It is important to us that all students are able to participate in and feel comfortable at Oxford Schools'
Equity is about ensuring that the competition is a welcoming and respectful environment - we believe that these are necessary prerequisites for productive debate.
The following will not be tolerated. This policy applies to any individual present or otherwise participating in the workshops, regional rounds, and finals’ day of the competition, including judges, speakers, and observers:
Engaging in offensive language or behaviour;
Making denigrating comments based on any grounds, especially of age, national or ethnic origin, race, sex, gender, disability, religion, class, or sexuality;
Harassing, threatening or intimidating others in any way;
Damaging or destroying any property that does not belong to you;
Harassing, threatening or intimidating judges to come to a particular decision;
Any other conduct violating the legal rights of others.
We of course realise that debating is a stressful and fast paced activity, and people can say things that they don’t mean. If people realise they may have inadvertently offended someone, we encourage them to apologise: almost all equity issues are dealt with immediately.
Speakers should remember that debating is a public activity, and things that may seem like in-jokes with their friends or partner may cause offence. Participants should be mindful of this.
If participants have any concerns about anything they have heard, they should talk to the regional convenor at a regional round, or the Equity Officer(s) at Finals’ Day. Do not be concerned that the issue might be too small a thing to bother with: we prefer that people speak up rather than be coerced into silence.
If this policy is violated, we are prepared to impose sanctions up to and including excluding teams from the competition with immediate effect, however we sincerely hope to not have to resort to any such measure.
We operate a gender pronoun policy at Oxford Schools’. At the start of each debate, the judge will ask each speaker to introduce themselves with their name and their gender pronoun (he/she/they etc), or they may declare no preference.
This is intended to stop people being misgendered, and prepares students for other competitions and university debating, where such policy is standard. Just as people like to be called by their correct name, so they should be called by the pronoun they feel most comfortable with.