The staff and students of the WUDU are jointly responsible to maintain a high-quality program while simultaneously maintaining the academic integrity of each individual, the team, and the university in general. The following policies describe the role of staff and students in maintaining such responsibilities.
The director of debate shall be responsible for managing a program that allows students the opportunity to participate in speech and debate without impairing academic progress. Specifically, the director of debate and other debate coaches will schedule contests in such a way that minimizes a student's need to miss classes. When the choice exists between two contests of approximately equal merit, the contest which causes fewer absences will be chosen.
Debate Union staff will use the following as guidelines for maintaining a competitive program that respects the academic integrity of students and of Willamette University:
- Schedule travel plans in such a way that minimizes the number of classes students will miss. Departure times will be coordinated with WU class schedules and the latest reasonable departure time will be selected.
- Check students' academic progress every semester to determine that they are within the minimum requirements for participation in the WUDU.
- Refrain from putting pressure on a student to attend any contest when the student believes that contest would interfere with his or her academics.
- Notify professors when students miss classes for university-sanctioned activities.
The final decision about balancing debate and other aspects of academic life ultimately belongs in the hands of each student. The right to make that choice entails responsibilities to themselves as well as responsibilities to their teammates. Each student is responsible for his or her academic progress and is responsible to their teammates because each individual's academic work reflects on the entire team. The WUDU should be composed of model students. Specifically, each student is responsible for the following:
- Plan in advance. Anticipate in advance when you will and will not be able to travel.
- Inform professors of any absence well in advance. At the beginning of each semester, talk to each professor about the fact that you will be missing classes and about what you will be expected to do to make up the work that you will miss.
- Ask to be allowed to make-up work. Do not ask to be excused from work. Volunteer to complete your work or make up exams early.
- Understand that you will need to get lecture notes from classmates and should not expect professors to give you notes or to repeat lectures.
- Attend classes while on campus. Since you will be missing classes for debate, attending while you are on campus takes on greater importance. Avoid leading professors to believe you have missed class due to debate when you have missed for some other reason. Do not use debate as an excuse for poor work.