Safety of our students is the highest priority of the debate institute. Many of our youngest students and some older students have never been away from home for long periods. Parents and coaches want to know that we have made appropriate considerations to ensure the safety of our attendees. There are several ways we can offer this assurance – in philosophy, experience, and infrastructure.
From the standpoint our mission and direction, safety is our top concern. The debate institute maintains a close relationship with departments across the UNT Campus whose sole function is to ensure safety. We are insured, bonded, and trained well beyond what most workshops around the country require. Our staff undergoes extensive background checking at the state and federal level as well as several hours of child abuse prevention training. We have a first aid office on site 24 hours a day, and we employ a certified lifeguard/ first aid administrator. We have also added a full time Director of Security of will be responsible for monitoring students while in the dorm. This staff member walks the halls of the dorm during key hours to ensure student safety. Adult counselors reside in the dorm in rooms adjacent to students in a ratio no greater than 1:10.
UNT is very familiar with hosting minors on campus. In addition to the dozens of summer conferences held on campus, the university is host to TAMS (Texas Academy of Math and Science), a year-round boarding program for high school students. UNT, as part of the state school system, has a state police force sharing a street with our dorm facilities. Our police officers take extra notice with summer programs.
Finally, we have built a program designed to maximize safety. Our schedule is very tightly confined to allow for minimal periods during the day without adult supervision. Staff members are present at all meals and generally accompany students while walking on campus. Students are required to travel in groups. Evening sessions end in time for students to return to the dorm before dark. All students are required to return to the dorm by 10 pm, after which time the dorm doors are locked. The lobby of the dorm is staffed 24 hours a day.
We encourage students to bring computers. We find that a vast majority of students bring a laptop with them, and all divisions are “virtually paperless,” meaning we will print only what is absolutely necessary.
Health & Wellness
The UNT health clinic provides emergency services to all students during normal business hours, and students are housed only minutes away from Denton Presbyterian Hospital, a major trauma center. In the event that the Health Clinic is closed, we will arrange transportation to the ER or other appropriate medical treatment.
While we take great measures to protect the health and safety of our residents, it is impossible to watch students in the dorm who become ill for an extended period of time. Proper medical treatment will be provided, and students will be given a 24 hour opportunity to get well. If students miss any workshop sessions beyond 48 hours, parents will be asked to check the student out of the workshop permanently.
UNT has several outdoor basketball courts, sand volleyball courts, and open fields for soccer, ultimate, etc. Also, students may visit the new state of the art recreation center on campus for $5 per day (with staff member escort). This facility features two pools, numerous gyms, weight and workout machines, a climbing wall, etc. Students will find that the daily schedule allows physical activity before morning sessions, during long meal breaks, or after evening sessions.
The workshops will comply with any and all requirements for accommodation, including those outlined by the IDEA and the ADA. Special concerns should be expressed in writing to the director prior to the workshop’s start.
We will do everything possible to meet the needs of special dietary requests. The cafeteria has a special line providing vegetarian and vegan options for every meal. Special requests such as certain food allergies, gluten free, Halal, etc. may require individualized accommodations.
The workshop will work to meet religious requests as we are able. Please communicate these needs to the workshop director in advance.