Barkley Forum for High Schools

2020 — Atlanta, GA/US

Ramesh Babu Paradigm

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Marie Bakke Paradigm

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Pulakesh Barua Paradigm

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Connor Bierbaum Paradigm

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Cait Bliss Paradigm

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Michael Bole Paradigm

8 rounds

Updated for UPenn WSDC! Wishing everyone safety during these times.

My name is Michael Bole (he/him/his), I’m a current student at Emory, and I debated for Dreyfoos School of the Arts and NSDA Team USA. I teach at the Global Debate Symposium and the Atlanta Urban Debate League.

I'm always happy to answer questions and give individual feedback after rounds if there is time.

World Schools Debate: I really value team unity/teamwork (I.E. Showing you can bring arguments down the bench, team lines, consistent narratives, etc.) in addition to delivery and meaningful clash. Please be as organized as possible! I like flowing so if I know where to write your arguments/rebuttal it makes my life easier.

I really think this format gives you room to have fun! Crack a joke (without being mean spirited), make this enjoyable for everyone in the room (yourself included). Also - please make weighing as clear as possible after OPP 2!

Congress: I think there are a lot of judges for this format that are way too picky. Bring your best to the debate regardless of the speech you give… just be thoughtful about what you say and how you say it. I value delivery just as much as I value content. POs are super important and will make my ballot unless there’s a huge series of mistakes. Clear and distinct warrants are the key to my heart, in addition to impacts that show me you put thought into them rather than reuse from another speech.

Best of luck!

James Brock Paradigm


Handshaking: Even before current viral concerns, I wasn't a fan of hand shaking. If you feel the need for post round physical contact I will either accept a light fist bump or a full hug of no less than 5 seconds in duration. Alternatively, you can just wait for my decision.

overview: I am the debate coach at Houston County High School a suburban (closer to rural than urban) school 2 hours south of Atlanta. We don't travel outside of the state much. I am a big advocate of policy debate, but, the vast majority of tournaments we attend no longer offer the event. So, we have switched to PF/LD debate.

I flow. If I am not flowing, there is a problem.

Speed okay. If I am not flowing, there is a problem. The most likely reason I would not be flowing is that the sound coming out of your mouth is not words. If this happens, I will most likely close my laptop or put down my pen until I can recognize the sounds you are making.

Disclosure Theory: I am a small school coach. My teams are not required to post their cases online. I don't like it when teams lose debates to rules those teams didn't know were "rules". If disclosure is mandated by the tournament's invitation, I will listen. I also, will not attend that tournament. So, just don't run it. Inclusion o/w your fairness arguments.

PF: I judge on an offence/defense paradigm. Logic is good, evidence is better. I'm the guy who will vote on first strike good or dedev. Tech over truth, but I will not give a low point win in PF, and try to stay true to the speaking roots of PF. F/W is the most important part of the debate for me. It is a gateway issue that provides the lens through which to view my decision. I have done a moderate amount of research, but I probably haven't read that article. I may be doing it wrong, but I like logic when judging a PF round. I don't think you have time to develop DAs or Ks, but have no other objection to their existence. Jeff Miller says to answer these questions if judging PF... - do you expect everything in the final focus to also be in the summary? Yes. At least tangentially. The first final focus of the round needs to be able to predict the direction of the the final speech. If it's not in the Summary it gives an unfair advantage to the second speaker. - Do second speaking teams have to respond to the first rebuttal? No, but its a good idea. It makes for a better debate and I will award speaker points will be awarded for doing this. - Do first speaking teams have to extend defense in the first summary? If you want to extend defense in the final focus. - Do you flow/judge off crossfire? Cross is binding, but it needs to be made in the speech to count on the ballot. That being said, at this tournament, damaging crossfire questions have provided major links and changed the momentum of debates. - Do teams have to have more than one contention? No. - does framework have to be read in the constructives? Responsive F/w is allowed but not advisable in rebuttal only.

LD: For me, this is policy light. I understand it, but I try not to be influenced by a lack of policy jargon in the round. IE I will accept an argument that says "The actor could enact both the affirmative action and the negative action." as a permutation without the word perm being used in the round. I tend to view values and value criterion as a framework debate that influences the mechanisms for weighing impacts. I am a little lenient on 1ar line by line debate, but coverage should be sufficient to allow the nr to do their job. I will protect the nr from new 2ar argument to a fault. I will not vote on morally repugnant arguments like "extinction good" or "rocks are more important than people".

tl;dr: Spend a lot of time on F/W. Impact your arguments.

Policy Debate: (Having this in here is a little ridiculous. Its kinda like, "back in my day we had inherency debates. No one talks about inherent barriers anymore...)

I am human, and I have made mistakes judging rounds. But, I reserve the right to dock speaker points for arguing after the round.
I have few problems with speed. If you are unclear, I will say clear or loud once and then put my pen down or close my laptop. I love 1NC's and 2ACs that number their arguments.
I want the debaters to make my decision as easy as possible. My RFD should be very very similar to the first 3 sentences of the 2AR or 2NR.
After a harm is established, I presume it is better to do something rather than nothing. So in a round devoid of offence, I vote affirmative

The K:
As a debater and a younger coach, I did not understand nor enjoy the kritik. As the neg we may have run it as the 7th off case argument, and as the aff we responded to the argument with framework and theory. As I've grown as a coach I've started to understand the educational benefits of high school students reading advanced philosophy. That being said, In order to vote negative on the kritik, I need a very, very clear link, and reason to reject the aff. I dislike one-off-K, and standard Ks masked with a new name. I do, however, enjoy listening to critical affirmatives related to the topic. I am often persuaded by PIK's, and vague alts bad theory.

Don't assume that I have read the literature. I have not.

Non-traditional debate: We are a small and very diverse squad, and I (to some extent) understand that struggle. I have coached a fem rage team, and loved it.

I have no particular aversion to theoretical objections. As an observation, I do not vote on them often. I need a clear reason to reject the other team. I will occasionally vote neg on Topicality, but you have to commit. I think cheaty CPs are bad for debate, and enjoy voting on ridiculous CP is ridiculous theory. I still need some good I/L to Education to reject the team.

Parliamentary debate:
I enjoy this format. I will adopt a policy maker F/W unless otherwise instructed.

Ankie Camacho Paradigm

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Susi Campbell Paradigm

UPDATE: 2/14/2020, re: Harvard tournament - This will be my second tournament judging Congress; I judged previously at last month's Barkley Forum at Emory. In other years, here at Harvard, I've judged both PF and LD.

I have judged both PF and LD, on local circuits and at the Harvard National tournament, for the past three seasons and judged BQ @ the 2018 NSDA Nationals. I'm a former high school (Science) teacher, and love being involved with high schoolers again through Debate.

A few things:

-Although I've been judging for quite awhile now, I began as a parent judge, with no background in debate. After 3 years of judging and parenting a varsity LD debater, my technical knowledge has expanded tremendously, but still has limits. Know that I will judge you technically to the best of my ability. But ultimately, as judges, we are to award the round to the most convincing debater(s). You might have a technically perfect case, but that doesn't necessarily mean that you'll ultimately actually CONVINCE me.

- I'm not a fan of progressive debate strategies. IMO, spreading is a gimmick, and devalues the essence of debate. If I can't follow what you're saying, you're not communicating with me. And if you aren't communicating, what's the point? So, while a little speed is fine, if you see me stop flowing, you know you've lost me. Similarly I'm not a big fan of counterplans/Ks etc. either. BUT I'm always open to hearing them; sometimes they're awesome! (Just don't pull that if you're a 1st year novice debater going against another newbie. It's no fun to see a 14-yo kid get obliterated in only their second round ever because your varsity teammates shared their cases with you for the purpose of doing just that to your opponent. I've seen it - more than once - and it's really painful to watch and demoralizing for your opponent.)

- I WILL be flowing throughout the debate, so please organize/structure to make that easier for me - i.e. a clearly defined framework and contentions (signposts!), off-time road maps, voters etc.

- I like when opponents challenge evidence during CX, so that we ALL know the info is being accurately and honestly presented. Have your 'cards' ready!

- Typically I won't disclose at the end of the round, but will enter RFDs and speaker notes in Tabroom where I can better organize my thoughts.

- Demonstrating respectful behavior is huge for me. Sighing/eye-rolling behaviors are rude and disrespectful to your opponent. Be very cognizant about coming across as verbally abusive or condescending. Simply having the courage to come into the room and participate in the challenge of debate makes you worthy of MY respect, and your opponent's. I WILL deduct 'speaks' if this is a problem, or if really egregious, I will drop you.

- I'm very relaxed as a judge. I want you to be comfortable in the room with me, and am really proud to have gotten a lot of positive feedback from debaters about that. Introduce yourself. Feel free to joke/laugh. Smiles are great. Remember to have fun and ENJOY the experience!

Trey Cobb Paradigm

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Maylee Costa Paradigm

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Nancy Dean Paradigm

Nancy Dean- Director of speech and debate at Western High School in south Florida. I have been the head coach for 19 years, main interest is Congress

Speak clearly, do NOT spread. I look for well thought out arguments, no canned speeches. There must be clash or there is no debate. I stop listening when there is one-sided debate.

I read the bills so make sure you are on point with your arguments, refute and extend. Rehash will not be cool. Where you get your sources is important to me.

The PO will most certainly be considered.

Do not be rude, but again, clash is important. Look and play the part of a representative/senator. You are not a kid in high school, be well polished. I'm good with NO handshakes. :)

Srikanth Dharmavaram Paradigm

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Dr. Michael Edmonds Paradigm

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Jomi Epoyun Paradigm

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Jackie Evrard-Vescio Paradigm

While I enjoy judging a variety of events and encourage students to have fun with competing, I do take judging events very seriously. I have been coaching a small, yet quickly growing team for almost three years and have been a middle and high school judge for almost six years. I judge consistently on both the local and national circuits, including the TOC and NSDA championships.

I strive to remain objective regardless of personal opinions and have often ranked students debating on the side of an argument I may not agree with personally because they were the most convincing or were able to poke holes in the arguments presented on other sides. I believe that as a coach and a judge it is my job to provide detailed critiques and solid feedback to all students, even those I rank highly, to best serve the hardworking students competing at these tournaments.

in general, my paradigms include strong evidence to back up claims, well-constructed and organized speeches and assertive, yet not too aggressive questioning. I expect courteous, respectful behavior at all times, both in and out of sessions, and frown upon negative facial expressions, comments, hand gestures and the like.

Specifically regarding Public Forum debate, I want the participants to be able to show me why the team won the round and each speech after the first constructive should have clash. That said, I am not a fan of spreading and look for a combination of persuasion, argumentation and reasoning in each round.

Regarding delivery, I will not mark down for speaking quickly, as long as I am able to follow what is being said. I look for debaters who make eye contact and are not simply reading a well-written speech. While voice projection and inflection are in no way valued over content and argumentation, they do go a long way with impact and keeping the attention of listeners.

Paul Gaba Paradigm

    • I've been coaching in southeast Florida since 2000, and have had national qualifiers in Policy Debate, Lincoln Douglas Debate, Public Forum Debate, and World Schools Debate. Some have even advanced beyond prelims!

(1) Picture ... if you will ... your 93-year-old great-grandfather. In order for him to understand the words coming out of your mouth, you must speak clearly. Very clearly. I'm not 93, or your great-grandfather (or, at least, to the best of my knowledge I'm not - and if I am, why am I judging you? You're my great-grandchild! Conflict of interest!), but I weigh clarity highly. If I cannot understand you, and stop flowing (whether via old-school "putting the pen down" or new-school "no longer pounding away on my laptop keyboard"), you are probably losing the round. Badly.

(1a) My iPad tends to merge words together when I try to flow using electronic ballots. Which means I sometimes miss arguments while trying to fix the hot mess typos. Or when I look back on the round to review, there’s chunks missing. Clarity in your presentation will go a long way toward me remembering what you said and why it was important. “Speed kills” isn’t just about how you drive on the roadways. Speaking of which ...

(1b) Debate is an educational communications activity. It's about persuasion; competitors ought to hone and practice the skills that will be effective in the real world; I expect no less in a debate round. Spewing out random crap just because you think a 72nd argument will win you the round won't cut it. The ONLY spreading that matters is cream cheese on a toasted onion bagel. (Mmmmm, toasted onion bagel ... with cream cheese ... and lox ...)

But I digress.

(2) In Policy Debate, "End of the world" nuke war-type arguments don't sway me. (Actually, this holds true in all other debate events, too!) We've somehow managed to survive the Cold War, Krushchev's shoe-banging incident, and that immature Canadian singer who makes me want to puke (and whose name I refuse to print or say).

(2a) I rarely call for cards. Like, I’ve done it maybe twice in 15+ years? Don’t expect to be the third.

(3) I prefer substance over style.

(3a) I also prefer you treat you opponent and the judge (and, in a paired event, your partner) like they are human beings. DO NOT GO DONALD TRUMP IN A ROUND - YOU WILL LOSE POINTS, AND PROBABLY LOSE THE ROUND ... BADLY.

(4) In Lincoln Douglas Debate, I'm really old school - it's a philosophical debate, not a forum to jam statistics and facts down my throat. Notice that "OLD SCHOOL" has the initials "LD" embedded in the name. Live it; learn it; know it.

(5) I am not a "point fairy" (earning a 30 from me is damn next to impossible) but am not overly harsh ... unless you do something reallllllllly stupid or insulting, in which case, fear my wrath! Also, I will deduct an entire point if I don't believe you are flowing the majority of the time you should be OR if you pack-up your belongings and don't take notes/look at your flow during my RFD/critique. (BTW, I rarely disclose, but I will offer analysis of things that occurred during the round.)

(6) Ben & Jerry's Cherry Garcia rocks my dirty socks. So do Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers (RIP, Tom!), Monty Python, the Detroit Red Wings, and Mountain Dew. Sadly, I'm not supposed to have Ben & Jerry's or Mountain Dew anymore (damn you, Type 2 diabetes!), but such is life. Then again, we've survived that previously-referenced Canadian singer ... so far ...

Greg Garza Paradigm

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Sasha Gonzalez Paradigm

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Lysette Gonzalez Paradigm

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Richard Grosso Paradigm

Hi! Son of judge here. I would describe my dad as a flay judge that leans more towards lay. He will vote off of content (he won't drop you for speaking style) but he won't necessarily vote off the flow. If I were you I would prioritize winning the narrative debate and just having a very clear warrant story rather than winning off of technical extension. Even though he isn't a flow judge, he takes notes and tends to be pretty decent at understanding arguments even if he won't hold you accountable for extending them cleanly.

Progressive Args: He is willing to listen to anything really, but he's lay. If you run a Kritik of some kind that links to the topic, you should be fine so long as you just treat it like a normal argument and weigh it as "morality" rather than calling it a K. If you're running shells that are off topic (disclosure, paraphrasing, dates etc) or say "the resolution isn't important, debate XYZ instead" he will drop you instantly and be in a bad mood all day, so don't do that for my sake. He believes that debating a topic is about persuading him that your side of the argument is the more correct one, furthering understanding of issues and helping decision-makers make the best decisions. For him, its about the issue to be decided, not the process or game of debating.

Speed: I wouldn't go past 200 WPM, obviously if you openly spread and give him a speech doc, he won't read it and he'll just drop you. He's a smart guy but he's lay, and believes that you cannot persuade a judge who can’t understand what you are saying.

Decorum: He's one of those lawyer judges that LOVES professionalism in round. If you show any sign that you aren't taking things seriously or are not respecting the other side, he will HATE it. Wear professional, what old people would call "court room" clothes. He believes that being relaxed and humorous can be an effective form of persuasion, but be very tasteful and charismatic. Don't just go off.

Rudeness: VERY IMPORTANT DISTINCTION HERE, he loves "aggression and power" in speeches, NOT crossfires. If you're rude in cross he'll probably drop you, not even because he's offended by rudeness, he'll just assume you're losing and don’t have the better argument if you have to "resort" to being rude.

Ursula Gruber Paradigm


If you seem like you are having fun and maintaining civility, I will listen to pretty much any argument that isn't intentionally obnoxious or repugnant (death good, racial equity bad, etc.). I prefer lines of argument that don't rely on nuclear war or extinction, but if your case is strong, go for it.

Clash and analysis are key. Use your case to analyze and refute your opponent's arguments. Don't just toss out cards; explain WHY and HOW. If your logic/reasoning is sound, you don't need to extend every card to win. I prefer strategic condensing over shallow line by line rebuttal.

I thoroughly enjoy critical debate. I think it fits super well with the intent of LD. Logic must be sound and you MUST use the conceptual framework of your K as the basis for your argumentation (i.e. don't read "We can't draw conceptual lines between people," and then respond to case with phrases like "those people")

Make sure you weigh your impacts for me. I may have a different perspective so if you don't make the weighing explicit, you are leaving it up to my interpretation. This includes ROBs, etc.

I expect timers and flashing to work without much delay. Having issues more than once in a round will lose speaks.

My speaks start at 28 for circuit tournaments. I'll dock a varsity debater more often for nonsense or rudeness than a JV debater. Making me laugh is a good way to bump up your points. Enunciation is also a bonus.

CX is important and ought to be used for more than just clarification questions. Don't be rude or talk over each other, especially if you are up against a less experienced debater. I will dock points for badgering novices.


I don't mind speed, as long as you are clear. I will only call "clear" twice in a varsity round. Taglines, authors, and card interp should be noticeably slower. It is up to the speaker to communicate their arguments and be aware of the audience's attention level.


I evaluate the full participation of the chamber, from docket maneuvers to quality and variety of questions. Successful legislators are those who drive the debate, present new/unique arguments, extend/refute/deepen previous arguments, choose sources carefully, and use parliamentary procedure appropriately. Debate on the merits/flaws of the specific legislation is given more weight than general issue arguments. Delivery style can enhance the persuasiveness of your analysis, but will not make up for canned speeches, poor supporting materials, or rehashed arguments.

POs are an essential part of the chamber. They set the mood, pace, and attitude of the chamber. It is a risk, and that is taken to account when I score. POs with a good pace and no major errors are very likely to be ranked.

Note on authorships/first pros: The price for establishing recency is that your speech must provide some background for the debate and at least one reason why this legislation in particular is/is not the answer.


The purpose of evidence in all forms of debate is to support your arguments with expert testimony, not to BE your arguments. I will only ask for cards if something sounds exceptionally wonky. Have some understanding of the bias of your sources (Are they all from conservative think tanks?, etc.). It is generally up to your opponent(s) to point out blatantly wrong evidence, but I will dock for egregious offenses.

Diane Harrison Paradigm

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David Hu Paradigm

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Hi! I'm David Hu, a current freshman at Emory University. I competed in Extemp on the national circuit for 3 years, and have also dabbled in Congress and PF.

Congress Paradigm (adapted from Michael Ryter for the Barkley Forum)

Here's what I'm generally looking for:

-- Know your place in the round! Early speeches should focus on constructive arguments, mid-round speeches should focus on refutation and extending arguments, and late-round speeches should crystalize and weigh the debate.

--Clear Warrants! You need to explain the link chain behind your evidence/argument and why it's true. This advances debate because it makes it easier for other legislators to engage with your arguments, which helps you. The best debaters can simplify complex arguments and explain them powerfully, clearly, and concisely.

--Clash! Starting with the first negative, every speech should be refuting and building off of previous speeches. It's not enough to contradict someone, say their name, and then say you're right. Compared to most other Congress judges, I value clash slightly less than average.

--Ask Questions! Please ask questions, both to set up analysis in your own speech or to prove someone wrong. If you simply give a speech and don't ask questions, I'll have a hard time ranking you.

--Impacts! Be detailed. Explain to me how the U.S. will be better if we vote on your side of the debate. Ideally quantified (dependent on bill topic). Over the top rhetoric is wasting your time, not a substitute for logic and evidence.

--Evidence! Your evidence should actually support your argument, not tangentially related prep from a bill you debated last year.

--Speaking Speed: I'm fine with fast speaking, but please enunciate well and don't yell. I am not great at flowing extremely fast speakers, but unless you spread or lose clarity, I should be able to handle it.

--Speaking Style: Congress is still a forensics event, thus I do not rank competitors highly if they completely sacrifice presentation for content.

--Presiding: I evaluate POs just like any other speaker in the round - they are definitely not automatically ensured a rank.

--Decorum: Sexist, racist, homophobic, transphobic, etc. comments to legislators or arguments in round will not be tolerated.

Jason Huang Paradigm

For Congressional Debate:

To judge the merits of evidence, I look to the links and warrants given to me. If there are competing links and warrants that are logically explained and also backed up by evidence, I consider the frameworks given to me. If there are competing frameworks and none are clearly superior, or if none are given, then I will weigh the frameworks and links myself. If only one acceptable framework is provided, even if there are significant holes, I will use that to judge the debate.

I also highly value impacting out evidence, and weighing them against each other. What I do not want to see is a complete defensive position where speakers refuse to acknowledge the merits of opposing arguments and simply try to win by throwing back more/ "better" evidence. Admit when your opponents raise a valid concern, and feel free to attack them back by going for the links and other weak areas in their argumentation instead of just denying or ignoring their evidence. I value offensive arguments higher than defensive arguments.

I believe Congressional debate should also partly be judged on speaking, and so I will look for things like an intro, conclusion, and other stylistic elements that will help me rank speakers higher against their peers with comparable quality of argumentation.

References to how awesome the blue devils are and how terrible UNC is will get a clap.

Dr. Mike Janas Paradigm

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Novice Johnson Paradigm

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Emad Kashif Paradigm

I did PF for three years on the circuit with Timber Creek High School. I'm a flow judge. I'm okay with you talking relatively fast as long as you're speaking clearly. Please don't spread.

Here are a few things I give a lot of importance to in round:

Legitimacy of your cards: I'm not going to vote off of any card that isn't saying what you claim it to be saying

Weighing: I need to hear weighing of impacts in the round because if a round is left where both teams still have offense, I'm forced to make that decision on my own

I don't flow crossfire so if something important is said in crossfire please bring it up again in the speeches. Otherwise, just be kind and professional.

Cliff Kraner Paradigm

I'm an administrator at Northland Christian that has been traveling with our debate team for over 10 years. Over the years, I have judged a variety of events like PF, Congress, and IEs. Each year, I judge at a couple of tournaments for our school like Berkeley and Glenbrooks. When making a decision, I will look mainly at content and style. Students should not speak too fast and should make logical arguments throughout the debate; they should be considerate to their opponents and the judge throughout the round. I will not keep a rigorous flow throughout the round, but I will take notes to help me make a decision. For Isidore Newman, I will be judging Worlds. I have seen a couple of practice rounds and understand the style and expectation of students in this format, but this will be the first time I judge this event.

Maya Levkovitz Paradigm

Credentials: I did Congress for four years at Dreyfoos School of the Arts in South Florida, was good at it, now I coach/judge (often) for Bronx Science in NYC.

I love POs and am looking for a reason to rank the PO high. If you mess up recency/precedence once it's not going to kill you, but if it's a consistent issue, or you mess up parliamentary procedure, you'll fall pretty quickly down my ballot.

Don't be cocky or rude (poking fun and jokes are totally cool and make things interesting), make good arguments (if you don't have an impact, which means explaining the effect of the legislation and why it's good/bad, it doesn't count no matter how pretty you sound), and care about what you're saying. You also definitely need to have some sort of speech structure. I'm totally cool with, and actually a fan of, speeches with different structures than ones with simply two points, but you need to actually make that structure clear through signposting.

Speaking well matters but only to the point that your presentation isn't distracting.

also please refute oml

Richard LoSardo Paradigm

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Allison Maher Paradigm

Regarding my background, I have served as a career diplomat with the U.S. Department of State and have served in U.S. Embassies across the globe as well as in Washington, DC and at the United Nations. Prior to that, I initially began my career working on Wall Street for Goldman Sachs in corporate finance. I transitioned to consulting on international finance for Price Waterhouse, and then left to begin a career in government working for the CIA. All that to say, my background is heavy on foreign policy, economics, and finance. I have judged speech and debate for the past 15 years but most actively in the last 5 years. I have judged every speech and debate event on both the local and national circuits. Congress has become one of my favorite events to judge because almost every round there is an issue that I can relate to from real world experience and it is truly a joy to watch students delve into significant and strategic issues.

I tend to spend more time listening and evaluating your arguments than I do writing feedback, though I aim to give constructive comments. In general, I look for strong evidence to back up arguments and well constructed and articulated speeches. Coming from a diplomatic background, I like a courteous debate, although I appreciate, when appropriate, the need to be assertive and forward leaning in defending a position.

I am very objective when it comes to the issues. However, I will mark down for a speech that does not stand up in the status quo. While content and argumentation are at the forefront of my judging criteria, I do appreciate fluidity and strength in delivery. I frown on rehash and grandstanding. Speeches should also demonstrate strong impact. Questions should be relevant and purposeful. Lastly, I especially enjoy judging rounds where students are listening and creating good clash. Have fun and make it a true debate!

Colin Malinak Paradigm

I care most about the round being educational and safe. Ultimately, I'm going to sign my ballot for the team with the least mitigated link chain into the best weighed impact.

I’m fairly tab, so feel free to read anything but be prepared to justify why you’re winning that argument and ultimately why that argument matters in the greater context of the round.

Defense sticks for the first speaking team until it's frontlined; it needs to be extended in FF, though. I don't care what 2nd rebuttal does, only that defense is extended the speech after it's frontlined.

Offense needs to appear in both the summary and the FF for me to evaluate it. Offense is more than just a card tag or author name - warranting is very important.

I don’t want to read evidence and more importantly you don’t want me to read evidence. My interpretation may not match yours and that preempts any muddiness in the round.

Please. Please don’t lie to me in your FF - “unresponded to” is almost never the case and is generally synonymous with “unextended.” Do the work. I won’t do it for you.

Becca Marks Paradigm

Updated for Emory 2020

If you have questions about anything here, just ask!


-I don't have a preference between early/mid/late round speeches - just give the best speech. I evaluate each speech for the role it needs to serve in the round. So, if you're sitting on a neg and we go to a 2-minute recess because you're insistent on doing a crystallization speech and no one else has a neg, I'll be annoyed. If you're able to show me multiple types of speeches throughout the session (especially if I'm the parli), that's great.

-Expectations for authorship/sponsorship/1st aff: problem/solution; identify a framework/burden/scope to evaluate debate; have a central narrative

-Expectations for mid-round speech: Refute; have a central narrative

-Expectations for late speech: Refute & boil the debate down to a main issue or 2; have a central narrative

-Have a clear, specific, and offensive thesis coming out of the introduction.

-Have clear warrants; if they stem from the legislation directly, even better. Particularly in mid/late speeches, weighing/clash is super important.

-No rehash.

-Neg speeches can't say the leg is bad because it doesn't do something unless that thing is mutually exclusive with the action of the legislation; if the leg is that we should all eat more bananas and your neg is no we should eat more apples, unless you can prove that we can't eat apples AND bananas the point doesn't work. I also don't love points about complacency - they generally feel stock to me. Both of these types of points (do x not y; complacency) feel like avoidance of engaging with the actual legislation - neg speeches must demonstrate the inherent harm(s) of passing.

-No stock intros/conclusions. I like an attention-grabbing intro of some kind and when the conclusion ties a bow with the opening.

-I don't have a preference for being in the simulation or avoiding it. If you start talking about your constituents and your office in D.C., I will likely roll my eyes. On the other hand, talking about your current high school Bio class doesn't work either.

-Stay involved throughout the entire session. If you give an A+ speech but ask zero questions, you'll get ranked below an A- speech and strong, well-spaced questions.

-I will rank you as the PO if you're a strong PO (fast & efficient, knowledgeable about RR, clear command of chamber). Being the PO is neither a guarantee of a rank nor of a drop for me - if you do an A job as the PO, it'll be ranked the same as if you did an A job as a speaker.


-I don't flow cross; if you want me to evaluate something out of CX, you need to mention it in a later speech.

-If you want me to evaluate something from FF, it also needs to appear in the summary.

-Make sure to identify moments of clash. Don't let the two ships just pass in the night; tell me where the boats crash and why yours stays afloat.

-Make sure to weigh arguments. Tell me what the key points of the debate are so that I don't have to determine them myself.

-I won't make a decision based on politeness, but being excessively rude/abrasive in cross annoys me and will negatively impact your speaker points.

-Unless there's true abuse in the round, I won't vote on theory.

Will Mascaro Paradigm

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Matt McCarthy Paradigm

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Gregory McGee Paradigm

I am the assistant debate coach at Taylor High School and was the Mayde Creek Coach for many years in Houston, TX. Although I have coached and judged on the National Circuit, it is not something I regularly do or particularly enjoy. I was a policy debater in high school and college, but that was along time ago. My experience is primarily congress and LD. In the past several years I have been running tab rooms in the Houston area. That said, here are a few things you may want to know:

Civility: I believe we have a real problem in our activity with the lack of civility (and occasional lack of basic human decency). I believe it is discouraging people from participating. Do not make personal attacks or references. Be polite in CX. Forget anything you have ever learned about "perceptual dominance." This is no longer just a loss of speaker points. I will drop you on rudeness alone, regardless of the flow.

Speed: I used to say you could go 6-7 on a 10 point scale... don't. Make it a 3-4 or I will miss that critical analytical warrant you are trying to extend through ink. I am warning you this is not just a stylistic preference. I work tab a lot more than I judge rounds, and do not have the ear that I had when I was judging fast rounds all the time. Run the short version of your cases in front of me. This is particularly true of non-stock, critical positions or multiple short points.

Evidence: I think the way we cut and paraphrase cards is problematic. This is closely related to speed. I would prefer to be able to follow the round and analyze a card without having to read it after it is emailed to me (or call for it after the round). That said, if you feel you have to go fast for strategic reasons, then include me on the chain. I will ignore your spreading and read your case. However, be aware if I have to read your case/evidence, I will. I will read the entire card, not just the highlighted portion. If I think the parts left out or put in 4 point font change the meaning of the argument, or do not support your tag, I will disregard your evidence, regardless of what the opponent says in round. So either go slow or have good, solid evidence.

Theory: I will vote on theory where there is clear abuse. I prefer reasonability as opposed to competing interpretations. Running theory against a stock case for purely competitive advantage annoys me. Argue the case. I don't need a comprehensive theory shell and counter interpretations, and I do not want to see frivolous violations. See my assumptions below.

Assumptions: I believe that debate should be fair and definitions and framework should be interpreted so that both sides have ground and it is possible for either side to win. Morality exists, Justice is not indeterminate, Genocide is bad. I prefer a slower debate focusing on the standard,with well constructed arguments with clash on both sides of the flow. Fewer better arguments are better than lots of bad ones. I am biased towards true arguments.Three sentences of postmodern gibberish cut out of context is not persuasive. Finally, I think the affirmative should be trying to prove the entire resolution true and the negative proves it is not true. (a normative evaluation). You would need to justify your parametric with a warrant other than "so I can win."

Progressive stuff: I will not absolutely rule it out or vote against you, but you need to sell it and explain it. Why is a narrative useful and why should I vote for it? A K better link hard to the opponents case and be based on topical research not just a generic K that has been run on any topic/debater. If you can not explain the alternative or the function of the K in CX in a way that makes sense, I won't vote for it. I am not sure why you need a plan in LD, or why the affirmative links to a Disad. I am not sure how fiat is supposed to work in LD. I do not see why either side has to defend the status quo.

Conclusion: If you want to have a fun TOC style debate with tons of critical positions going really fast, preference a different judge. (Hey, I am not blaming you, some of my debaters loved that sort of thing cough-Jeremey / Valentina / Alec/ Claudia -cough, It is just that I don't).


I am fairly flexible in Congress. I like smart, creative speeches. I rate a good passionate persuasive speech over a speech with tons of evidence. Use logos, pathos, and ethos. I think it is good to act like a member of Congress, but not in an over the top way. Questions and answers are very important to me and make the difference in rank. Ask smart questions that advance the debate. Standing up to just ask a dumb question to “participate “ hurts you. I don’t like pointless parliamentary games (who does?). I like a P.O. who is fair and efficient. The P.O. almost always makes my ballot unless they make several big mistakes and or are unfair. (Not calling on a competitor, playing favorites etc.) . If you think your P.O is not being fair, call them on it politely.

Harriet Medlin Paradigm

8 rounds

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Steve Medoff Paradigm

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Thinzar Min Paradigm

ABOUT ME -wink

Not everyone can do Speech and Debate. Once you are in the Speech and Debate tournament, be know “you are already more than an above average students".

My son brought me into Speech and Debate world in 2018 as a parent judge. Later, I came across to know judges are some of the most vital contributors to the speech and debate community.

I have been judging in Speech Events (HI, DI, DUO, EXT, OO), Debate Events (LD, PF, Policy) and Congressional Debate.

I enjoy judging Congressional Debates where I can see many debaters debate on numerous topics in the student chamber.

I favor to give points and rank high upon following skills even though congressional leaders need to be successful in passing legislation.

- Assertiveness – Standing up for one’s beliefs and being able to confidently take charge of difficult situations, making tough decisions despite opposition. In a politically charged environment where everyone is vying for their opinion to be heard, being assertive is key.

- Building Alliances – Earning trust and respect from others and taking the time to build effective working relationships with individuals.

- Commitment - Passionately and enthusiastically demonstrating a dedication to the causes and beliefs you espouse.

- Conflict Resolution - Effectively resolving misunderstandings, disagreements, and disputes with other individuals. Directly addressing issues with others in a non-threatening manner. Being willing to compromise in order to maintain effective working relationships.

- Influence - Using a variety of persuasion tactics, interpersonal skills, and communication and presentation strategies to convince others to make decisions that are mutually beneficial to all parties involved.

- Presentation Skills - Using effective verbal and nonverbal communication skills to clearly deliver information to a variety of audiences. Being confident and comfortable when speaking in front of groups. Making presentations that are clear, engaging and impactful.


- FGCCFL Grand Finals 2020 2/28 -2/29 Congress

- FGCCFL February All Events 2020 2/8 IE & Congress

- FGCCFL January All Events 2020 1/18 -1/18 IE & Congress

- Florida Sunshine District Tournament 2019 12/14 -3/28 Congress

- The Sunvitational 2020 1/10 -1/12 Congress

- FGCCFL December All Events 2019 12/7 IE & Congress

- Barkley Forum for High Schools 2020 1/24 -1/26

- Congressional Debate FGCCFL September All Events 2019 9/28 -9/28 IE & Congress

- Florida Blue Key 2019 11/1 -11/3 Congress

- Yale Invitational 2019 9/13 -9/15 Speech

- FGCCFL Grand Finals 2019 2/22 -2/23 Lincoln-Douglas

- Barkley Forum for High Schools 2019 1/25 -1/27

- Congressional Debate Florida Sunshine District Tournament 2018 12/8 -3/9

- Congressional Debate FGCCFL November All Events 2018 11/17 -11/17 IE and Congress

- FGCCFL October All Events 2018 10/13 -10/13 Lincoln-Douglas

- FGCCFL September All Events 2018 9/22 -9/22 Public Forum Yale Invitational 2018 9/14 -9/16 Varsity Public Forum



- MBBS, University of Medicine, Yangon, Myanmar.

Post graduate:

- MPH, London School of Hyigene and Tropical Medicine, University London, UK

- MSc. Computer Science, Western Illinois University

- Post Doc Medical Informatics Fellowship, Health Science Technology, Harvard-MIT

CURRENT ROLE: Director, Health Care Quality Improvement at Anthem, Inc

Shawn Nix Paradigm

I have judged debate since 2001. Since 2014, I have coached Public Forum and Speech events and am the current Co-Director of Speech and Debate at Cary Academy in North Carolina.

DEBATE: In debate (LD/PF) I look for clear claims, evidence and links to logical, clear impacts. I flow each round and look for you to bring your arguments through the round, tell me the clash and how I should weigh the round. Speed speaking isn't real world and I won't flow what I have to work too hard to follow. Asking for evidence for common sense issues won't count either. I look for logical links to impact, clear organized argumentation that tells me how to vote. You can use flow jargon, but tell me why. You want me to flow across the round? cross apply? for instance, tell me why. Secondly, don't exaggerate your evidence, I used to be a little more laid back about that but no more. If it is challenged and you made it up or exaggerated it, I likely won't pick you up no matter how great a speaker you are. Finally, I'm not here to show you how smart or clever I am. AND Two things - 1.) do a kritik and you are likely going to lose because you failed to acknowledge that ideas can conflict and are worthy of discussion and 2.) "the tech over truthers" and other silly judging paradigms doesn't make you a more articulate conveyor of ideas after you leave high school, so don't look for me to do that either. I will know the topic, but judge like a lay judge. Convince me. Have fun and enjoy the activity!

For Speech events. I am always enthusiastic about great cutting and a good story in interp. I want to see differentiated characters in a setting I can imagine. In platform events, great organization is invaluable. During competition, show me you believe what you are telling me! I want legitimate solutions that are concrete and well researched. Also, platform is 50% presentaton and 50% content for me. If I can find all of the evidence and analysis for your speech on the first page of Google, you won't get first no matter how amazing you are as a presenter.

CONGRESS: Well researched unique takes on a resolution is important. Simple stock arguments and analysis is easy. I look for you to look deeper into the consequences/outcome of passage. I hate rehash, not only is it boring but it suggests you needed to listen more closely. I'll mark that against you. Refutation of previous speeches shows careful analysis in the moment and it shows you have more than your case you wrote the night before. Presentation is also important. I don't like BS for the sake of being a good presenter but a balance of solid research, thoughtful analysis, ambitious and relevant refutation from a persuasive speaker.

Abbas Omar Paradigm

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Suzann Overton Paradigm

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Sandy Parsotan Paradigm

I am looking for clear speeches with refutations. No REHASH. Eye contact and fluency is important. Strong argumentation and good use of evidence.

Aleisha Readye Paradigm

I may seem like I am not paying attention but I am listening. I am not very good at small talk so if you have a question just ask me.

To the point:

I am very much a progressive traditionalist when it comes to Public Forum.

What does that mean?

Yes, I believe that parents should be 100% comfortable judging public forum debate at all levels. It is your job as a debater to adapt and NOT the other way around.

Fast talking is fine. Don’t spread. Creative Arguments, I am listening. You are not actually topical, but you are in the direction of the topic, YES, I am still listening.

FRAMING IS THE BEST PART OF PUBLIC FORUM DEBATE. How your team frames the round should be strategic and work in your team’s advantage. A team should only concede framework if they actually believe that they can win the debate under the other team’s framework. Otherwise, defend your framework. If they call you out for “abusive framework” tell me why it’s not and why I should still be voting under it.

While it’s not mandatory, if you are speaking second you should address your opponent’s rebuttal. I don’t expect you to split your time in some specific way, but at the end of the day a speech did happen just moments before yours and you kind of need to engage with it. (Translated: Must respond to your opponent’s case and defend your own)

Rebuttals: cover their case in the context of yours. cross applications are going to be key to get me to sign the ballot in your favor.

I do not flow cross, but I am listening and PRAYING that all the cool things that take place during this time find a place in speeches. Otherwise all the sweating, panting, and exchanging of evidence was pointless.


If it isn't in Rebuttal, it can't be in Summary. If it isn't in Summary, you can't go for it in Final Focus.

Oh ya, I am bad at speaker points.

As it relates to LD -

Fast talking is acceptable but I cannot deal with spreading for extended periods of time, flow, and be objective. My mind drifts whenever people speak to me in the same cadence for extended periods of time.

Spreading: My brain can’t handle it which is why I generally avoid judging TOC Circuit Varsity LD debates. I do this because I agree that spreading is a skill and I understand that since you are on the circuit you would probably like to have opportunity to do so. However, if you get the wonderful privilege of having me judge you, I will expect you to do a few things to enhance my involvement in the round. I ask that you not practice spreading in front of me.

“I hear everything when in sensory overload. But it’s not as if I can hear what is being said; rather it is just many, many sounds, unfiltered and loud. It feels like sounds are coming at me from every direction. Lights from all directions also seem to glare in my eyes. Sensory overload is horrible.” — Laura Seil Ruszczyk

I evaluate framework first. I prefer debates that are topical. That said, I think on most of the resolutions for LD there are lots of topical discussions debaters can engage about race and identity matters.

If they say they are in the direction of topic and clearly articulate how they are, I would probably agree that they are probably pretty topical. However, I do think T is a real argument.

I prefer students use cx for question and answer exchanges not extra prep.

Timothy Richmond Paradigm

My belief is that judges should be tabula rasa. A debater isn’t expected to change their style to accommodate a judge. I also believe that debate is a game; any logically coherent contention is fair game in a debate round. Effective argumentation is more important than speed! Quality over quantity. Debate isn’t about individual people, it is about policy, so my decision will be based on that. Don’t be racist, sexist, homophobic, etc. My role as the judge is to be the decision maker and here are some guidelines:

1.      Aff has the burden of proof and the Neg has the burden of refutation. The Aff must always be able to prove their case.

2.      Impact outweighs and analysis should always be considered. The impact can be critical to persuasion.

3.      CX- It isn’t judged or affect the round, unless the debater brings it up in their speeches; but it does affect speaker points. There is a difference between being assertive and being rude.

4.      CLARIFY- clarity of the round is crucial in decision making. Debaters should tell what's going on, what it means, what's important, and especially WHY it's important.

5.       Speed- Debate is a communicative activity. I am not able to flow the arguments if I cannot clearly understand what you’re saying.


6.      Dropped Arguments- Dropped arguments are not enough for me to vote someone down. It is the role of the debater to prove to the judge why that dropped argument changes the entire debate. 

Jacob Simpson Paradigm

I prefer a slow persuasive debate with an emphasis on clash, with a focus on evidence and real world impacts. While I find that the framework debate can be extremely beniftial in helping ones own case I not find that it is the most important part of the debate and feel an exorbitant amount of time should not be spent on it.

Johnpaul Sleiman Paradigm

Lincoln-Douglas Debate

I flow each speech intensely and, as a result, use my flow as my primary decision-rendering tool. The flow is especially important to me when deciding between two debaters with nearly equal performances. I also value clear, distinct voter issues and look for debaters to use voter issues to connect multiple ideas across the debate. Additionally, I look for clear frameworks to set up the round for each debater and for each debater to use these frameworks to present deep analyses of the main issues in the round.

In general, I prefer you speak no faster than a brisk, conversational pace. Trying to “out-speed” your opponent or overwhelm them by spreading will not earn you points in my book. If you speak so quickly I cannot easily gather your main points, how am I supposed to flow them and weigh them in the round?

Congressional Debate

Congressional debate is about how you present yourself for the entire session, not just while you are speaking. As such, I am paying attention to everything. You should be active in the chamber, without overpowering the other competitors. One excellent speech and a handful of great questions will not always outweigh multiple good speeches and several questions.

Congressional Debate is just as much about the debating as it is the presentation. According to that, I weigh both what you say and how you say it equally. I weigh all speeches the same—a constructive speech that effectively sets up the debate and a crystallization speech that details the main issues of the debate are equally as effective and powerful.

My judging style doesn’t change when I am a parliamentarian—I look for the same aspects, just with the added benefit of observing for more than one session. As such, I prefer to see consistent activity across all sessions, not just one. I rely on the presiding officer to run the chamber quickly, correctly, and effectively. In general, I will only intervene if a major error occurs.

Final Thoughts

At the end of the day, I am just one judge with one set of opinions. Speech and debate is meant to be a fun and educational activity. I hope your experience is rewarding, educational, and, above all else, fun.

Good luck!

Chris Sprouse Paradigm

Don't lie.

Also important:

* Intros that are actually directly about the topic always beat generic intros.

* Quotations always beat paraphrase.

* Fully-cited evidence I can hunt down always beats "The New York Times tells us that . . ." (Remember: NSDA-minimum is name or publication and year. That's a ridiculously low standard many Congress debaters still fail to meet.)

* Giving the right kind of speech (constructive, rebuttal, summative/"crystallization") at the right time always beats giving the kind of speech you're best at without thinking about what the debate needs

* Rehash is a venial, not a mortal, sin. And if you're a novice, just give the speech.

* POs start at 1 on my ballot and lose ranks from errors. They can be pushed further down the ballot by truly excellent speakers. (The more people run for PO, the faster the winning PO loses ranks from errors, because you're claiming you're better than everyone else who wanted it.) The PO starts at 1 because the PO is the only indispensable contestant in the round. Can't have a round without the PO.

* Congress is speech *and* debate, so be sure you're listening and responding (debate) and keeping me focused on what you're saying (speech). The event is getting too fast and too laden with jargon.

Way, way more than anyone could want to know at

Jay Stubbs Paradigm

Name: Jay Stubbs

School Affiliation: Bellaire High School

Number of Years Judging Public Forum: Since the event was introduced

Number of Years Competing in Public Forum: PF did not exist when I competed

Number of Years Judging Other Forensic Activities: 38 years

Number of Years Competing in Other Forensic Activities: High School and College

If you are a coach, what events do you coach? Public Forum, Congress, Extemp

What is your current occupation? Debate Coach

Please share your opinions or beliefs about how the following play into a debate round:

Speed of Delivery Clarity for understanding is most important

Format of Summary Speeches (line by line? big picture?) Line by line on most important issues along with big picture to guide the way the debaters want me to vote.

Role of the Final Focus Final resolution of key issues along with framing the decision for the judge.

Extension of Arguments into later speeches Essential for key arguments in the round.

Topicality Can be run if there are blatant violations…anything can be found to be non-topical via definition…that is a waste of time.

Plans This is a function of the wording of the resolution. Acceptable when the resolution suggests a specific action.

Kritiks Are not going to persuade me.

Flowing/note-taking Is a function of the clarity of debaters in the round. Clarity makes it much easier to keep all issues organized on the flow.

Do you value argument over style? Style over argument? Argument and style equally? Clarity is most important to me. Just because a debater makes an argument doesn’t mean that I understand it or know how to weigh it in relation to other arguments without intervention. Clarity brings meaning to important arguments…clarity explains how to weigh arguments against other issues. Providing clarity early in the round is essential when it comes to evaluating arguments as the evolve throughout the round. Waiting until the end of the round to provide clarity can be too late.

If a team plans to win the debate on an argument, in your opinion does that argument have to be extended in the rebuttal or summary speeches? Yes

If a team is second speaking, do you require that the team cover the opponents’ case as well as answers to its opponents’ rebuttal in the rebuttal speech? Yes

Do you vote for arguments that are first raised in the grand crossfire or final focus? No…new arguments should have been introduced earlier in the round. An extension of a key argument is a part of argument evolution.

Selma Tabakovic Paradigm

Hi! I am Selma Tabakovic and I debated Public Forum in high school for 3 years at Walter Panas High School. I now go to American University as a Legal Studies Major and Politics, Policy and Law Scholar. At AU, I do American Parliamentary Debate while coaching PF for American Heritage. I have worked at summer camps including Capitol Debate and Millennials at Georgetown University.

What I like to see in the round:

Comparative weighing in FF! Tell me why an argument matters more than another, I shouldn't have to be the one to do so.

If you want me to vote for an argument it has to be extended from Summary to FF.

What isn't necessary in the round:

Front-lining in second rebuttal is not needed. Defense is not needed in first summary. You can make whatever call you want, though, but for time efficiency, just know I'm okay with you not mentioning it but it still being considered in the round.

Only give an off-time roadmap if it is truly necessary. For example, roadmaps before 1st rebuttal are not required. If you give me a roadmap, tell me where you will start and be efficient with that explanation but do not start making arguments.

I'm okay with no handshakes.

No need to be wearing anything uncomfortable during the round! EX: Just wear your flats instead of heels I understand the struggle.

Rey Virani Paradigm

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Willie Warren Paradigm

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Hannah Wilson Paradigm

Yes to the email chain:

!If you're using a bunch of acronyms don't assume I know what you mean! Don't start your speeches top speed. Slow down a little when reading blocks if you want me to know what you're saying (especially on theory and framework args)

Congress: I really value rebuttals. Constructives can do well in front of me, but if you give more than one speech in a round and both are constructives I'll feel like that's because you don't know how to be off script. Remember you are in a room with a bunch of other students.. it's hard for your judges to remember all of you. Be an active participant in questioning and the house to help yourself stand out.