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  • clustermock
    replied
    Originally posted by 7Redacted View Post

    In this case I don't see how their ruling was fair, and I'm skeptical of the effectiveness of this supposedly "good due process". I asked earlier when AMTA has ever overturned a decision based on an appeal, and I'm yet to be able to find, and yet to hear about any concrete examples.
    I have personal knowledge of a team who was sanctioned by AMTA, appealed the decision, and was then given as less severe sanction as a result of the appeal.

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  • Willie E. Cicci
    replied
    I agree with this guy ^. They deserve what they got

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  • 7Redacted
    replied
    Originally posted by The Gelf View Post
    While my own belief is that the Rule 2.9(5) is vague and no sanctions should have been imposed, this paragraph is simply wrong. The Board did not conclude this was an "innocent mistake." Quite the opposite. Whether you agree or not, the Board's conclusion was that the evidence demonstrated that Penn State INTENTIONALLY violated the rule for its own benefit -- that the benefit was economic rather than competitive does not change this, nor does it make the violation innocent.
    I never claimed that the board voted that the mistake was innocent.

    What I was referring to was the lengthy discussion in the -- now removed -- response from AMTA which talked about how they believed PSU's intent when making the A and B designations must have been dishonest because they subsequently "lied" about their reasoning for making them.

    According to that document, at least part of the reasoning of the 16 board members who voted not to reduce the sanctions was that because team members had "lied", they refused to believe that it could have been an innocent mistake.

    Originally posted by The Gelf View Post
    It's true that the process here did not resemble the legal system we simulate. Nor should it. AMTA is not the government and is not convicting anybody of a crime. Mock trial is a private, voluntary activity. AMTA is not bound by the 4th, 5th, or 6th amendments, or the 1st one for that matter.
    I never claimed that AMTA was convicting anyone of a crime. Or that they were bound by any laws, they obviously are not. But here's my point that you are missing.

    My response to AMTA acting recklessly like this, and the fact that they answer to no-one and act harshly towards programs they don't like is why I'm taking this incident as evidence of the need to, as I said earlier, keep your head down and never speak with AMTA representatives. What good is going to come from it?

    Honestly, even in the event that I suspected a rule like this was being broken by another team, after this incident I would think twice before reporting it to an AMTA representative -- I no longer have confidence that they can handle situations like this with decorum or fairness.

    Originally posted by The Gelf View Post
    To maintain the fairness and integrity of competitions, alleged violations have to be dealt with and addressed quickly and efficiently. Questioning students individually (especially team captains who, again, are supposed to be the leaders, contact people, and spokespeople of their respective teams) before allowing them to confer makes perfect sense. The goal is to find out what individual students know before they can communicate with their teammates and potentially fabricate a story.
    So What? Had the AMTA representatives waited 2 minutes to make a phone call in this case, what story could PSU have fabricated?

    Historically, notably in the case with UVA last year, other teams have had the luxury of these matters being handled by their most senior members.

    In this case, because the AMTA representatives needed to be *so sure* that PSU couldn't "fabricate a story", they intimidated and questioned people who didn't know what was going on, told AMTA they didn't know what was going on, and were pressured into lying to protect their team. But again, I ask, who wouldn't?

    And how did AMTA's course of action here help them work this out quicker or more efficient. How was not calling the guy who did the assignments NOT the most quick and efficient way to decide if there was a rule violation?

    Originally posted by The Gelf View Post
    And the due process awarded Penn State on the whole appears to have been fair. The EC made its decision, and the Board reviewed that decision after Penn State was given the opportunity to submit any evidence it wished. That evidence included an explanation as to why students' statements were conflicting. As Penn State has told us, there was even at least some evidence it submitted to the board (the letter from its law student advisor) that was not even included in the published appeal.

    That people disagree with the Board's decision or the logic behind it (and there are certainly legitimate grounds for doing so) does not mean that the process was unfair.
    Originally posted by The J View Post
    I agree. And the reality is that the AMTA Reps at the tournaments had the authority to impose tournament penalties which could have included excluded Penn State from further participation in the tournaments. They obviously didn't and instead this went to an investigation by the EC, which gave Penn State the opportunity to do everything they did in furtherance of their objection to sanctions and appeal of the EC decision. I'd say that was pretty good due process.

    I can certainly claim the process is unfair if, in an opinion I feel is reflected by a large amount of people in the mock trial community, disagree with A) whether or not a rule was actually broken B) whether or not anyone was actually harmed C) whether or not the sanctions fit that harm and D) whether or not other teams doing the same harm have been sanctioned in the same way.

    In this case I don't see how their ruling was fair, and I'm skeptical of the effectiveness of this supposedly "good due process". I asked earlier when AMTA has ever overturned a decision based on an appeal, and I'm yet to be able to find, and yet to hear about any concrete examples.

    Originally posted by philbertk
    [s]he is implying that there comes a point when continuing the conversation in a bitter, antagonistic, and unprofessional manner hurts your credibility more than it helps your cause. [s]he is implying that, in this instance, that point has come and gone.
    The point has come and gone, sure. But that's, what I believe, has people up in arms. A team has been stripped of hard-earned bids, and I can't imagine what this has done to their program. Where's the outrage?

    I don't think that PSU's motives for posting the circumstances of this situation are purely in the interest of their "cause". By being stripped of bids and being put on probation, AMTA is publicly announcing that their program is unfit for further competitions and is somehow dishonest. The fact that PSU would want context added to their sanctions by revealing the questionable circumstances surrounding them is only fair.

    Originally posted by philbertk
    I see a LOT of complaining and criticism of the AMTA Board. Not much in the way of proposed solutions or even proposing goals that we should try to achieve...
    I think the solutions are simple. Write clear rules. When failing to do so, put that into consideration when sanctioning people "violating" those rules.

    Furthermore, treat all teams and all competitors with fairness and respect, even when investigating them for violating rules.

    This is exactly what I've been saying in all of my posts in this thread. I think the reason there is so much criticism is because these "goals" that we should be achieving are common sense and professionalism.
    Last edited by 7Redacted; March 5th, 2012, 01:46 PM.

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  • The J
    replied
    Originally posted by The Gelf View Post
    And the due process awarded Penn State on the whole appears to have been fair. The EC made its decision, and the Board reviewed that decision after Penn State was given the opportunity to submit any evidence it wished. That evidence included an explanation as to why students' statements were conflicting. As Penn State has told us, there was even at least some evidence it submitted to the board (the letter from its law student advisor) that was not even included in the published appeal.

    That people disagree with the Board's decision or the logic behind it (and there are certainly legitimate grounds for doing so) does not mean that the process was unfair.
    I agree. And the reality is that the AMTA Reps at the tournaments had the authority to impose tournament penalties which could have included excluded Penn State from further participation in the tournaments. They obviously didn't and instead this went to an investigation by the EC, which gave Penn State the opportunity to do everything they did in furtherance of their objection to sanctions and appeal of the EC decision. I'd say that was pretty good due process.

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  • JayZ
    replied
    I see a LOT of complaining and criticism of the AMTA Board. Not much in the way of proposed solutions or even proposing goals that we should try to achieve...

    Leave a comment:


  • The Gelf
    replied
    Originally posted by 7Redacted View Post
    I have no problem with AMTA representatives enforcing rules and making sure competitions are fair. But even if someone is breaking a rule, why does it have to be a big "Gotcha" moment? With the information the AMTA representatives had then, and now, there was no reason to believe the broken rule wasn't an innocent mistake. But whether or not it was, the AMTA representatives acted as if PSU was guilty. Which is ironic, since these competitions are framed around a legal system where people are innocent until proven otherwise, and treated as such.
    While my own belief is that the Rule 2.9(5) is vague and no sanctions should have been imposed, this paragraph is simply wrong. The Board did not conclude this was an "innocent mistake." Quite the opposite. Whether you agree or not, the Board's conclusion was that the evidence demonstrated that Penn State INTENTIONALLY violated the rule for its own benefit -- that the benefit was economic rather than competitive does not change this, nor does it make the violation innocent.

    It's true that the process here did not resemble the legal system we simulate. Nor should it. AMTA is not the government and is not convicting anybody of a crime. Mock trial is a private, voluntary activity. AMTA is not bound by the 4th, 5th, or 6th amendments, or the 1st one for that matter. To maintain the fairness and integrity of competitions, alleged violations have to be dealt with and addressed quickly and efficiently. Questioning students individually (especially team captains who, again, are supposed to be the leaders, contact people, and spokespeople of their respective teams) before allowing them to confer makes perfect sense. The goal is to find out what individual students know before they can communicate with their teammates and potentially fabricate a story.

    And the due process awarded Penn State on the whole appears to have been fair. The EC made its decision, and the Board reviewed that decision after Penn State was given the opportunity to submit any evidence it wished. That evidence included an explanation as to why students' statements were conflicting. As Penn State has told us, there was even at least some evidence it submitted to the board (the letter from its law student advisor) that was not even included in the published appeal.

    That people disagree with the Board's decision or the logic behind it (and there are certainly legitimate grounds for doing so) does not mean that the process was unfair.

    Leave a comment:


  • grady670
    replied
    Originally posted by objection_conception View Post
    So, are you implying that AMTA is a vindictive group that would penalize a group as a whole because a few have exerted their First Amendment right of free speech?And people question why many of us post here anynomous.
    You are misunderstanding someone who was just trying to help. You may absolutely represent yourself however you would like, and that includes flexing your first ammendment muscles. But on this forum, especially because you are "anonymous", you are not representing yourself as an individual, you are representing a university, a program, other students.

    In your previous post you mentioned that on your team, no one will talk to AMTA reps except a designated representative, and that's because you don't want one random person speaking on behalf of the entire program and possibly misrepresenting the program. You also don't want AMTA or anyone else to look down upon the program as a whole because one kid said something stupid.

    Take your own policy to heart on this forum.

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  • philbertk
    replied
    [s]he is implying that there comes a point when continuing the conversation in a bitter, antagonistic, and unprofessional manner hurts your credibility more than it helps your cause. [s]he is implying that, in this instance, that point has come and gone.

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  • objection_conception
    replied
    Originally posted by jvsen View Post
    I understand that PSMT is not happy about what happened, and I am aware that you guys are a student run organization. For that reason I am going to give you this advice. Stop posting on this issue before you give future members of your program problems. Since a definitive decision has been made, letting this go is the best decision you can make. It is also professional.
    So, are you implying that AMTA is a vindictive group that would penalize a group as a whole because a few have exerted their First Amendment right of free speech?And people question why many of us post here anynomous.

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  • objection_conception
    replied
    Oh and thank you to the person who captured AMTAs response before it was removed. I figured they would remove it when people started to read and question the content. Also we now know there are AMTA lurkers here.

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  • objection_conception
    replied
    Thanks to this incident our team now has a new policy in place - no one except our official team representive will talk to the police or AMTA as neither will have our best interest at heart when questing commences.

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  • 7Redacted
    replied
    Originally posted by The Gelf View Post
    I see nothing wrong with questioning a team about a potential violation as soon as possible. You want to address the situation quickly and hopefully resolve it while everybody involved is present and whatever incident is at issue is fresh in people's minds. Plus, had it turned out to be an egregious violation (such as representing your true "A" team as your "D" team intentionally), one possible remedy would be to to prevent the team from completing the tournament and further wrecking the power balance. Obviously, that was not done here, but I have to assume that that penalty was at least considered. If you were facing a team in a round that you believed (right or wrong) was getting an unfair advantage through violating a rule, my guess is you'd want it dealt with immediately, rather than after the tournament.
    I see your point, and I should clarify. I'm not sure exactly when it first came to AMTA's attention that the teams may have been misrepresented. And I have no problem with an AMTA representative beginning an investigation right away. So I would agree, as a member of an opposing team, I would want the problem dealt with quickly, but more importantly I would want it dealt with professionally and fairly -- which, in this case, I don't believe it was.

    Originally posted by The Gelf View Post
    I also see no problem in questioning the captain of a team, regardless of how young that person is. Especially in a coach-less program, the captain of the team is the contact person and is the person responsible for leading the team. I would expect any captain to be aware of what the team is doing and why they're doing it. If the captain is not aware of those things, the problem lies with the program at issue, not with AMTA. The AMTA rep should not be put in the position of having to track down a perosn who is not even on the team, especially when that person is not even present at the regional.
    This is not the unreasonable position you make it out to be. All the AMTA representative would have to do is look at the registration forms, pull out his phone, and call the president of the program. If the question is why the assigned roster was wrong, why ISN'T the first step calling the person who assigned the rosters?

    Instead, the AMTA representative questioned the random competitor who happened to be tasked with getting ballots. This line of action isn't an AMTA representative going though a fair investigation, its the action of an AMTA representative trying to prove notions he conceived with laughably limited information.


    Originally posted by The Gelf View Post
    Finally, accusing AMTA reps of interrogating and intimidating students is a serious charge. Nobody on this board, other than the Penn State students and AMTA reps involved, is in any position to give a truly informed opinion about whether that occurred.
    Claiming a team's conduct was so dishonest and reprehensible that their ability to compete any further should be revoked is a serious charge. Everything I've seen in the materials AMTA has posted publicly on their website, and the information posted publicly on this board is consistent with AMTA reps intimidating the competitors involved. And that's what I personally find so offensive.

    Previously a team member posted in this thread that she was brought in for questioning, and told she wasn't allowed to leave or talk with the rest of her team. How isn't that going to be perceived as intimidating or threatening? Furthermore, when the captain told the representatives that she wasn't sure about the details, and that she only knew what the president had told her, why at that point, did the AMTA rep not just pick up the phone and call the president then?

    I have no problem with AMTA representatives enforcing rules and making sure competitions are fair. But even if someone is breaking a rule, why does it have to be a big "Gotcha" moment? With the information the AMTA representatives had then, and now, there was no reason to believe the broken rule wasn't an innocent mistake. But whether or not it was, the AMTA representatives acted as if PSU was guilty. Which is ironic, since these competitions are framed around a legal system where people are innocent until proven otherwise, and treated as such.

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  • The Gelf
    replied
    I see nothing wrong with questioning a team about a potential violation as soon as possible. You want to address the situation quickly and hopefully resolve it while everybody involved is present and whatever incident is at issue is fresh in people's minds. Plus, had it turned out to be an egregious violation (such as representing your true "A" team as your "D" team intentionally), one possible remedy would be to to prevent the team from completing the tournament and further wrecking the power balance. Obviously, that was not done here, but I have to assume that that penalty was at least considered. If you were facing a team in a round that you believed (right or wrong) was getting an unfair advantage through violating a rule, my guess is you'd want it dealt with immediately, rather than after the tournament.

    I also see no problem in questioning the captain of a team, regardless of how young that person is. Especially in a coach-less program, the captain of the team is the contact person and is the person responsible for leading the team. I would expect any captain to be aware of what the team is doing and why they're doing it. If the captain is not aware of those things, the problem lies with the program at issue, not with AMTA. The AMTA rep should not be put in the position of having to track down a perosn who is not even on the team, especially when that person is not even present at the regional.

    Finally, accusing AMTA reps of interrogating and intimidating students is a serious charge. Nobody on this board, other than the Penn State students and AMTA reps involved, is in any position to give a truly informed opinion about whether that occurred.
    Last edited by The Gelf; March 3rd, 2012, 11:32 PM.

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  • 7Redacted
    replied
    Originally posted by clustermock View Post
    Unlike a court of law, pleading the fifth does you no good here. They can interpret your refusal to speak to them HOWEVER they want, just like they took Penn State's conflicting statements as lies as opposed to confusion.
    How is having new members from four teams being individually bullied by AMTA reps possibly going to cast your actions in a better light than having everyone on your team know to have them talk to coaches / exec members?

    They can choose to look at it however they want, sure. But if PSU had been having one singular conversation with AMTA instead of letting AMTA go on a witch hunt, they certainly couldn't be in worse shape than they are now.

    Originally posted by clustermock View Post
    Also yes AMTA has reconsidered decisions/punishments based upon appeals.
    When?

    EDIT: And I'd like to clarify something because I feel like my posts sound troll-like. I'm not trying to say AMTA is a bad organization, or its members and representatives are bad people. What I am trying to convey here, is that it seems like AMTA is very quick to color a team's behavior as "dishonest". In this case, AMTA representatives grilled team members in a fashion where young competitors were being isolated from their team and questioned by authority figures. Whether or not their intent was to be intimidating, AMTA representatives should know that when they are acting in such a capacity towards younger competitors they will be. The team members lied, sort of, but who wouldn't try to protect their team under those circumstances?

    If you contrast this situation with PSU to UVA last year, the conversations being had were held from adults in authority of UVA to adults in authority of AMTA. So instead of team-members going into a state of panic and lying, UVA was able to admit to what they did, and defend those actions.

    Having read the entirety of AMTA's response, I feel ATMA has failed to demonstrate that, factually, what PSU did with their A and B team assignments wasn't, at the very least, reasonable. The tone of the ruling, however, implied that because AMTA believes PSU acted dishonestly, their would-be reasonable mistake or misunderstanding is instead a manipulation with dishonest intent.

    And while AMTA may not consciously be discriminating against student-run programs, how can you really deny the possible impact a friendly voice on the board would have when the ruling being handed down was emphasizing a subjective view of PSU's intent?

    Consider what happened here. Is this "dishonest" behavior really so unreasonable? The team made a mistake, and had broken a rule. AMTA representatives started questioning younger, uninformed, competitors of the program. And they lied to try and protect their team. I don't know if you guys are current or exmockers, but are you seriously telling me you couldn't picture younger members of your team trying to do the same thing?

    These are the actions that will get you in trouble, and I've seen AMTA incite this behavior on several notable occasions now, and that is why I said what I said.

    I don't think competitors should have to worry about these things at all. Consider, for a moment, that AMTA was factually mistaken about the broken rule. By putting the competitors through the stressful ordeal of being questioned over the fiasco, they are ensuring those competitors are going to do worse in competition.

    If an AMTA representative truly has cause to believe something like this was going on, after the tournament he should have spoken to the President of the organization, and shouldn't have been on the offensive. Then, if the president chose to lie, the AMTA representative would have an accurate representation of the team's conduct and intent. But instead, the AMTA representatives chose to ambush the team, and browbeat them for answers. So how can AMTA call the team dishonest, when any program has members who, under the circumstances, likely would have behaved the same way?

    From what I've read, the president had been saying the same thing from the beginning. Had this been handled correctly by AMTA, his story would have been the only one that they would have heard. The organization would have had a chance to explain the situation to the team, the president could have apologized and properly represented the situation, and there wouldn't be so many hurt feelings -- regardless of how ATMA ruled.
    Last edited by 7Redacted; March 3rd, 2012, 11:30 PM. Reason: clarification

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  • The Gelf
    replied
    Originally posted by 7Redacted View Post
    Is there any firm history of AMTA *ever* reconsidering any decision based on an appeal?

    I'm skeptical board members bothered to read that lengthy appeal document; another vote was probably taken just so AMTA could go through the motions.

    I think the take-home message to all programs here is to keep your head down, and instruct all of your team members to NEVER speak with an AMTA representative, ever.
    There are a number of lessons to be learned from this ordeal. That is SOOO not one of them.

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