change of status can apply for only one (1) level per year.

12) Where there is placed before the Council a substantive motion which proposes an amendment to this Constitution, such a motion shall not be carried unless it gains the support of at least two-thirds of Status A Nations and at least two-thirds overall.

13) The Schedule formerly appended to this Constitution shall no longer be so appended, and shall cease to have effect save as otherwise provided.

Article 8

1) The Registrar to the Council shall be appointed by the Council, and such appointment shall give due consideration to the necessity of preserving continuity in the membership of the Council.

2) A Chair of the Executive Organising Committee who vacates office under para 4 and 5 of Article 6 shall be disqualified subsequently from holding the office of Registrar.

3) The Registrar or his/her deputy shall be responsible for keeping minutes of meetings of the Council and for making available to all interested parties copies of this Constitution. He/she shall maintain a permanent record of the names and addresses of organisations participating in the Championship.

4) The Registrar may appoint a deputy to act on his/her behalf.

Article 9

1) Any member of the Council may appoint a deputy to attend meetings, speak, vote and otherwise act, on his/her behalf.

Article 10

The duties of the Chair of the Executive Organising Committee shall include:

(a) Ensuring that a Round of the Championship is organised during his/her term in office, which Round shall be a continuous period of not more than ten days;

(b) Convening at least two meetings of the Council. The first meeting shall be a preliminary meeting which shall determine the eligibility of competitors and institutions and the voting rights of nations. The second meeting will be the main meeting of Council and may determine any other issue.

(c) Convening such other meetings of the Council as are in his/her opinion necessary, provided that there be not fewer than one meeting per calendar year;

(d) Giving notice to the other members of the Council of any meeting of the Council. Such notice shall be given in writing at least 72 hours in advance of the meeting and shall include and agenda containing all details of any proposed amendments tot his Constitution.

(e) Providing notice of the Round for which he/she is responsible to all societies which attended the Championship at any of the previous three Rounds, and any other societies which he/she considers appropriate. Such notice shall be posted at least four months before the Round and shall include a legally binding statement of the total cost to the entrant team of registration and accommodation. A further legally binding notice shall be sent at least one month in advance entailing the cost of meals, activities and other related expenses;

(f) Ensuring that a briefing is held for all judges and debaters before the first session of debate where the full tournament rules and norms shall be explained and clarified;

(g) Ensuring that all ballots are returned to the competitors at the end of the tournament.

(h) Ensuring that any surplus made by a host university be passed to the next host university to reduce fees for needy universities;

(i) Ensuring that there is a women’s meeting at the beginning and end of the tournament which would be open to all participants in the championship

(j) Ensuring that full and accurate results are published in a reasonable timescale after the end of the tournament.

Article 11

The powers of the Chair of the Executive Organising Committee shall include the power to do anything which is in his/her opinion necessary, conducive or incidental to the fulfilment of the duties set out in, Article 10, revocable at his/her discretion. Full and final executive authority in relation to the organisation of the Round shall be vested in the Chair of the Executive Organising Committee, subject to this Constitution. This authority shall include the right to set all sales governing the competition.

Article 12

The Chair of the Committee shall regulate the proceedings of the Council, subject to this Constitution.

Article 13

The quorum for meeting of the council shall be at least two-thirds of Status A nations and at least one third of all nations. The Status of nations for quroum at the preliminary meeting of Council will be determined according to the voting entitlements of the previous championships.

Article 14

Within six months of a Round, the outgoing Chair of the Executive Organising Committee shall send to the Chair of the Executive Organising Committee for the next Round full accounts of the income and expenditure in relation to the organisation of the next Round. The accounts shall be considered in the following meeting of the Council. These accounts should reflect ordinary accounting standards applicable in the host nation.

Article 15

1) On meeting during a Round of the Championship, the Council shall consider bids to host future Championships two years in advance. Successful bids shall be ratified automatically at the meeting of the Council during the Round following one year later. If the said conditions have not been satisfied, bids shall be reopened without prejudice to any bidder.

2) All bids shall be submitted in writing and shall be signed by a sponsor. Bids may be signed by one or more seconders. A bid shall state the College and Society which will host the Championship, the dates of the Round, the debating procedures to be followed, and any relevant financial or other information.

Article 16

When a bid is accepted, the appropriate Round of the championship shall be held in accordance with its terms, subject to Article 18.

Article 17

When the Council Accepts a bid, the Chair of the Committee shall endorse a copy of that bid with the Resolution of the Council, and such endorsed copy shall be evidence of the acceptance of the bid.

Article 18

The Chair of the Executive Organising Committee shall use his/her best endeavours to ensure that the round of the Championships for which he/she is responsible is held within the context of the College and Society mentioned in the bid, but he/she may , with the consent of at least two other members of the Council alter the venue to another venue within the same metropolitan area.

Article 19

1) a) The originals of this Constitution shall be lodged with and authenticated by the Auditor of the College Historical Society, Trinity College, Dublin; the office of the President, Harvard University; the Secretary, University of Sydney Union; the World Debating Council office of the American college of Greece; the office of the Vice-Chancellor, University of Dhaka; the Convenor of Debates, Glasgow University Union; and the office of the Warden at Hart House, University of Toronto. All such originals shall be equal, final and conclusive evidence of the text of this Constitution.

b) A Copy of this constitution will also be displayed on the websites of the council and host for reference by all interested parties.

2) Within one month of the completion of each Round of the Championship, the outgoing Chair of the Executive Organising Committee shall ensure that updated versions of the Constitution (if amended) are authenticated by the Chair-elect and forwarded to those institutions specified in para1 above. Upon receipt of said versions, there shall constitute equal, final and conclusive evidence of the text of this Constitution.

Article 20

All previous Constitutions, rules, resolutions, conventions and customs relating to the Council are hereby repealed, revoked and abrogated.

Article 21

This Constitution shall come into effect immediately upon its adoption.

Article 22

1) Competitors who satisfy the requirements of this Article may compete in a team eligible to make the finals series a maximum of four Championships. This provision shall take effect from 6th January 1990.

2) During the academic year of the competition, competitors shall represent the institution at which they pursue at least half of their courses toward a particular third level qualification.

3) Competitors shall be recognised by their institution’s debating union or equivalent, or in the absence of such a body by the institution’s administration.

4) Documented evidence of the participants student status should be received by the host nation prior to commencement of the Championships. Registration shall be considered in complete until such evidence is received.

5) Competitors must be enrolled students and must be attending classes or pursuing research in the institution which they represent on the last day of term preceding the competition.

6) In the event of any controversy regarding the interpretation of this article, the organisers of the Championship shall follow the recommendation of the president (or equivalent) of the competent national debating body (if applicable).

7) No individual or institution shall be allowed to register and participate at the Championships if they owe money to any previous host without the agreement of that host.

8) a) A list of all ESL teams shall be approved for each worlds tournament at the preliminary meeting of the council held before the tournament begins.

b) Consideration of ESL qualification shall be based on 4 criteria:

1. Language used at home

2. Language of Institution

3. National language

4. Does the individuals level of English present a barrier to participation.

c) ESL qualification shall be dependent on the ESL status of both members of a team and not the institution represented.

d) Individuals who make the knockout stages of the main competition are no longer to be considered for the ESL break in that year and following years unless the council rules otherwise. This applies to the individuals only and not the institution.

9) a) The Masters competition will be limited to participants at the championship not entered in the Main or ESL competitions.

b) Where there exists in relation to a country a debating body consisting of an executive elected by the debating organisations in that country, and relating to parliamentary debate as generally understood in common law countries, the President of that body, or equivalent, shall notify the host, in writing, that countries participants in the Masters competition.

c) In All other cases the participants originating from a country shall by common or majority action select their Masters participants.

d) The Masters competition shall be held in the debating format local to the Host Society.

Article 23

Composite teams cannot register in advance for the Championship. The organisers may create such composite teams out of individual participants, as they deem necessary and appropriate. No composite team shall be admitted to elimination rounds. “Composite team” shall be defined for the purpose of this Constitution as meaning any team consisting of two individuals not both attending the same university.

Article 24

Where any issue arises before the Chair of the Executive Organising Committee and the Chair of the Committee that he/she expects will be found controversial by the members of the Council, he/she must notify the members of the Council by post or otherwise of the issue, and shall make no firm commitments regarding that issue before the opinions of the Council have been assessed and, if necessary voted upon.

Article 25

It shall be the duty of the outgoing Chair of the Executive Organising Committee to forward the Chair-elect a memorandum summarising his/her experience in the administration of the tournament which shall include:

1) A breakdown of the financing and sources of finance of the Round;

2) A complete mailing list used by the Chair during the course of the Round;

3) A complete list of the teams which participated in the Round, which list shall include the names of competitors.

Article 26

This constitution was adopted on 3rd January 1987, and was amended on 6th January 1988, 1st January 1990, 3rd January 1991, 5th January 1993 and 5th January 1998.

Article 27

There shall be established a ‘World Universities Debating Committee.’ The committee shall

a) establish and maintain World Universities Debating website

b) Provide a central information resource through this website which will include information on the upcoming Championship, rules of the Championship, minutes from meetings of Council, training information, a list of available debating training resources, records of participation from universities and individuals at each Championship.

c) Provide a contact point through this website for participants and members of the general public.

d) Collect from the host university and hold records of the Championships, including attendees and results

e) Make recommendations to Council based on year long discussions with Committee members and anyone else who cares to comment.

f) Investigate on behalf of Council and report back at the next championships on any matter deemed appropriate by council.

g) To maintain and review the rules of the Championship

h) To liase with potential sponsors and establish contact between them and the host institution.

i) To provide a full report to the main meeting of Council regarding the completion of the Duties outlined above.

Article 28

The Committee shall be appointed by Council as a substantive vote. There shall be elected from the debaters and adjudicators of the Championships:

a) a Chair

b) A Secretary (who will co-ordinate correspondence)

c) A Registrar (who will maintain all other records)

d) A women’s officer (elected at the women’s meeting held during the championships)

2) Nations from the following jurisdictions represented at Council shall elect a delegate from the participants of the Championship

a) Americas

b) Islands of the North Atlantic

c) Continental Europe and the Middle East

d) Africa

e) Asia

f) Australia – New Zealand and Oceania

3) The Chairperson or a delegate of the following host will be a member of the committee.

4) the Committee shall have the power to co-op up to two others (who may be non-participants of the Championship) to be members of the Committee.

5) Elections shall be held each year at the main meeting of Council and the appointments will be effective form the end of that Championship until the end of the next championships.

6) The same person may not be elected to occupy multiple Committee positions.

Article 29

1) There shall be at least one deputy Chief Adjudicator from a country other than that of the hosting nation appointed to assist the Chief Adjudicator of the host university to:

a) Assist in the training of adjudicators from the host university from at least two weeks prior to the Championship;

b) Assist in the training of the remainder of the adjudicators prior to the Championship commencing;

c) Assist in the accreditation and grading of all adjudicators at the Championship;

d) Assist in a practice run of the tabulation system at least one week prior to the commencement of the Championships;

e) Assist the host university to allocate adjudicators to debates during the championships;

f) Assist the host university to comply with the constitution;

g) Report to the main meeting of the council regarding the completion of the above duties.

2) The Deputy Chief Adjudicator shall be appointed by the host university at least six months prior to that championship. The host university may appoint more than one Deputy Chief Adjudicator.

3) The Deputy Chief Adjudicator must have adjudicated at a prior round of the World Universities Debating Championship and demonstrate to the host university a knowledge of draw and tabulation systems.

4) All reasonable transport, accommodation and food expenses of the Deputy Chief Adjudicator should be covered by the Championships budget

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