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It is a privilege to qualify for acceptance as a member of the UTEP Forensics Team and to be selected to represent The University of Texas at El Paso in intercollegiate forensics tournaments, but with this privilege comes specific responsibilities based on a sincere commitment to obey state and federal laws, university rules and common sense standards of behavior with the intent of enhancing rather than detracting from the reputations of the UTEP Forensics Program and The University of Texas at El Paso.


While most fields of university study are oriented toward lecture-intensive theoretical classroom instruction, forensics is dominated by the practical experience of competition between peers in settings removed from the home classroom and campus.  Travel to intercollegiate tournaments is the central activity of any forensics program and may be defined as the fundamental and distinguishing characteristic of forensic training.  Travel to intercollegiate forensics tournaments is therefore a central, rather than peripheral, part of a student's participation as a member of the UTEP Forensics Team.  Student travel to any forensics tournament may thus be seen as analogous to a business trip, in which the individual employee represents the employer; it must correspondingly be seen as a practical laboratory extension of class instruction in one or both of the two Forensics practicums: Speech 2221, Practicum in Forensic Debate, and Speech 2222, Practicum in Forensic Individual Events.  In this important analogy, the student while traveling as a member of the UTEP Forensics Team is participating in a practical laboratory experience which is directly a part of UTEP class enrollment and activity.  The considerable educational benefit derived both significantly and sufficiently rewards the student for the effort invested.  No portion of such travel should be seen as personal recreational time.


Travel by students of the UTEP Forensics Program to intercollegiate tournaments is conducted and supervised by University faculty, which may include the Director of Forensics, faculty coaches, and graduate teaching assistants, and is sponsored, supported and financed in full by The University of Texas at El Paso utilizing student service fees funded through the Office of Student Affairs.  Therefore, the University, its faculty, and students have invested their reputations, expertise, time, and money in the development and education of forensics squad members as contest speakers.  The conduct of each squad member reflects not only on the student but also on The University of Texas at El Paso as a whole; the reputation and good standing of a degree from this institution is either enhanced or endangered by the conduct of its students.  Inappropriate behavior upon the part of one or more students that may detract from the reputation of the University will result at a minimum in dismissal from the UTEP Forensics Team and may result in the immediate return of the student(s) to El Paso at the student(s) expense.


In order to discuss this important topic in detail, a portion of the "Student Life Policies and Procedures" section of the UTEP Undergraduate Catalog has been reproduced with the addition of some explanatory comments represented in brackets [ ] in the following paragraphs.  To review this material in its entirety, please consult The University of Texas at El Paso Undergraduate Studies Catalog.



     "While enrolled at the University a student neither loses the rights nor escapes the responsibilities of citizenship.  A student who violates the law is subject to punishment by civil authorities or civil and campus authorities if the act is committed in conjunction with a campus activity.  All students are expected and required to obey the law, to show respect for properly constituted authority and to observe correct standards of conduct.


     Students are expected to maintain a high standard of honor in their scholastic work.  Scholastic dishonesty, which includes the attempt of any student to present as his own the work of another, or any work which he has not honestly performed, or attempting to pass any examination by improper means" [and which may result in violation of the standards of ethical conduct expected in forensics competition] "is a serious offense and will subject the student to disciplinary action.  The aiding and abetting of a student in any dishonesty is held to be an equally serious offense.


     The use, possession, or sale of any illegal drugs including any amount of marijuana on the campus of the University" [or, by extension, while on a university-sponsored trip such as travel to a forensics tournament] "is prohibited at all times.  Any such use, possession, or sale is a violation of Regents' Rules and Regulations and of University policies governing student conduct, as well as a violation of State Law.  In addition to possible criminal prosecution, student offenders will be subject to disciplinary action by the University.  The minimum disciplinary penalty which will be imposed is suspension from the University for at least one year although permanent expulsion from the University could result.


     Computer usage violations, use of alcoholic beverages, dishonesty, gambling, defacing of property, endangering the health or safety of others, use of abusive or vulgar language, altering of records, possession or use of firearms, failure to respond promptly to official notices, etc., will subject the student to disciplinary action.


     The obstruction or disruption of any teaching, research, administrative, disciplinary, public service or other authorized activity on campus" [and, by extension, on forensics trips] "is prohibited and will subject the student or group of students to disciplinary action.  . . .



     Penalties which may be imposed by the Dean of Students in conjunction with the approved disciplinary procedures include the following: admonition, disciplinary probation, withholding of grades, official transcript or degree, restitution, failing grade, denial of degree, suspension and expulsion, or revocation of degree and withdrawal of diploma.  In addition, certain privileges may be withdrawn consistent with the severity of the offense and the rehabilitation of the student.  These penalties may be imposed singularly or in any combination upon individuals, groups or organizations."



A UTEP Forensics Team student member, like members of other specially selected campus groups, is considered a good will representative of the University and is expected to maintain a standard of conduct higher than that expected of other students.  The rules that follow are common sense standards of behavior especially pertinent to forensic travel and are stated in addition to those stated or adapted from the "Student Life Policies and Procedures" cited above.



As tournament travel as defined above must be seen as business travel or a practical laboratory extension of the forensics classroom, students may not leave the group for any personal reason without specific written permission of the Director of Forensics or a faculty coach.  During on-tournament hours, this means staying in the part of campus dedicated to the tournament.  Quick lunch breaks are acceptable if rounds are not missed.  Students are expressly instructed to watch and learn from all tournament rounds even during times when they are not expected to perform.  During off-tournament hours, staying with the group means attending meals announced for the general squad and staying on the grounds of the tournament hotel.  On occasion, the coach may choose to approve brief visits (with close relatives, for example) which involve leaving the group, but both coach and student must understand that the coach is responsible for students in a travel situation, and must know where students are at all times.  Any such requested and approved visits should not cut into time needed for sleep or preparation for the activity for which the trip is funded.



Students must sleep in the rooms assigned to them.  Courtesy to roommates is required.  Conflict with roommates should be reported to coaches.  A sensible effort to get enough sleep must be supported by all roommates.  This means low noise volume, and lights out early enough to allow all approximately eight hours of sleep a night.  Do not keep roommates awake by staying up after hours, even to practice.  To allow all roommates undisturbed sleep, friends and family should be told not to telephone after hours.  Curfews set by coaches must be observed.



Clothing, although it need not be expensive, should be neat, clean and appropriate to tournament travel or competition norms.  Personal cleanliness is required.  Squad members are reminded that their behavior and language use reflects on the reputation of our university.  Courtesy is not only important, but contributes to competitive acceptance.



As tobacco smoke is a known health hazard, smoking is prohibited in University buildings; by extension, no smoking will be allowed in automobiles or vans during squad use.  Efforts may be made to room smokers with smokers in designated hotel smoking sections.  However, if one roommate is a non-smoker, no one will smoke in that hotel room.  Team members are reminded that they must observe posted “No Smoking” warnings in hotels and in public buildings.



As travel to forensics tournaments is considered to be a practical laboratory experience as an extension of enrollment in UTEP Forensics classes, UTEP Forensics observes a no-alcohol policy.  Regardless of their age, students are expected to consume no alcohol while representing UTEP in university-sponsored travel.  No alcoholic beverages are permitted at any time in hotel rooms assigned to students and rented by the UTEP Forensics Program regardless of the age of the student occupants.



Drivers of University-rented or sponsored vehicles are reminded that any violations of traffic laws are the responsibility of the driver, not the University.  Faculty, coaches and others who are on the list for driving responsibilities may not consume alcohol or medication such as prescription drugs which might interfere with their driving abilities unless their driving duties are concluded for the day.  Persons with driving responsibilities have the added responsibility of getting enough sleep before driving and may not choose to socialize if sleep time is threatened.



Socializing at the tournament and at the tournament hotel is an accepted and attractive part of tournament travel.  However, behavior must remain within the standards of appropriate and acceptable conduct, and must in no way bring embarrassment to the University.


It is the responsibility of each person selected to represent UTEP as a member of the UTEP Forensics Team to be aware of and in full compliance with all policies on appropriate behavior, academic honesty and ethical competition, including UTEP team policies, University regulations, and rules and guidelines set out by national forensics organizations.  Please familiarize yourself with the UTEP FORENSICS PROGRAM STATEMENT ON ETHICAL COMPETITION STANDARDS AND DOCUMENTATION GUIDELINES.  Team coaches should be consulted for guidance when questions arise.





I have read, understand, and agree to abide by state and federal laws and the rules and regulations of The University of Texas at El Paso and the UTEP Forensics Program governing student conduct both while on campus and while traveling with the UTEP Forensics Team.




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