2011-2014: Policy Debater at Notre Dame High School
2014-2015: Policy Debater at the University of Michigan
2015-2018: Executive Director of Detroit Urban Debate Education (which included judging and coaching for Detroit Urban Debate League schools in Policy)
I currently work at the University of Chicago Crime and Education Lab — an urban social science research organization — evaluating youth-based violence prevention and academic programs. I also studied criminology intensively as a Sociology student on a Law, Justice, and Social Change sub-track at the University of Michigan. This experience often involved going into local correctional facilities firsthand to discuss incarceration, state violence, and policing with individuals who were incarcerated. Based on what I learned there and my current work at the Crime Lab, you can assume I have a baseline understanding of the major policy issues and social theory in the criminal justice field. Still, while I have probably judged over a hundred debate rounds, I am not currently active in the debate community. Do not assume I am caught up on all topic-specific arguments. Please be clear.
Please use Speech Drop instead of emailing me speeches.
A note on virtual Debate:
Virtual debate, as is the case for all remote activities during the COVID-19 pandemic, is inherently biased towards certain people. Access to and knowledge of technology is a privilege. Unfortunately, even for those who have the technology, having a safe space to join Zoom rounds is also a privilege. I hope to recognize technological disparities and the collective trauma caused by the pandemic in my judging by being reasonable, empathetic, and flexible. If there is anything that I can do to make the virtual round more accessible to you please do not hesitate to let me know.
Generally, I will incorporate these norms during virtual debates:
- If possible, I would appreciate it if you had your video on, but I know this is not possible for everyone. My RFD and speaker point assignment will not change based on your video being off.
- Unless otherwise mandated by the tournament, I will incorporate 10 minutes of "tech time" for troubleshooting issues. Please do not abuse this time. It is NOT the same as prep time.
- Please try and show up to your round as early as possible. In the virtual world, it is harder to ensure everyone is accounted for and that the 1AC starts on time, so this is one way to help.
- If there is a tech issue that occurs during your speech for longer than 3-5 seconds, I will interrupt and try to troubleshoot with you in the moment. This time will not be taken out of your speech.
- Everyone should be on mute at all times except for the people currently speaking.
I try as much as possible to evaluate based on the arguments in the round. While I obviously hold implicit biases for or against certain arguments, I try as hard as possible to not let that impact my decisions. I have experience debating, coaching, and judging critical- and policy-oriented rounds. I wouldn't call myself swayed toward one side or the other.
That being said a couple of notes:
- Bad arguments are bad. If your argument is illogical — for example, reading a disadvantage without a link in the 1NC or your evidence not making the warrants needed to uphold your argument — then I will likely not want to vote for it. It will not be hard for the other team to convince me otherwise. While I do not want to vote for a bad argument, that does not mean the opposing team can just ignore it.
- I am willing to vote against my own beliefs and the burden to persuade me is on both teams. However, I don't tolerate obvious hateful/rude arguments or behavior. Everyone deserves to feel safe in this activity.
- I tend to end up using a cost-benefit analysis to help me make decisions: Quantifying the risk of all impacts, seeing if the logic or warrants behind the impact uphold or minimize that risk, incorporating how much the other team's defense minimizes that risk (or thumps the impact all-together), and comparing this analysis for each impact. It is not uncommon for me to literally graph out how probable I find each impact to be (plus or minus the defense from each team) before an RFD as a decision making tool. I can't begin to tell you how many debates I have judged where one team won simply because the other team forgot to extend defense. All of this being said, I will incorporate any role of the ballot arguments accordingly, even if it means not using this decision making framework. This is simply my norm, but certainly not the overarching rule.
For novice debaters, the following acts will result in an increase of speaker points: flowing every speech, communicating with your partner, not talking over your partner, not talking into your computer, using up all of your time in cross-ex asking questions, giving the evidence you read to the other team efficiently, and keeping track of your own time (I will keep track too, but it's a good behavior to start).
Feel free to ask me questions before/after the round.