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CLASH By-Laws

 amended 2015 (Original in PDF)

NATURE OF ORGANIZATION

Clash is a voluntary, Christian, home‐schooling, family‐based organization which provides coaching and practice in debate and communication skills. CLASH also sponsors speech and debate tournaments. No member or parent of Clash receives wages for their role in Clash, although the club director family dues are waived. Members join in order to help each other advance in the art of debate. Leaders in Clash are not required to provide  “coaching”  per se, but  instead  volunteer to facilitate the cooperative work of all members and their families.

Clash Debate Club provides its members with a community in which they can refine their own skills and the skills of their teammates. The immediate purpose of the club is to produce debaters of both technical excellence and Christian integrity.

When Clash teams  attend tournaments, they are required to register their affiliation with  Clash. Clash debaters are expected to help each other to do their best at tournaments.

Clash is organized into a number of small groups called “cell groups,” each led by one or two “cell group leaders,” often adult volunteers. The cell groups provide a comfortable setting for students to discuss what they are learning and practicing. The cell groups encourage a firm sense of community and teamwork.

CLASH LEADERSHIP

Clash leadership is divided into several areas: the Clash Board who oversee and govern the primary corporate decisions of the club, the Clash Director who oversees the content and direction of the regular club meetings, and the cell groups leaders who oversee and guide a small group of students throughout the year.  These major leadership positions are supported by other parent and student volunteer jobs.  Everyone in a major leadership position must be a committed follower of Christ with an active Christian faith.

Clash is governed by a Board consisting of parents of current or former Clash debaters. Usually, the spouse of a Board member is also a Board member. The Board is self‐appointing. Board meetings are run by a chairman, who has been designated by the previous chairman.  Any Board member can call a meeting, with the concurrence of the chairman. Historically, the Board has met several times per year. Board meetings are by invitation only.

Day‐to‐day executive responsibility is delegated by the Board to the club director. The  director normally sits on the Board. The director’s main task is to plan and run regular club meetings, with the help of other club members.

The Board appoints a treasurer to oversee club finances, which consist of a club bank account(cosigned by the treasurer and Board chairman), deposits from member dues & tournament revenue, and expenditures for honoraria to teachers and speakers, tournaments, social events, etc. The treasurer may seek outside help in order to fulfill this function. The use of this account is at the sole discretion of the Board.

The Board appoints a secretary from the Board to take minutes. 

The Board determines dues for members, payable per semester. (Each season has two semesters.)  Parents of debaters are responsible for paying membership dues in a timely manner. The treasurer is responsible for arranging dues collection. 

The Board is responsible for overseeing club membership, setting club rules, determining the number and timing of club meetings and tournaments, authorizing fees and expenditures, supporting and mentoring club leaders, guiding club culture, and praying for the welfare of the club.

The Board is not directly responsible for day‐to‐day operations, for coaching, or for the running of club meetings or tournaments—it delegates such responsibilities.

Cell group leaders are volunteers appointed by the Board. These leaders are responsible to know the students in their cell groups and help them grow in their debate skills. A student’s sense of belonging within the club community depends in large part on the attention  and care of the cell group leader.

Conversely, students are required to respect the authority of the cell group leaders who serve them (Matthew  20:27). Students must cooperate with them in cell group meetings, attend to their instruction and counsel, and help them to mentor other students. Cell group leaders may call their groups to practice sessions and other exercises outside of club meetings, and members are expected to participate.

Problems in the club are to be handled first with the families immediately concerned, second with leaders immediately connected with them, and finally (only if necessary) with the Board (Matthew 18:15‐17).

Parents, debaters, cell group leaders, and the Board all mutually agree to recognize themselves as under the final authority of Jesus Christ, as revealed in the Holy Scriptures.

PARENT RESPONSIBILITY

The Club recognizes that parents are the key authority in the lives of the debaters, and expects that parents will exercise that authority in their student’s Clash membership, by ensuring compliance with club rules and culture, and by working diligently with the students.

Parents are also expected to help keep the club running by assisting in various tasks and duties, such as helping to run tournaments, providing snacks, helping in leadership, etc. So that we may work together effectively, at least one parent of each debater must attend the club meetings each week or make arrangements with the Clash club director and/or Board.

MEMBERSHIP

Membership in Clash is open to families who meet the following criteria:
  1. At least one parent must be a Christian who can sign and wholeheartedly endorse the Nicene Creed.
  2. Student participants are between the ages of 11 and 19.
  3. Student participants are primarily home schooled.
Membership in Clash is a privilege.  It may be revoked by the Board for students who fail to uphold the club philosophy or who violate the Behavior agreement signed at the beginning of the year.

The Board shall determine the size of the club. To maintain continuity, we generally give priority to members from past seasons, siblings of members, and new partners of members.  We are always eager to meet and form new associations with friendly and hardworking debaters, although we cannot always offer membership if the club is already full. 

Membership must be requested from the Clash Board in writing. There is an application form which specifies the information that must be supplied. Membership decisions are at the sole discretion of the Board.

Members pay dues at the beginning of each semester of membership. (There are no dues during the off‐season when the club is not meeting.)  For people who join part way through the season, membership for part of a semester incurs a full semester’s dues.

MULTIPLE CLUBS

In order to maintain the best possible community spirit, Clash does not permit simultaneous membership in Clash and in other debate clubs, even if the student is participating only in the speech portion of that club. In our experience, dual membership in clubs can be disruptive to the sense of teamwork in our club. 

No Clash member may be a member of another debate club. Members of Clash may not partner in team policy for the year with members of other clubs. Partners of Clash members are expected to join Clash also. If a Clash member partners with a debater outside of Clash, that debater must resign from any prior club and join Clash before that team competes in any qualifying tournament. (A “qualifying tournament” is any tournament which qualifies some of its winners for participation in another tournament, such as nationals  or NITOC. Partnering rules do not apply to non‐qualifying tournaments or one time partnerships when a student’s regular partner is not available.).   

For the purposes of these bylaws, a “club” is any organization or group which provides regular practice or coaching for team policy debate tournaments, or which registers debaters  in such tournaments.

Evidence of “membership” in another club includes paying of dues or fees to that club, registering in any tournament as affiliated with that club, regularly practicing with or receiving coaching from that club, or any other club‐related activity which appears to the Clash leadership to compromise the trust and teamwork enjoyed among the members of Clash.

Debaters from other clubs are welcome to come as visitors and listen to Clash meetings from time to time. They must obtain prior approval from the director. 

There are many excellent coaching opportunities available. If Clash members find them in another club, they are requested to resign their Clash membership.

This rule does not prevent Clash members from obtaining extra coaching on an individual basis, unless that coaching is provided in the setting of a club other than Clash. As a matter of courtesy, cell group leaders should be informed of such activities, and such activities should be made available (when appropriate) to other club members.

PARTNERING  PROCESS

The choice of one’s debate partner is an important one, determined by many subtle factors, including the personality, schedule, skills, goals, and family situation of the individuals involved. Because partnering is a highly personal decision, Clash policy leaves both the control and responsibility of partnering almost completely to debaters and their parents.

The choice of a partner is also a serious matter. Each partner relies on the other partner to invest much time and effort in the partnership. Partnering in team policy debate should be viewed as a commitment lasting a full season.  Partnering for parliamentary debate is more flexible but students and their parents should communicate carefully with their partners about their goals for higher levels of competition such as state or national tournaments that teams qualify for as a unit. 

Clash does not guarantee that a debater will be given a partner. Debater families must find and choose partners for themselves.

Teams must inform the Clash leadership of their proposed partnership. They must sign the partnering agreement that declares and records the intentions of the debaters and their parents, and the approval of the club leadership.

If a team wishes to break up, they must notify the Clash leadership. It is expected that the decision to dissolve a partnership will be mutual, not unilateral.

Debaters are expected to choose their partners in a timely manner. It is especially important for senior debaters to choose partners early in the season. Note that non-qualifying tournaments (or “round robins”) early in the season provide an opportunity for debaters to try each other out as partners. Partnering in non-qualifying tournaments is not governed by these partnering rules.

For purposes of overseeing partnering decisions, the set of “Clash leaders” consists of Board members and cell group leaders.

PARLIAMENTARY DEBATE

Parliamentary debate is distinct from team policy debate since resolutions are new in each round of debate. Because of this, partnerships for parliamentary debate can be changed more easily. Please see partnering section above.  

Parliamentary debate also requires a higher level of analysis and maturity. Because of this, participation in parliamentary debate by a Clash debater is restricted to students who have met one of the following conditions:
  1. Competed for two or more years in another debate format. 
    or 
  2. Age sixteen by January 1st of the competition year.

MULTIPLE LEAGUES

Clash is privileged to participate in multiple debate leagues. Participation in any tournament or league is restricted to the rules and eligibility requirements of those leagues.  Not every Clash debater will be able to take advantage of every opportunity.

APPEALS

In cases of hardship, these bylaws can be adjusted to individual cases, at the sole discretion of the Clash Board. Requests for a variation must show good cause, and must be submitted to the Clash Board in writing. They, and the answer given by the Board, become part of the minutes of the Board.
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Frank Tang,
Sep 2, 2015, 8:13 AM
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Frank Tang,
Jul 24, 2014, 11:24 AM