AFA Newsletter: A Publication of the American Forensic Association Vol. 36 No. 2, Winter/Spring 2014


Table of Contents, p.1

AFA Newsletter Information, p.2

Officers of American Forensics Association, p.3-5

2013 AFA Award Winners, p.6

In Memoriam, p.7 

NIET Charter Changes & Message from Karen Morris, p.8

AFA National Council Meeting – Minutes, p.9-22

AFA National Business Meeting – Minutes, p.23-33

AFA Financial Statement 2012-2013, p.34-38

Proposed AFA Budget for 2014-2015, p.39


The AFA Newsletter is published three times each year and is sent to all current AFA individual members. The first issue (September) contains information regarding the national meeting. The second issue (January) contains the minutes of AFA business meetings and National Council meetings from the AFA's annual convention and a supplement to the membership directory. The third issue (June) contains the tournament calendar for the following academic year. Each issue also contains news items of interest to members.

You are invited to submit material to be published in the Newsletter. You may submit news items, announcements, or articles (especially ones which are related to forensic activities). Items for the newsletter should be sent to: James W. Pratt, PO Box 256, River Falls, WI 54022, or via e-mail Closing dates for each issue of the Newsletter are September 15th, for issue #1; January 15th, for issue #2; and June 15th, for issue #3.


National Council

Scott Harris, University of Kansas, President

Michael Janas, Samford University, Vice President

Tim Mahoney, St. Mark’s School, Dallas, TX, Vice President for High School Affairs

Darren Elliott, Kansas City, Kansas, Community Coll., Two-Year College Representative

Erika Thomas, California State University, Fullerton, Recording Secretary

James W. Pratt, University of Wisconsin, River Falls, Executive Secretary

Allan Louden, Wake Forest University, Webmaster

Harry Weger, University of Central Florida, Editor, Argumentation & Advocacy 


Educational Practice Committee:

Wade Hescht, North Harris College, Chair

Gilstrap, Drury University 

Megan Houge Koch, Illinois State University 

Ken Young, James Madison University 


Finance Committee:

Ben Voth, Southern Methodist University, Chair

Aaron Duncan, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Bobby Imbody, University of Alabama 

Lee Mayfield, James Madison University 

Larry Schnoor, Minnesota State University, Mankato 

Sarah Partlow, Idaho State University 


Nominating Committee:

R Jerrod Atchison, Wake Forest U, Winston-Salem, NC, Chair

J David Cisneros, Northeastern University, Boston, MA

Susan Collie, U of Wisconsin-Stout, Menomonie, WI

Katherine Lavelle, 

Sarah Stone Watt, Pepperdine U, Malibu, CA


Professional Development Committee:

Randy Cox, University of Texas, Austin, Chair

Tim Brown, Cedar Crest College 

Susan Collie, University of Wisconsin-Stout

David Gaer, Laramie County Community College

Ryan Galloway, Samford University

Gordon Stables, University of Southern California


Publications Committee:

Stephen Croucher, Marist College, Chair 

Dawn Bartlett, Doane College 

Matt Gerber, Baylor University 

Jeffrey Jarmin, Wichita State University

Penni Pier, Wartburg College 

David Worth, Rice University 


Research Committee:

James Dimock, Minnesota State University, Mankato, Chair

Treva Dean, University of Alabama

Richard Paine, North Central College

Chad Kuyper, Florida State College, Jacksonville

Peter Pober, George Mason University

David Steinberg, University of Miami


NDT Committee & Regional Representatives:

Dallas Perkins, Harvard University, District VIII & Chair

Gordon Stables, University of Southern California, District I

Scott Odekirk, Idaho State University, District II

Sarah Topp, Trinity University, District III  

David Cram Helwich, University of Minnesota, District IV

Will Repko, Michigan State University, District V 

Michael Hester, University of West Georgia, District VI

Adrienne Brovero, Mary Washington, District VII

Jim Lyle, Clarion University, AFA East

Ron Stevenson, Wayne State University, AFA Central

Ed Lee, Emory University, AFA South, 

Sarah Partlow Lefevre, Idaho State University, AFA West

Jim Hanson, Whitman College, Ranking Secretary


NDT Board of Trustees for 2013-2014:

Allan Louden, Wake Forest University

Sherry Hall, Harvard University

Greg Rosenbaum, Palisades Associates

Melissa Wade, Emory

Danielle Weise Leek, Grand Valley State University 


NIET Committee Officers & District Representatives:

Peter Pober, George Mason University, Chair

Karen Morris, University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, Secretary

David Worth, Rice University, Webmaster

Frank Thompson The University of Alabama, Chair Emeritus

Larry Schnoor, tournament director for 2014 national tournament

Angela Gregory, Chabot College, District I

Joe Gantt, Lewis & Clark College, District II;

Craig Brown, Kansas State University, District III

Susan Collie, University of Wisconsin-Stout, District IV 

Megan Koch, Illinois State University, District V

Dawn Lowry, Western Kentucky University, District VI

Tim Brown, Cedar Crest College, District VII

Josh House, Central Wyoming College, District IX 

M'Liss Hindman, Tyler Junior College, Community College Rep  


NIET Regional Representatives & Student

Kellie Roberts, University of Florida, Southern

Daniel Leyes, Brookdale Community College, Eastern

Richard Paine, North Central College, Central 

Brent Northup, Carroll College, Western

Milana Duggan, Northwestern University

Reginald Chapman, William Carey University.


NIET Board of Trustees for 2013-2014:

Leah White, Minnesota State University-Mankato, Chair

Bobby Imbody, University of Alabama 

Aaron Duncan, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

David Gaer, Laramie County Community College 

Lee Mayfield, James Madison University 






Distinguished Service Award 


Peter Pober, 

Professor and Director of Forensics,

George Mason University 



Daniel Rohrer Research Award

Todd T. Holm (Marine Corps University) and Heather Carmack (Assistant Professor, James Madison University)

“Forensics as a correlate of graduate school success.”


Full citation:

Holm, T. T. & Carmack, H. J. (2012), Forensics as a correlate of graduate 

school success. Journal of the Association for Communication Administration, 31(1), pp. 29-45.



Outstanding Dissertation/Thesis Award 

Brett Bricker, 

University of Kansas

Doctoral dissertation: “A Rhetorical Investigation of Public Disbelief in Climate Science”



Brockriede and Archival Research Award 


Emma Frances Bloomfield, 

University of Southern California

“History of Creationism and Evolution Arguments”



Otto F. Bauer 

Hardy Scholar, Northwestern University

December 1, 1931 – October 5, 2013



Father Frank Scott Howell

Professor, President of Sophia University

July 18, 2012



The following description is taken from the AFA-NIET Charter.  It provides the process of passing amendments: 

VII. Amendment

The N.I.E.T. charter shall be subject to amendment by submitting a printed ballot mailed to the membership of AFA after discussion and passage of the recommendation by those present and voting at the annual AFA meeting. A summary of the pro and con arguments from the discussion shall accompany the proposal. The ballots shall carry instructions that include a return deadline date no earlier than thirty days from date of mailing. Changes in the charter will be accepted if ratified by a majority vote of the members voting. Changes in the charter shall not apply to the N.I.E.T. immediately following the annual meeting at which changes are voted upon.


Proposed AFA-NIET Charter Changes Updates:

At the 2013 NCA annual AFA Business Meeting, pro & con arguments were not provided during the meeting.  The following is an overview of the AFA-NIET Charter Changes.


Overview of AFA-NIET Charter Changes, By Karen Morris:

The amendments to the AFA-NIET Charter were proposed by an Ad Hoc Constitution Committee presented to and approved by the AFA-NIET Committee in April of 2013.  Changes were contained to the area of Committee Membership.  The office of Vice Chair and the National Student Representatives were missing from the list of members of the AFA-NIET Committee.  In addition, the voting status of members was inconsistent with current practices.  Updating the descriptions of committee membership allows the constitution to more clearly reflect the current make up and practices of the AFA-NIET Committee.


Voting Procedures:

In the upcoming weeks, members will receive mail ballots for voting for new AFA officers and for voting on amendments for the NIET Charter.  All ballots should be returned to Jim Pratt, Executive Secretary of the AFA, via USPS mail by the due date specified on the ballot. 


If your mailing address has changed or has not been provided to the AFA, please contact Jim Pratt at to update your mailing address.




American Forensic Association National Council Meeting 

Wednesday, November 20, 2013, 12:00 pm

Wardman Park - 8223

Washington D.C. 

Individuals present: Stephen Croucher, Rich Edwards, Scott Harris, Michael Janas, Tim Mahoney, Jim Pratt, David Steinberg, Erika Thomas


12:06 pm meeting called to order


Scott Harris: Let’s start with reports from committees:


Finance Committee

James Pratt [Explaining the Financial Statement document]:

  • We have a good picture on the financial scene.
  • My one item of concern: the number of people paying dues is continuing to go down. The individual memberships are down 20 from last year. Two year memberships are down by 7 from last year.  Life membership balanced out – we lost three and got two new ones.
  • The next item is institutional agencies, basically libraries who renew through EBSCO and other subscriptions, that number remains stable.
  • The non-journal membership does not attract many members. 
  • Student memberships are down.  These are a wonderful bargain at $20 a year.  It gives students a reasonable price and says, we hope that you [students] will become a regular dues paying members.
  • The income from the journal is small and predictable with the exception of the royalties; these almost exclusively come from EBSCO where we have an exclusive relationship; checks have been slightly higher, more so than we were expecting, which means an uptake in the readership 


Question: The Publications Committee was wondering: can the journal tell us what the most popular downloads would be, in order for us to see the trends?  It shouldn’t cost us anything.


Jim Pratt: 

  • They are very cooperative.  In the last years, the argumentation folks entered into an exclusive party contract with EBSCO and I was consulted on it; in addition to the contract we have with them. EBSCO seems pleased with the arrangements too, which is good.
  • Non-income item: We collect for the other organizations [NDT, NIET]– they are membership payments and they even out.  We implemented the policy to charge 3% fee to the organizations to compensate the credit card processing fees. I pass 97% onto the organization.  Everyone seems happy with it and it defrays the cost of credit card processing.  
  • The $41 comes from the charge for filing our taxes.  We are 510(c)3 (tax exempt organization). We need to show that we are in compliance so we submit a report – the process became more complex a few years ago when we rolled in the NIET and the NDT financial reports. (They report separately with the exception of the income tax).  We have gone into a high enough financial category that we have to meet stricter accountability requirements, so it is worth it
  • The $100 bond; if I leave with the funds, you will get at least part of it back.  Based on 4500 annual income; it covers about 35,000
  • A corporate fee for Indiana; we are incorporated which leads to the 501(c)
  • It cost us $7.14 to file a report every year.
  • The cost for a back up device for a computer.
  • The next item is an honorarium: for me.
  • There are no legal fees.
  • Visa/MC card charges are the actual fees that we pay.
  • Photocopying [charges]: not much at all.
  • The PO Box separates the [AFA] mail form the University mailroom.
  • Postage continues to go down.  One large cost that is worth it is the returned postage guaranteed. If they are undeliverable than the post office returns them to me.  If the move was in the last 6 months, I can capture that return address.
  • No one asked for trophies and plaques: no one asked me for that.  If they ask, I do it, if they don’t, I don’t.
  • We collect money back from the receptions and from the other Forensics organizations that contribute to the nice reception.
  • Ballots are small portion but we still serve a constituency; our friends the High School Community and the Catholics [Catholic Forensics League]
  • The next cost is for hosting for website: the University bills him for the internet connections.
  • We are having quite a bit of trouble with the website.  At the moment, it is under repair and we hope to get back to working order.  The PayPal is the principle way to receive memberships and payments of all sorts; and its important to keep that running.  It is a major way to get our memberships.
  • $2500 to both our tournaments.
  • Argumentation & Advocacy costs have gone up slightly – I do not know whether this is an overall increase in the charges or the length of journals and number of pages and editing changes; they have a formula where they charge back on that.


Harry Weger: I have no idea what that is and I’m interested in knowing the page limits and what they are.


Jim Pratt: I will get back to you with that as I can get the invoice that should tell you that.  The other item that we need to talk about regarding your needs is a line item for editorial assistants. They [UNI] covered it during the semester but the university did not cover in the summer. I don’t know your needs.


Harry Weger: My editorial assistant is a GTA, so if we can continue that [in the summer], it would be helpful.


Jim Pratt: Directory doesn’t cost us anything except what is [included] online.

  • There is no cost for organizations, although we paid the $2000 for the Argumentation conference.
  • Total expenses: balance with incomes - $759.00 off.  In the grand scheme of things, it is not a huge problem.
  • The last page is the summaries – the CD and money marketing accounts.  Nothing is paying a significant amount of interests these days; if anyone has suggestions that are safe and higher interest, let me know.
  • We have the Brockreide memorial money. Any of these given awards takes out the body of the principles.  The McGee award operates the same way, though that is a larger amount. The donors replace the amount that was given.  
  • Any questions?


Scott Harris: For continuing for the money for an editor assistant, do we need to approve that? 


Jim Pratt: Let’s work it out on our end.


Stephen Croucher: Our committee approves the cost.


Scott Harris: What is the status of the website? I recall you emailing about the issue a few months ago.


Jim Pratt: The issue that came up was the cost, I asked: what can you do for under $2000.  It’s under way now and I assume that they will provide me a bill for the work.


Scott Harris: For updating, we work through Al [Louden]on those?


Jim Pratt: Al has made note about wanting to get out of it [the responsibility]; but we will continue that arrangement with Al for now.


Scott Harris:  Is there anything we can do encourage a membership drive? What can we do to encourage people to join?

Jim Pratt: We talked about it in the Finance Committee. Otherwise, I have a series of reminders; memberships expire on June 30th whether they require renewal or not.  That [email] goes out in April.  Then in July, I send out a reminder.  In October/September, I send out another reminder.  In August we get an uptick in memberships because of people paying for other organizations’ memberships.  Many people join others but do not join the AFA.  We might have a conversation with the people in those other organizations.  Those organizations can steep up their own memberships by helping with the registration process.  Larry in NIET, they put this out in the initial mailing; “you must join AFA” but different districts enforce it at different levels.  Those are some potential requirements already in place.


Michael Janas: Also, the Alta conference, too. 


Jim Pratt: Right, the other thing we can send out is “we missed you letters” to people who’s memberships expired and its not renewed.  I have that information in the computer. But we might ask, we’d love to have you renew, if you choose not to, why? So we can analyze the membership and see what their reasons are.


Scott Harris: [Regarding] the student memberships, I have graduate students that I can ought to require to join. We can use the student membership initiatives to gather graduate students as part of the professionalization process and encourage them to join.  


Jim Pratt: That’s the idea; we give it [the membership] to them at $20 and send a copy of the journal and then they transport into regular memberships.


Scott Harris: I can encourage other programs to do that. We don’t want to keep declining.  


Jim Pratt: Can I add to that that we put together the proposed budget.  It matches the budget to the amount of money we took in. If we can endorse this [and gain members], we will simply be accepting the ongoing financial support.  


Scott Harris: Is there a new Argumentation conference? Or do we currently have one scheduled for this year?


Jim Pratt: We gave the Argumentation conference 1,000 last year? We told Larry to approach us when they have something [for a forensics conference].


Publications committee:

Stephen Croucher:  

  • We met today.  
  • John [Fritch] finished his tenure of editing.  We had a 16.8% acceptance rates. 148 manuscripts received.
  • We would like to bring some proposals.  These should be unstated but they should be policies to be written. It’s possible that they may be somewhere in the Constitution – somewhere. Jim might know.
  • The first is that Editors and Associate Editors shall not be permitted to publish in the journal, but the exception is the writing of the introduction to an issue. The editor has the right to decide that these are the pieces in here, but the editor should not have a right to put their own piece in there. 


Scott Harris: Editorial policies? Are those formalized somewhere? [Are they] in the constitution?


Harry Weger: The by-laws are in the journal’s front coverage.


Jim Pratt: Bylaw changes need to be voted on.


Scott Harris: We should make a formal notion at the business meeting this evening.  


Stephen Croucher:  4 pm – I can’t be there.


Scott Harris: If you type it up, I’ll present it. 


Michael Janas: What about associate editors?

Stephen Croucher: It would include that, in case it grows to that in the long term.

Scott Harris: But it would not include reviewers, right?  Or no one would apply/submit for publication.


Stephen Croucher: In my other journal, in special issues, we [editors] still have to approve it [the article] because of a fear of guest editors.


Scott Harris: Can these operations just guide Harry to police it?  


Stephen Croucher: It can just be handed over and not voted on.


Jim Pratt: I would recommend forming a structural committee, one that is made up of members of the publications committee and establishes its policies, and that has additional meetings. 


Rich Edwards: Depending on how it is phrased, there could be a variety of [procedures].


Stephen Croucher: The policy could be handed down through editors and publication committee.  The second issue/proposal discussed by our committee is that Editors and Associated Editors must be members of the AFA.  Does that have to be in the bylaws? This is not unusual. [For example,] many memberships work by saying if you attend a conference and you have to be a member.  How many individuals are on these committees who are not members? How many people in this room have their membership up to date?


Scott Harris: We can look it up by the electronic membership directory.


Stephen Croucher: To be nominated you have to have a membership up to date. Some journals may even require the reviewers [to have up-to-date memberships].  To me, to be an editor, you have to be a member. To be on a committee, you have to be a member, according to the bylaws.  


The editor is an officer, but we might want to specify the editor as an officer and as a committee member.


Jim Pratt: We’ll have to use the guide as opposed to assuming.


Michael Janas: I think it might be a bylaw already.  It’s the enforcement part that is difficult.  For example, Rich has to be member as President emeritus.

Scott Harris: The ex-president is a formal position; I didn’t know at the time that it was a 6-year time commitment. 


Jim Pratt: A former president once announced that she was resigning as past President.  

Scott Harris: So we need to find a copy of the bylaws. [Searching for bylaws on the website].


Michael Janas: Is there something that says that officers have to be members? It’s way that is suggesting “Under section 2 membership”


Jim Pratt: Enforcing this will take the place of the projected declines in memberships.


Stephen Croucher: Many universities are asking: do people get credit for publishing in Argument & Advocacy?  It [the journal] might have to change and develop to compete as the market becomes more infiltrated with journals. It’s one of the things that we have to rank.  An editor might come along – when we are eligible for SSCI (social sciences citation index).  


Scott Harris: Should we add the editors to it [the bylaws]?  


Rich Edwards: I would recommend that we do so under the “Election of Officers” Section in the bylaws. 


Scott Harris: Is the editor listed as officer? When do officers need to join by?


Jim Pratt: You can be on the ballot as long as you join before the ballots are printed. 


Scott Harris: Are the editors discussed in the bylaws? Section 9? [confirmed]


Rich Edwards: We can get parallel wording from the other ones [sections].  We can add a sentence after that first sentence.  “Editors should be members of the American Forensics Association”


Scott Harris: “Section 9; Section 1, Selection.”  We can make formal motion at the business meeting to come from the publication committee.  So the wording of that would be: Section 9.1 Selection: add a second sentence: “The editors and associate editors of the AFA shall be members of the American Forensics Association” 


Rich Edwards: And to copy that and insert it under the other section.


Scott Harris: So just make it a motion to add that sentence in the last section after that report?


Jim Pratt: Then, we [members] will need to vote on it after the end of acceptance of the vote.  Then I will send out as a mail ballot and one for the officers.


Scott Harris: The vote of membership is about accepting the report and that accepts the vote on the by-law changes.  


Jim Pratt: We need advance notice for bylaws votes at the meeting. 


Scott Harris: So we don’t vote on it at the business meeting.

Jim Pratt: Well, yes, you should ask for acceptance of report at the business meeting.  


Stephen Croucher: Can say how many manuscripts you have received?


Harry Weger: I received 80 so far.  I started receiving manuscripts in February.  There was some mix up between me and the editorial assistants to assign articles to particular reviewers.  That was exacerbated by the mix up in email addresses.  I have accepted 3 articles, rejected 5 and gave 6 a revise and resubmit.  I did not anticipate how hard it is to get reviewers to send back reviews.  If I can just get one more from about six of them . . . Two of them [authors] are making my revisions; I am hoping to get out the next journal soon: Volume 50 number 1; I’m doing the page proofs; and it should go out on Monday.  I have a special issue.  David Beard [University of Minnesota, Duluth] is the special issue editor: he got the manuscript call out and is getting manuscripts and doing revisions. It [the subject] is on the legacy of Jim Aune and his contribution to argumentation research. So far we have a 21% acceptance rate.  I’d like to get us caught up so we have issues going out; the very last one is on Sally Jacksons’s and Scott Jacobs’s argument about the enthymeme.  It is another special issue. We did a panel for legacies. I think I can make it a double issue with the articles.  I’d like to turn it over to the next editor so we are on time.


Rich Edwards: Bylaws can be mailed or 2/3 of the members could be present for the bylaws to be voted on.  So let’s present it as a separate notion; if we get 2/3 vote; it’s done.  


Scott Harris: And the officers?


Rich Edwards: Doesn’t it cover it directly already?


Scott Harris: This will go under new business.


Harry Weger: I think my membership is current.  I think a renewed it.  


Stephen Croucher: That is all from us. 


Research Committee: 

David Steinberg: 

  • I met with Richard Paine [North Central College] this morning. It’s sadly too easy [to select]. People must not be aware of the awards.
  • For the Rohrer Award, since I’ve been on the committee I’m not sure that we have reviewed many nominations at all. This year, we did have some good things to review.  The Todd T. Holm’s  and Heather Carmack’s article, “Forensics as a Correlate of Graduate School Success,” published in the  Journal of the Association for Communication Administration.
  • For the Dissertation/Thesis Award, We have awarded it to Brett Bricker from the University of Kansas for "A Rhetorical Investigation of Public Disbelief in Climate Science"
  • Two other awards we discussed this year include The Brockriede and Archival Research Award which is awarded to Emma Francis Bloomfield from the University of Southern California for “History of Creationism and Evolution Arguments”
  • And we are finalizing the creation of the Larry Schnoor Award for “Excellence in Forensics Scholarship.” The idea of the award is that it the content of scholarships is often a tiebreaker.  The things [forensics activity] that are most relevant in our pedagogy, practice, and central mission was not always awarded.
  • [Reads wording] “The purpose of the Larry Schnoor Award for Excellence in Forensics Research is to recognize research in competitive academic forensics (Individual Events and/or Debate).  The Research Committee of the American Forensic Association will consider a wide range of manuscripts including unpublished competitive papers which have been presented at academic conferences (e.g. NCA, Alta, etc.) along with published articles, books, theses and dissertations.  Manuscripts nominated for the Schnoor Award may also be considered for the Rohrer Award and the AFA Outstanding Dissertation/Thesis Award.  To nominate a manuscript, a copy of the article, or in the case of a longer work a table of contents and a representative chapter, should be submitted along with a letter of nomination detailing the significance of the work.  The candidate must be a member of AFA.  Self-nominations are welcomed.  External letters supporting the nomination are recommended.  Electronic submissions are preferred.”


Stephen Croucher: I have a question, is the funding coming from AFA?


David Steinberg: From Larry, I believe. I don’t know if Jim Dimock, who is the chair of the committee, and who has wrote most of it, if he has consulted anyone.  We edited it a bit today also.


Stephen Croucher: My question is about the unpublished manuscripts; how much is sent out for publishing or goes to NCA for presentation and stops.  Too much of our research never sees the light of day after the conference.  It is wonderful to have an award, but my concern is that it won’t be published but that it will already be more of NCA – NCA already has awards and those manuscripts already has a chance at those awards.


Michael Janas: AFA does not give top paper awards.


David Steinberg: He didn’t want to exclude the people in other categories in order to not make it a second tier award.  He wants people to submit to the award.


Scott Harris: It could be up to the committee to decide.


Michael Janas: Conversely, it [being awarded] would encourage them to publish it.


Scott Harris: What is the next step?


David Steinberg: We might need to defer for the bylaws. 


Scott Harris: Is there a fund establishing it?


Jim Pratt: The check I got today - $500 and a previous $500.


Rich Edwards: Under the research committee, there is a bylaws section – it does need it.  So this will need to be an amendment in the bylaws under “committees.” It looks like the Research committee has its own bylaws, amended by committee by the bylaws.


Scott Harris: The bylaws just say that we encourage submissions and seek to increase and reward research. 


Rich Edwards: It would be a way to publish it.


Scott Harris: So we could present it in the wording – do we have to have a vote for it?


Rich Edwards: It’s not in the AFA bylaws.  It’s just that the committee hasn’t made the amendments.


Scott Harris: The committee can announce that they are creating the award. If we want to award it next year, we can create this online.  We are supportive of this project and it is the message that we want to send. 


Scott Harris: There is no representation from the other two committees.

  • The Educational and Development Practice Committee, that committee has dealt with ethical issues.  I got a call about the Wake Forest issue regarding how individual competitors are stopping judges from adjudicating them, specifically, whether or not the judge philosophy can preclude them.  The current bylaws do not have guidelines.  There is a possibility that with only 4 members the committee is understaffed.  They are trying to find people to be part of the process and decide how they operate procedurally and to determine whether it [the guidelines] need updated.  So that is the guidance needed to move it forward.  I don’t think they have any other issues.
  • Professional Development left before we got their room.
  • There is also no representation from the NDT/NIET committees – so I don’t know of any other old or new committee business.
  • Nominating committees: We need a report.  Jared has a list of all of those who have agreed to run.  We have elections coming up. We’ll get a report from them for the 4 pm meeting.  I need to add that to the agenda.  
  • Anything from High School affairs to report on?


Tim Mahoney: No.


Rich Edwards: John [Fritch] asked me to ask Jim [Pratt] about the NDT. He is concerned that the AFA and NDT might be sued over racial discrimination related to tournament structure and judging assignment. The question is whether we have insurance that would cover the organization?


Jim Pratt: No.  We have a general liability insurance policy but it would not cover that kind of lawsuit.


Stephen Croucher: What about legal fees/ How would the AFA handle it?


Jim Pratt: It is a line item, which has zero expense.  It would require us to seek legal advice from formal members or a firm and we have never been sued for the professional liability.  It is very costly to have that kind of insurance.  We were also advised it was not necessary, and I don’t know how it would apply, 


Stephen Croucher: If it started with threat to sue the tournament and whether that is institutional racism or not.  Then the question becomes, if the AFA is sponsoring and circumstances arrive that foster institutional racism, then what liability does the AFA have if someone were to make accusation? 


Rich Edward: I don’t want to argue against inquiring into the policy. John is concerned enough that it will likely influence his involvement in whether or not to stay involved.  Not that he is afraid to be sued but [he is asking:] why do I need this and why do I need to have my institution attached to this sentiment?


One discussion came up about the speech committee of the National Federation of High School – college people could gain coverage as part of this group. It provides beyond 1 million dollars beyond your liability. 


Michael Janas: My experience with this has to do with liability insurance. We hired an attorney, who clarified as long as the college/tournament are part of the service that fall under liability of the insurance.  Our tenure documents indicate how people are identified. If the normal coach is responsible to attend and host tournaments than you are largely immune to specific liabilities.  It would only be if AFA involved private contractors.  NCA ultimately agreed to that interpretation.  


Scott Harris: Having insurance might make you more likely to be sured.


Stephen Croucher: From a coaching point of view, as many of them [coaches] find that tenure jobs are going away, there is an increase pressure placed on competitiveness. I would assume that many of these individuals assume that they might lose programs if they didn’t win or if they lost.  I assume you may see people who don’t win threatening to sue, so it is a conversation to have based on how the organization/association is protected, and what does the national tournament do if not protected.  I can see that as a relevant issue based on the role of the AFA.


Rich Edward: But for the kind of budgets we are working with, securing the insurance would eat that budget in a few years.  I think the answer would be, since we are talking about an effort to try to negotiate differences in a reasonable way, is trying to find some former member who is an attorney who wants to see the NDT survive.


Stephen Croucher: Could we use the legal funds to find a lawyer to recommend, contractually how do we protect the tournament? How do we protect the tournament director and include it in the bylaws?


Scott Harris: Does the AFA have formal authority or just guidelines?


Jim Pratt: The code is a normative document; if we moved in and threatened sanctions than we could be in trouble, but we don’t do that.  


Stephen Croucher: Have we included verbiage that that protects us? 


Rich Edwards: From my opinion, of course it doesn’t.  Anyone can sue anyone.  I went through this experience so we attained an attorney to prepare for being sued bu then the suit was not forthcoming.  People can sue you for anything, whether they can succeed is another thing.


Jim Pratt: If you seek generic advice, wouldn’t your schools liability policies protect you at all?

How are they suing the organization?


Stephen Croucher: EEOC?


Jim Pratt: But we are not an employer.


Stephen Croucher: So we just wait to see if anyone goes crazy.


Rich Edwards: We don’t have insurance. We can’t afford it, so we might lose some good people.  


Scott Harris: We can recommend to directors, don’t be negligent. Be component and follow best practices.  


Michael Janas: As long as you pay attention, we are fine. 


Erika Thomas: I want to make sure that the newsletters are still of value to the membership.  They website it only periodically updated; are the newsletters still of helpful to the membership?


Jim Pratt: We provide a service with the online directory and the tournament calendar.  I would suggest that we continue to have those periodic publications.  Just send out a short one. I’m going to continue to send them out via email.  It reminds people about the AFA. The minutes are the only record of what goes on in the national meetings.  So we need to preserve them.  


Scott Harris: And we can all be better about emailing updates and information for the newsletters.


The business meeting is at 4 o’clock and the reception is in the Governors Boardroom. It [the meeting] is in the Hampton Room.   The boardroom is right around the corner.  There shouldn’t be any logistical problems; they spread things out nicely into the foyer area. There will be stand up tables and hors d’oeuvres on the tables on side. 


Michael Janas: Jim deserves credit for being ahead the curve on the reception.  


Scott Harris: Motion to adjourn the meeting.


Move to adjourn.




All in favor? I.


Meeting adjourned at 1:30 pm





American Forensic Association Business Meeting

November 20, 2013, 4:00 – 7:00 pm

Hampton Room

Washington D.C. 

Meeting called to order at 4:18 PM p.m. by Scott Harris.


Scott Harris: 

  • There is no new business that will require such a long meeting.
  • Also, it is a paperless meeting. There is no printed formal agenda. 
  • First I recognize Rich Edwards as parliamentarian [of the proceedings.] 
  • I don’t believe that we have reports of any past officers.


Michael Janas: [Regarding NCA,] If you didn’t find a slot, submissions were up this year.  We still don’t have a ton of slots, but many submissions.

Scott Harris: Two years ago they [submissions] were low. We’ll move to our standing committee reports.


Finance Committee Report

Ben Voth:

  • We met at 10 am; we did review last year’s budget.
  • The only highlight is that we did see a decline in memberships and set a goal for increasing the memberships or we should just encourage more members of the community to join.  We’d like to see more memberships; if your membership has lapsed.  AFA is a great deal for [grauate] students; it is only $20.00 [at the student rate].
  • We discussed a couple of other items.
  • Jim Pratt will present last year’s budget 


Jim Pratt:

  • The news from the budget front is good.  There was a little bit of an expense, but it wasn’t over-spent but because the dues income was lower. Christmas is coming and AFA membership is wonderful.  
  • Memberships remain strong at institutional level.
  • I would accompany with our major other income item, guaranteed royalties of $35,000 and we are exceeding what they promised us.
  • Otherwise, there is nothing of great interest in income category.
  • Non-income items – we take in money for other forensics organizations and it amounts to $28,000 dollars.  That is a service we provide to the rest of the forensics community. 
  • We placed a charge; we take in 100% and send out 97%.  It [the fee] defrays the expense of taking the credit card payments.
  • Other expenses are pretty reasonable. $1100 for the accountant – it is incorporated in Indiana as 501(c)3 so that means that all of you can donate money to us and take it as tax deduction.  So put that on your Christmas list, too.  We do all of the required tax return items for non-profit organizations. We put the NDT and NIET accounts in there making it reasonably complex; it is money well spent to keep me out of prison. It guarantees $100 for a bond; that’s what you get if I decide to run off to the Bahamas; you’ll get it back.
  • Happily, we have no legal fees.
  • [Postage:] Most of the correspondence has switched to email – all renewable notices are now sent by email.  We have 3 members who do not have email accounts and we print out the notices and put them in the mail. 
  • I send renewal notices, and initial ones, even if you are life members so it is completely up to date, and I send periodic reminders. If there are other constituencies, I am happy to send them out and I welcome your suggestions.
  • The Presidential office is for the convention costs and receptions at the convention.  Our reception is at the Governor’s Board room and I have ordered my usual fine selection of hourdeouvers 
  • Regarding Argumentation & Advocacy nothing particular to report there. The journal is doing well. We have a new incoming editor.
  • I hope you had an opportunity to use the online directory.  As you can see on the line, its costs are reasonable because it is virtually nothing.  We don’t print directories and mail them out anymore.  The information [in the directory] is only available for the members.
  • That is all I have to say about the budget


Question: Jim, in an effort to encourage the memberships, how do we market joining the AFA?


Jim Pratt: The big benefit I would promote is the 2 charter tournaments. We give $2500 a year to the annual tournaments.  Also, for all institutions, they need to have a member of the AFA on the coaching staff.  All of you who are participating in the community, you could promote us with your friends. We support you and you support us. We are happy to provide the support.  The journal is a benefit to promote.  Incidentally we offered the non-journal option, we have only 6 people that chose it.  Most members do want the journal; but it’s wonderful that they do have the option.  Our fellow forensics organizations are quite enthusiastic about us for offering to support us.


We have the budget sheet in the back. It is straightforward and matches the actual expenditures this year.  It’s the same old. 


On behalf of the finance committee, I invite a motion to approve the budget for 2014


So moved

Ben Voth: Second


Motion passes.


Scott Harris: There are other arguments that transcend our own myopic areas. There is the importance of people engaging in forensics across the discipline. I’m going to encourage all our graduate students to join.  I’m going to pay for them to get them to join and gain acclimation to service organization.

We should work together to stop the attrition of memberships.


Research Committee Report

David Steinberg: 

  • The committee considered the submissions for 3 award categories.
  • There were not a large number of submissions.  Get the word out and encourage others to submit.  
  • The Rohrer Award is awarded to Todd Holm and Heather Carmack for their article, “Forensics as a correlate of graduate school success,” published in the

Journal of Communication Administration

  • The Outstanding Dissertation Award is awarded to Brett Bricker from the University of Kansas, "A Rhetorical Investigation of Public Disbelief in Climate Science."
  • The Brockriede and Archival Research Award is awarded to Emma Frances Bloomfield, University of Southern California, “History of Creationism and Evolution Arguments”
  • We are announcing a new award for research and scholarship in the area of competitive academic forensics (individual events and/or debate). The Committee is establishing the “The Larry Schnoor Award for Excellence in Forensics Research.”
    • These particular [Forensics] areas have been either dismissed or not honored in light of other submissions.  
    • AFA will consider a range of manuscripts including unpublished competitive papers (from academic conferences) along with published articles, books, theses and dissertations.  Manuscripts nominated for this Award may also be considered for the Rohrer Award and the AFA Outstanding Dissertation/Thesis Award.  To nominate a manuscript, provide a copy of the article or a representative chapter, along with a letter of nomination detailing the significance of the work.
    • To be eligible for the award, you must be a member of the AFA. Self or external nominations are welcome. The award is named in honor Larry Schnoor for Excellence in Forensics Research.


Question: Do all the awards have that stipulation [you must be a member of the AFA], or just that particular award?


David Steinberg: I don’t know.  If not, they certainly all should.  It is in the purview of the committee to propose it, but its just acting on enforcement and it can be done. 


Motion to approve the report.


Move to approve.




All in favor? I.


Motion passes.


Educational and Development Practice Committee Report: 

  • Does not have an official report.  We are looking forward to a future committee meetings and a year of great discussions that might be coming to our attention.  


Motion to approve the report.


Move to approve.




All in favor? I.


Motion passes.


Professional Development and Support Committee Report

  • Four out of six committee members were in attendance.  
  • We elected the chair for next year – David Gaer is the committee chair, at Lone Star College – North Harris.  
  • Most of the committee members intend to keep serving.  
  • This year’s service award nominee was a slam-dunk.  It is awarded to someone who served consecutively for 25 years straight, served as a chair for the NIET and recently served a second term. This year, we have selected, from George Mason University, Dr. Peter Prober. We’d like to present the award to him at the NIET in April.


Motion to approve the report.


Move to approve.




All in favor? I.


Motion passes.


Publications Committee Report:

  • There is one item that we will be voting on.
  • The transition in Argumentation & Advocacy going smoothly and successfully.  Things are proceeding well, but we have no formal committee report


NIET Committee Report

Peter Pober:

  • The 2013 NIET had 78 schools competing with over 1400 slots.
  • Hutchinson Community College, Hutchinson, KS could not have been more hospitable – the only thing that went wrong was the wind – they blew the postings.  
  • The Committee would like to publicly thank the tournament hosts: Professors Travis Roberts and Kenny Hopkinson and the Hutchinson Community College Forensics Program for their hard work 
  • Larry Schnoor, Professor Emeritus from Minnesota State University, Mankato, again served as the tournament director.  
  •   The 2014 AFA-NIET will be held April 4-7, 2014 at Arizona Sate University with Professor Nicholas Butler serving as the tournament host, and Professor Larry Schnoor as tournament director.  
  •   Professor Schnoor indicates that there are two bids for the 2016-2017 NIET
  •   The NIET Committee has also selected Lewis & Clark College, Portland, Oregon to host the 2015 NIET.
  • The organization is flourishing and thriving, and we are excited.  I will now turn to Karen Morris, the NIET committee secretary to address issue of bylaws and charters.


Karen Morris: We know our constitution goes to the AFA, not sure where/how it is to be approved.  


Peter Pober: It has to go to a mail vote but Karen does not know procedurally if it needs to first be discussed here.  


Jim Pratt: An amendment to the charter needs to be written


Karen Morris: It has been done.


Jim Pratt: Tell us about it and then we’ll discuss it and send it out in the mail.


Peter Pober: There were several changes and we worked through them a long time.  It has to go to the membership for a complete vote.  We are happy with the changes; none of it is controversial.


Karen Morris: Many of the changes involved clearing up the wording about memberships.  The Vice-chair was not in the constitution so the position is now in it. Also, the student representatives were not in the constitution, so now the reps are in it.  A lot of it [changes in wording in the constitution/bylaws] was in the committee membership language; clarifying that.  The actual duties and rules of the organization did not change; there was wording that needed to be clarified for a very long time now.  


Rich Edwards looks at Changes of unrevised (changes in red)


Scott Harris: My understanding of the process is that we discuss the changes and vote to change them and then it goes to the ballot and that must include pro and con arguments of it, but that those need to be included in the ballot as well.

So, do we have a motion on the floor to make change(s) to the Constitution?


Motion to make changes.


Move to approve.




All in favor? I.


Motion passes.


Karen Morris: I made several of the changes.  They have gone through the committee as a whole – NIET and NDT.  


James Klumpp: Do you want it voted on as group?


Peter Pober: The answer is yes. We had formed an ad hoc committee to address the issues and they provided a year full of detail work.


Motion to submit the changes made in the NIET constitution to a ballot for membership vote.


So move to submit the changes made to the NIET constitution to a ballot for a vote.




All in favor? I.


Motion passes.


Peter Pober: Regarding he ballot, who designs that?  


Jim Pratt: I would prefer that Karen wrote it and I will send it out along with the ballots.


Peter Pober: I want to formally thank Professor Karen Morris of the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire for her wonderful work as NIET committee secretary.


NDT Committee Report:

Gordon Stables  

  • The NDT was held at Weber University in 2013. Tournament demographics are up there were more individual schools than ever - 74 schools in attendance.
  • Indiana University is hosting both CEDA and NDT this spring.
  • In response to the NIET report, [that the organization is healthy and thriving], there’s the other end of the spectrum; currently relations [in the NDT] are a bit contentious. We are seriously involved with a first discussion of many to come regarding members seeking dissolution.  Given that we [AFA] have a number of obligations to the NDT, this is really good time as a constituent to encourage programs to remain members.  However, this is not the first time we have decided to get together or leave each other.
  • The 2016 host of the NDT is unsettled. Member institutions are hesitant to place a bid.  The organization is working to provide directions, end disagreements.  It is a key time to articulate the values that you hold dear and that is an important way that voices are heard.  


Question: Is there anything that we can we do locally to help promote the NDT and NIET? Any action that we [forensics educators] can do to be supportive for you?


Gordon Stables: It is more so about giving support and encouragement to the schools in your region.  One challenge is that there is more of a national identity then a regional identity.  Schools that might be considered long-time supporters might not stay in the activity/organization.  The larger community cannot afford the losses. There is a lot of conversation that needs to take place.


Scott Harris: Such as [a conversation about] not attacking one another on FB is another issue. 


Nominating Committee Report

Sarah Stone Watt:


  • The Committee met and the following individuals are nominated:
  • VP:
    • Mike Davis
    • Gordon Stables
    • Ben Voth
  • High School Representative:
    • Shunta Jordan
    • Tim Mahoney
    • Aaron Vinson
    • Heather Walters
  • Community College Representative:
    • Darren Elliott
    • Josh House
  • Nominating Committee:
    • Rebecca Buel
    • Heather Hayes
    • John Koch
    • Paul Johnson
    • Donny Peters
    • Shanara Reid-Brinkley
    • Adam Symonds
    • Richard Tews


Motion to approve the slate of candidates.


Move to approve.




All in favor? I.


Motion passes.


New Business

Scott Harris: 

  • One item of new business is proposing an amendment to the bylaws, which requires a vote to the people here. Currently is it not a formal requirement for the editor to be a member of the AFA.
  • We would adjust the following in the Section 9.1: After the sentence: “In the event of death or resignation of an editor or associate editor, the appropriate authority as designated herein may appoint a replacement to complete the unexpired term.” Insert the line: “All editors shall be members of the AFA associations.” 


Motion to approve.


Move to approve.




All in favor? I.


Motion passes.


James Klumpp: You want to make sure that you have them [editors/submitters] from a broad range.  For [journal submissions], you may want to encourage it rather than require it. You can provide them with an invitation that informs them about the membership for $75.00.  


Scott Harris: They envision this for one day when the journal grows.


James Klumpp: So this [requirement] is not for . . .?


Scott Harris/Rich Edwards: This is not a requirement for the editorial board . . . or a reviewer.


I once received a prestigious invitation to join the Journal of Forensics Science. I think it is a great idea that our members are involved 


Motion to make changes.


Move to approve.




All in favor? I.


Motion passes.


Any other new or old business? 


Question: Where can the [AFA] bylaws be found?

Scott Harris: On the website you can find the 2009 Bylaws. Have they [the bylaws] been updated since? [If so,] We’ll notify Al Louden to make the changes. One of the things we are working on is to try to get the website more updated.  We are kinda dependent on Al to do them until we find a Webmaster.


Question (David Steinberg): How do we arrange the expenses of trophies and plaques? We will need hardware for the award winners.  I am not sure of the Distinguished Service Award plaque was ever sent to Jon Bruschke.


Jim Pratt: I respond to direct requests to do that.  Typically they either do that or do it themselves.  It would be taken care of. Would you send me an email?


Scott Harris: Motion to adjourn the meeting.


Move to adjourn.




All in favor? I.


Meeting adjourned at 5:00 pm.












JULY 1ST, 2012 - JUNE 30TH, 2013















Dues: 1-yr indiv/inst @$75




Life total=

Dues: 2-yr indiv/inst @$135





Dues: Life memberships @$600




Dues paid=

Dues: Institutional (agency) @$76.50





Dues: Institutional @$85





Dues: Non-journal @$50





Dues: Student @$20





     Dues subtotal










Back issue sales, A&A/Alta, @$20, $30, $35





Ballot income (paid invoices)





Donations (Archives)










Mailing labels, @ $50





Miscellaneous income





Permission fees, @$50










     Total income















ADA memberships, $50, $10





CEDA memberships, $150, $40, $30





DSR-TKA memberships, $50





NDCA memberships @ $30, $250





NDT Subscriptions @ $50, AL, & tournament income





NFA memberships @ $40





NIET Subscriptions @ $30, $50, tournament income





NPDA memberships @ $30





MAFL & TCFL @ $150










     Total: Income + Non-income






























Bank charges










Corporate fees (Indiana)















Legal fees










Mastercard/Visa & PayPal fees





Photocopying & printing, general





PO Box Rent (1 yr)





Postage, Postage Meter (excluding A&A)















Stationery & Supplies










Trophies & plaques















President's Office





Forensics organizations reception, New Orleans










Coffee breaks, other hospitality




















Ballot expenses





Miles Co.: Printing ballots





Miles Co.: Shipping & handling















Committee expenses:










Internet fees





Internet/Web site maintenance:










National Tournaments





NDT Support ($2,500, included in transfer)





NIET Support ($2,500, included in transfer)















Argumentation & Advocacy





Cadmus-Science Press, 48/4

(Incl. postage)




Cadmus-Science Press, 49/1

(incl.  postage)




Cadmus-Science Press, 49/2

(incl. postage)




Subtotal, 3 issues





Average issue cost:





Editorial Assistants: 2 @ $1,200.00















Directory (On-line)










Argumentation Conference (Proceedings)





Debate Conference





Forensics Conference





Research Awards










Total Expenses





Total of Income less Expenses





Transfer from Reserve Funds






























To Life Member Reserve





To National Debate Tournament





To National Individual Events Tournament



































Total Transfers





Total: Expenses + Transfers















Paid invoices (incl. shipping & handling)





Accounts Receivable





Total sales





Less shipping & handling





Ballot sales @ $.15





Miles Co., print ballots





Average cost per ballot





Ballot inventory retail value





Balance: Ballot income - expenses















General savings





Life Member Reserve





McGee Award





NDT Board of Trustees





Brockriede Memorial

























SUMMARY OF ASSETS: June 30, 2013










General savings, Money Market account





    Available cash 





General savings, CDs





Life Member Reserve CDs





Brockriede Memorial Money Market Account & CDs





McGee Award Money Market Account





NDT Board of Trustees CDs





Accounts Receivable

























James W. Pratt, Executive Secretary













Approved: November 20, 2013











Membership, individual 70 @ $75




Membership, individual 2-year, 25 @ $135




Membership, institutional, 225 @ $76.50 net




Membership, non-journal, 10 @ $50




Membership, student, 20 @ $20




Membership, life, 5 @ $600




  *3,000 to Life Member Reserves)




Ballot income








Royalties and permissions







Total income



















Vice President




Executive Secretary




AFA Newsletter




Argumentation & Advocacy, 4 issues




Argumentation & Advocacy, Editor




Argumentation Conference




Ballot expenses




Debate Conference




ED&P Committee




Finance Committee




Forensics Developmental Conference








NDT Committee




NIET Committee




PD&S Committee




Research Awards




Web Site Maintenance/Internet











Total expenses:




Unbudgeted reserve







Total, Expenses plus reserve