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Hi everyone! We’ll write a proper blog post later on with funny stories from today and yesterday, but I just wanted to write a quick post about something I (Alyssa) think is quite important and think it warrants a blog post of its own.

I’m not going to go into detail about the specific scenario in question (though feel free to ask me personally if you have any questions) but last nights social raised some serious equity concerns on my end, especially with regards to sexual harassment. I think that as debaters there is pretty terrible irony in the fact that people are willing to praise feminism and respecting women if they think it will help them take a first but completely neglect to put these ideas and thoughts into action or take care as to how what they do actually affects people. I’ve spoken to the equity team about the situation and they have been nothing but helpful and have offered their full support behind any action to be taken. This incident is not indicative of Zagreb Euros, and on a whole the tournament has felt incredibly inclusive barring this one event, at least in my experience.

I think at St Andrews we are particularly good at creating safe spaces for debate. Never have I felt that I was uncomfortable at a social or felt that there was ever a threat to my safety or anyone elses. I think this attitude that we have at St Andrews is wonderful and we should continue to set an example well into the future. Equity is more than lip service, and I think we embody this quite well. I just wanted to let you all know that as much as we can talk and debate about misogyny and harrasment, it is still very real. It is important that we continue to make the UDS feel so safe and so inclusive and work to prevent incidents like this from happening in the debating world and the wider world. St Andrews has had an equity policy for the last year but it’s not very well known. We think that in light of the situation it is incredibly important that we make this policy known. We think that Steph, as the IV officer at St Andrews should make an announcement in the Freshers Workshop…all though we are very inclusive already there is always more we can do.

That’s all for now, we’ll write later with more stories, but we all feel that this is something particularly important to discuss.

-Alyssa

Out rounds began today. With no St Andrews team in the break we decided that St Andrews alumni Ben counted as one of us so we alternated between supporting him as part of Cambridge A, other members of SSDC and our friends from around Europe. Most of the motions from euros have been pretty opp heavy… this continued more so than ever today (ESL semi in particular) (note Niamh from Strath heard this motion and reacted by saying “fuck me bendy”)

Also note that the final break spot for ESL was tied not only on team points but speaks, they had not faced each other over the course of Euros so for the first time ever we had a “debate off” for the last position in break between Leiden C and Belgrade C. It was brutal – Belgrade C (opp) were the eventual winners.

Debate Off – THW mandate membership of labour unions for all workers 
Open Quarter – THBT supreme/constitutional courts should not strike down legislation 
ESL quarter – THW require companies to put graphic images of animal suffering on all products (including food) that causes animal harm or suffering 
Open Semi – TH as the US, would invade and partition Iraq 
ESL Semi – THBT the leaders of religious minorities in Europe should encourage their congregation not to practice their faith publicly (St Andrews bonus competition – anyone that comes up with a legit prop gets a souvenir from Croatia) 

News St Andrews might care about 

- Ben (from CG) got through his quarter with no issues, we didn’t see his semi but he thinks it went very well! We’ll let you know. 
- Edinburgh also got through their semi. They were OG in the semi, it was an excellent debate!! Again we’ll keep you posted!
- GUU A unfortunately went out in the quarter but put up a very good fight against tough competition. 
- Leiden A (Dan and Karin) got through their quarter with ease! They were very good in the semi from CO! Hopefully they’ll be in the final tomorrow! 

Social last night was in a really cool open air bar on a lake. It was really fun! There was an awkward moment when we walked in to the tune of blurred lines with what was essentially pornographic images projected on the walls… a) know your audience! b) these images were soon turned off and there was no more Thicke in sight. 

The break provided much suspense followed by either dashing for the first bus for those that broke or as was the case for St Andrews many drinks being consumed! Social was meant to last til three but they turned off the music and began packing up the club about 1.30 – we were confused. While waiting for the bus St Andrews, having done too much debating over the last few days, managed to get into a debate about whether or not it is preferable to have no one interested in you or have someone you are not interested in be interested in you and then you get to reject them. That was exactly as confusing as it sounds and yes we are probably bad people…! The consensus was unanimously the second… yeah we suck. 

Funny Stories 

1. We all made a “friend” named Croatian Joe. Croatian Joe introduced himself to us as a homophobe, and also told us about a past pet horse that he had named “Adolf” to commemorate “a great German leader”. Kind of disturbing. Joe enlightens us into two of his biggest dreams: 1. A sexual fantasy involving Vladimir Putin, and 2. Being able to ride a polar bear like a car in Monaco and park it next to “ferrari and mazzaratti”. Wonderful stuff. He also “high fived” read: hit Alyssa’s forehead. He also advocated for genocide. #toplad *Disclaimer: St Andrews does not endorse Croatian Joe*

2. Charlie wanted to be the first to leave the social…lol.

3. Any time the St Andrews teams talk to each other, we find it impossible to avoid using lingo like the “comparative” and “points of clash”

4. Isabel’s roommate continues to be a mystery. We think she’s hoarding toilet paper.

5. Zagreb is actually gorgeous…today we realized that this whole time we’ve been staying in Zagrebian slums.

6. Gillis and Charlie headed to a bar and were greeted by the promise of free beers from the bartender. He then proceeded by bringing them two bottles, as well as a bill which he expected to be paid. As a consolation prize, the boys were handed a crayon with which they could declare their love for Zagreb on the bar’s wall.  

That’s all for tonight, we’ll let you know who makes the final and all the events of tonights “rockabilly” social…we’re quite unsure what to expect. Especially we just found an advert on the club’s website advertising to locals to come and meet debaters…maybe we will meet Croatian Joe again!

 

 

 

As today was closed adjudication, the St Andrews team were left very confused as to how they’re measuring up. Various emotions ranging from happy to “meh” to questionable dissapointment kept the team on an emotional roller coaster all day. Overall we all think we were “meh” to “good” and both teams are probably hovering around -2. We also listened to an hours worth of tournament announcements – it was thrilling -_-

Motions for today:

R7: This house would require police within their jurisdiction to make arrests proportionate to the ethnic makeup of their jurisdiction.

R8: This house would give micro loans in the developing world exclusively to women.

R9: This house believes that International Peace Agreements should be decided upon by binding international referendums.

After a rough day yesterday, St Andrews A opted out of the organized social and instead chose to stay in, catch up on sleep, and watch the latest Keeping Up With the Kardashians episode. This would have been a very fun and prodcutive plan if it weren’t for the fact that Alyssa fell asleep at 9:30. Jet lag is clearly still in effect – that and the fact that Euros is really draining.

St Andrews B decided to go to the social and apparently Charlie tried to convince people that he was “Mr. Scotland”. We think his American accent may complicate the effectiveness of this statement.

The food here in Croatia is very salty. VERY salty. We are fairly convinced that Croatians exist off a combination of sodium and cigarettes. Very healthy stuff. Alyssa has watched the rest of St Andrews eat their food in amusement, as her allergies have led her to subsist off of the crackers and cookies she brought from Canada and nothing else. Today’s meal was a meatball made of rice, cartilidge and salt…Yum yum!!!

Below is a picture of a typical breakfast for Alyssa. Note the pro plus. #breakfastofchampions

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Here’s a picture of where in-rounds took place. Steph is very curious as to why Croatian buildings put blinds on the outside…any one with the answer to this question let her know. This building reminds us of Croatians communist roots. Very inspiring building. So much beauty.

photo-4

Funny things that happened today:

1. As the hotel only can facilitate two people per room, the hotel placed Isabelle with a mysterious “roommate”. Said roommate did not show up until Tuesday night (?). Despite Isabelle asking questions regarding this girls institution/what she was doing at Euros/what country she was from, roommate remained vague. Today Isabelle has found out roommate is not participating in Euros…when of many theories roommate has provided Isabelle with is that she did so badly that she just quit. Okay, odd. Odder yet is that she is being reimbursed for meals by an unknown institution and has asked isabelle to provide her with receipts so she can get more money back. She is also inquiring as to how cheaply she can get to Portugal. We’ll keep you updated with any potential fraud to ensue.

2. Tall Ukrainian man keeps trying to offer Alyssa POIs, forcing Alyssa to move across the room to be seen by the chair.

3. Charlie and Gillis have become consumed with Fantasy Football and can always be found huddling around Gillis’ laptop.

4. After a sucky Day 2, Steph and Alyssa were able to give a CO in Round 8 that left the prop bench looking legitimately grief-stricken. Yay.

5. See number 1 again…how funny is that?!?!

6. The coke bottles have funny quotes on them, such as “Keep me next to you”. Cute!

Tonight is break night and we’ll keep you updated with relevant breaks and the swans that we have been warned against attacking. Definitely a needed reminder ;)

Today was a series of unfortunate events for St Andrews A. Luckily St Andrews B have had a better time. Overall we are pretty exhausted. Also in debating news we should point out the tab team are awesome and for what is probably the first time in Euros history the tab was ahead of schedule not once, but twice today!

R4: THBT EU member states should nationalise all their oil and gas resources and operations in order to surrender total ownership and control to an EU run energy agency. 
R5: THB That States of the Former Yugoslavia Should not Commemorate the Events of the Yugoslav Wars
R6: This House Would Introduce Blind Voting

Alyssa and Steph (St Andrews A) – 3, 3, 3 – -3 (round 4 our chair got rolled. round 6 our chair didn’t write down our analysis. when challenged his response was “hmm if I wrote that down it would have been good” grrrrrrr)
Charlie and Gillis (St Andrews B) – 3, 1, 1 – -1

Charlie really wanted to write the blog today so it is my pleasure to present “Charlie’s corner”

Hello friends and fellow St Andreans,

Gillis and I have capped off today with several enthusiastic renditions of Ice Cube’s “It Was a Good Day”. Spirits are obviously high in our camp. Our gambit, The Submarine, in which we intentionally lost early rounds to position ourselves for a late push to break, has been executed to perfection. We’ve switched things up a bit; Gillis now speaks first when we’re OG or OO (a move your humble correspondent has been advocating for some time), and today we took two firsts in this set up.

It’s been great experiencing some of Croatia, and mingling with debating types from all over the continent. I think we’re learning a lot at this tournament, and we’re really glad to have the opportunity. Some B-team highlights:

– We had been really excited for a drunk kebab after the night out last night, only to discover the place was closed. Gillis stared into the distance and said “nobody said it was easy.” Coldplay flowed naturally.
– Croatian waiter informed me this morning that “Dramatic,” the club we were at last night, was a gay club. Somehow a shirtless bartender, a stripper pole, and a general rainbow palette throughout didn’t tip us off. Guy on the bus said the popularity of the strip pole with male debaters was about challenging gender roles. Only debate.
– We were very scared (given our ignorance on history of the former Yugoslavia) of the motion for round 3. Genuine exchange from the round:
POI: President Tadic’s involvement radicalizes the conflict!
Serbian competitor (read with accent -Ed.): Tadic had nothing to do with the 90s. He can’t organize anything, let alone a civil war. He is a bloody bastard. I apologize.
– We took a first by a̶c̶c̶u̶s̶i̶n̶g̶ implying our opponents might be fascists. We’re calling this The Fasc-n-Dash. #futurechiefwhips

Today was more exhausting than funny, but here’s what we have for today: Funny Stories

1. Alyssa’s motion suggestion “THW create a pit of dead Ebola bodies” research was going well.
2. Charlie and Gillis set themselves a challenge of 5 shots each for every point under straights last night (meaning 10 each) – despite not meeting their target both were late to breakfast with the first request being for painkillers from Alyssa’s traveling pharmacy.

Day 2 has brought the start of in-rounds, so we’ll get all the business out of the way before we get to the juicy deets.

 

R1: THW financially incentivize families on welfare based on the academic performance of their children

R2: THS the two party system over the multi-party system

R3: THW ban International aid organizations from using shocking, sensationalized or overly emotional images in their advertising and fundraising.

 

Alyssa and Steph (St Andrews A): 3, 2,1– straights

Gillis and Charlie (St Andrews B): 4,1, 3 – minus 2

 

As for the drama – last nights briefings brought an uproar of drama. During the speakers briefings the equity team explained all the benefits of mandatory gender pronoun introductions, and then informed us that they wouldn’t be mandatory – odd. The crowd was understandably pissed off, and after half an hour of making the equity team answer questions they didn’t want to answer, the CA team arrived to smooth things over (this included some ominous threats for the equity team that were apologized for this morning). This morning we had a briefing about how to make gender pronoun introductions and they are, unsurprisingly, mandatory. Debaters get shit done.

 

As for the social, we were taken to a Contemporary “Art” Museum. Some insightful questions raised by St Andrews included “why does that naked woman on skates have a toy goat in the background?” “where did naked skating ladies cat go?” and “Is this even art?”. Examples of the masterpieces we saw are below…stunning stuff.

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The latter end of the social saw Charlie and Gillis turn into “Mingle Men” which we’re pretty convinced just means they were drunk. Charlie was really excited about being American. He thought being American gave him the magical power to open automatic doors…gotta love mingle mode. Jet lag may not have touched Charlie, but Alyssa and Isabel felt close to death around 10 and went back to the hotel with Steph. All were “refreshed” this morning and were “ready” for a day of in rounds.

 

Funny Stories from today:

  1. St Andrews bombed the first round despite a very simple motion…lol
  2. We were told that we would have a “special surprise” at the opening social…it was a slide that resembled the large intestine.
  3. Alyssa kicked some art work to test its stability. The museum worker was not amused or curious as to the outcome.
  4. St Andrews A regged but was greeted to a chorus of “ooooohs” when we were announced to be one of the four teams that had not…no one else got this reaction.
  5. Graffitti in Zagrebian bathrooms is pretty disturbing (not really a funny story, oops!)
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  6. Charlie and Gillis wore matching outfits.
  7. Charlie and Gillis googled “smart casual” for advice.
  8. Middle aged German man aggressively knocked on Steph and Alyssa’s door at 6AM and ran away when we answered.
  9. Charlie and Gillis share a love of the Russian national anthem and use it as pump up music.

 

Tonight we’re off to a “Dramatic” social…we’ll start some rumours and let you know what happens tomorrow.

Well here we are again. The European Debating Championships have come to Zagreb in Croatia. To get the debating stuff out the way, St Andrews A will be Steph and Alyssa, St Andrews B will be Charlie and Gillis and Isabelle is here as our judge. Currently Alyssa, Charlie and Isabelle are all suffering from jet lag. Charlie has downed multiple “kava’s” (coffee) and Alyssa is existing off pro-plus (not well). Isabelle seems to be functioning. Much of our day has been spent eagerly awaiting “Gillis time” as he was the last to arrive. 

Before leaving the airport to come to the hotel Charlie informed us that he did not have Croatian currency. Classic Charlie. We are pretty sure the angry Croatian taxi driver ripped us off but we arrived. None of understand the currency conversion so when he asked for 300 kuna we nodded and smiled. Turns out this is the equivalent of roughly 6 trips to DRA. We were scammed.

charlie

After waiting in a long long queue to check in, while Charlie got a beer, we finally got our rooms. Alyssa and I have an accessible room where the bathroom is bigger than the room itself. While Charlie and Gillis have a very smokey love nest with ‘panoramic views’ (read views of a crane and a water tank (and some hills in the distance)). 

 alysaa

We have journeyed to the land where they speak Croatian. None of us understand Croatian. This has already caused problems. Steph’s phrase app doesn’t know how to say supermarket… but it does tell us how to say ‘Don’t shoot!’ and ‘I’ve been shot’. #Ominous. 

Tonight we will attend briefings and other debating related things (we think, we’ve to be on a bus at 5… from there we shall see). Updates of debating and fun stories will be provided tomorrow! 

Tales of our Travels

The electrics on Steph’s plane broke before even leaving Glasgow. Her bus at Heathrow then went the wrong way, nearly crashed and ended up in a small residential area near the runway. 

Alyssa accidentally sat next to a man who urinated on himself in Vienna Airport. Pee man then proceeded to vomit into a coffee cup…and taste it. Yum! Also, Croatian Airlines makes one fear for their life. I was 90% sure the plane would go down under the weight of my suitcase.

Isabelle had to change her flight last minute as her Dad booked a flight that meant she wouldn’t be in time for her connection to Zagreb. After many many hours on the phone she ended up on the same flight as Charlie. Which they didn’t realise until right now. Her long flight from the US of A was spent next to a hyper elderly man who was in love with the entertainment system. 

Gillis has shown up with the most impressive t-shirt tan that any of us have every seen. 

 gillis

Well our boys in blue made it to the semis. While that may not be the finals. It was an excellent showing. For two 3rd years hitting some people almost twice their age (Duncan and John ;)), it was truly an accomplishment. I could not be more proud. They gave it their all and that’s all we could ask, not to mention being top 8 in the world is pretty frickin good already. Out of the 4 opp teams on that motion, only one went through to the finals on a 3/2 split. They put up a good fight and I got the call half right amongst all the facebooking!

Onto the final, it was a good showing on a bad motion. Was great to see two former St. Andreans and two other good friends slogging it out. Especially Ben’s bow tie. We greeted GUU with a round of ‘Flower of Scotland’ upon their entrance and Cambridge with some other british song, ‘swing forth sweet chariot’??? It was hard for us to find a song that would be appropriate to sing in India: see ‘Rule Britannia’.

On to the funny stories, this will be the last blog of the story except for maybe one from Goa on post-tournament thoughts. First, the tournament lost the ‘lost and found box’………what???? Second, RUMOUR ALERT, apparently the university embezzled a lot of the tournaments funds. We heard this from some Indian teams. I have heard anywhere from 10,000-80,000 Euros which means that its probably somewhere around 10 pounds. Finally a tuk-tuk driver told me he was ‘speed racer’ and then attempted to race me to my destination. Then he brought me to a mall instead an insisted that I buy his family a shirt. Obviously I asked him to take me to my real destination. Upon arrival, he demanded twice the agreed upon price because it was ‘New Years’, despite it being a few days old. I gave him a bit of a tip and went on my way, happy to still be alive after his death-defying turns. He also kept talking about some weird New Years Elf or Health, I wasn’t quite sure.

One last thing that I will say. I have learned that debaters love complaining. For a group of people who love people listening to their speeches, we’re unwilling to be polite during other’s, we jump to quick conclusions and we are un-relentless towards others. For those who love to stand up for the underdog, we are willing to countlessly destroy those based on small assumptions. I don’t want to come down from on high here, but I will say one thing. Complaining will not make rounds progress any quicker, will make you more stressed out, and will ensure a worse time. This all coming from one of the world’s worst complainers.

That being said, I had a great time at this tournament with a large number of great people who I’m happy to call my friends. While the tournament was ummmm……well……interesting to say the most, I’m glad I came. Definitely, second tier fun. However, I wouldn’t have missed it for the world. Alex and I are currently sitting on a beach in Goa with the ‘1,000 yard stare’. Cheers, and here’s to cheap mint mojitos.

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