All students in their first year at Willamette University are eligible to participate in the Debate Union. Following the first year, students may be invited to continue in the program depending on their performance with regard to a number of criteria. These criteria include, but are not limited to a student’s ability to work productively with coaches and other members of the team, the student’s academic performance, a student's behavior with regard to members of the Willamette team as well as with students and coaches of teams with whom we compete, and the student's behavior as a citizen of the larger Willamette University community. Students who satisfy these criteria and who follow all other policies of Willamette University in general and the debate team in particular may be allowed to participate for a maximum of eight semesters depending on the resources available to the debate program.
To participate in the WUDU, all students must sign general release of liability forms and must complete a medical information form which includes health insurance information as well as information that a coach or advisor might need during an off campus trip. Additionally, all students must sign a form giving the Director of Debate access to certain information about the student protected under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy (FERPA) act of 1974. In particular, the student must consent to give the Director of Forensics information concerning alleged and/or proven violations of Willamette University Standards of Conduct and Policies, information regarding academic progress (grades, schedule of classes, etc.), and other information related to the student's general well-being, health, and safety.
In order to participate in Intercollegiate Debate and Speech Programs, each student must agree to attend a minimum of one intercollegiate tournament per semester and to assist with tournaments that Willamette University hosts on our campus (including the Jerry Hudson tournament in the fall and the Mark O. Hatfield tournament in the spring). Students participating in individual events must enter a minimum of two events per tournament during their first year and three events per tournament in subsequent years. Students participating in intercollegiate debate must contribute to the research effort and must share required research they gather with the team. Each student must complete research projects as determined by the Director of Debate. These assignments will be scheduled early in the semester so students can plan appropriately. Assignments are due according to dates of scheduled tournaments. Before being entered in a tournament, students must complete their assignments and practice their speeches before a coach.
The Public Debate Program is available to students who have at least one semester of experience in the Intercollegiate Debate or Intercollegiate Speech Programs. In unusual cases, students will be invited to join the Public Debate Program without prior experience in competitive speech and debate. Like Intercollegiate Speech and Debate, students in the Public Debate Program will be invited to continue in the program on a semester-by-semester basis depending on their performance with regard to the same criteria used to evaluate participation in the competitive speech and debate program.