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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Brandeis Debate ranked second at APDA

Published: November 30, 2012
Section: Front Page, News

Ranked just behind Yale, Brandeis Academic Debate and Speech Society, is now second in the American Parliamentary Debate Society (APDA). The debate class, acronymed BADASS, outranks Harvard, Johns Hopkins and American University. The APDA is a national conference in which 50 other highly-ranked university teams debate using a structure loosely based on the British Parliament.

The debaters’ individual and small group rankings, which contribute to the overall ranking of the team, are also on the rise. Russell Leibowitz ’14 and Keith Barry ’14, co-presidents of BADASS, are now the fourth highest-ranked team in APDA. BADASS members David Altman ’15 and Sarah Margulies ’15 are currently ranked 11th in the Team of the Year category. While they may not unseat Yale for the top ranking this year, according to Altman, they could conceivably win next year if each speaker earns enough points.

Leibowitz attributes the team’s success to its friendly atmosphere and relaxed set of rules.  BADASS has grown this year, with the addition of several first-years. Unlike Harvard and Yale’s debate teams, BADASS accepts anyone who is interested without tryouts and does not cut anyone from the team.

Although attendance at every competition is also not required, most members compete frequently because they enjoy the activity and the camaraderie of debate, Leibowitz said.

“Since we’re all such good friends, debate has become more than just a competitive activity for me, it’s something I really enjoy doing even outside of meetings. That’s what gives me the drive to put in the practice I need to get better,” he said.

He also credits their team spirit to the occasional light-hearted debate topic, such as whether or not the pink Power Ranger should be a male or female character.

APDA also recognized BADASS’ team spirit with its annual “Club Of The Year” award, which is an award given to honor the teams that other debaters wish they could join.