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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

BADASS team places at national competition

Published: February 12, 2010
Section: News

The Brandeis Academic Debate and Speech Society (BADASS) and its newly elected executive board is off to a successful semester following a sixth place individual win at New York University (NYU) and two members’ attendance at the Worlds Council competition.

Over the holiday break, Evan Green-Lowe ’10 and Jackie Saffir ’10 travelled to Istanbul to attend the Worlds Council, and at the end of January, BADASS sent more than a dozen debaters to a tournament at Bates College. Two weeks later, the organization sent debater Jack Bouchard ’10 to NYU, where he advanced to the quarterfinals and finished sixth.

BADASS is part of the American Parliamentary Debate Association (ADPA), a group of 50 schools primarily on the East Coast. APDA members host debates almost every weekend, and Brandeis sends debaters to most of these tournaments, said public relations director Kim Bouchard-Chaimowiz ’13. Between five and 20 Brandeis debaters attend each tournament, depending on the location of the host school.

BADASS itself is hosting an invitational tournament Feb. 25-26. Brandeis debaters sleep on dorm floors when they travel to other schools, and are now seeking willing Brandeis students to host other schools. Around 200 debaters are expected, Bouchard-Chaimowiz said, placing this tournament in the upper level of competitions, which draw anywhere between 50 and 300 participants.

Bouchard-Chaimowiz, who competed with her partner Alex Self ’13, described the preparation process as “lackadaisical” but important. At the two-on-two competitions, one team, the “government,” chooses a topic and the other, the “opposition,” must debate it, no matter how ridiculous.

Preparation is key for topics relating to history and current affairs, but debaters often choose less serious issues.

Bouchard-Chaimowiz once argued a hypothetical case in which 100 scientists have survived Armageddon, and must decide whether or not to reproduce before finding a new planet to live on. It may seem slightly ridiculous, but that’s what keeps debaters entertained and on their toes, she said.

“I joined the team as soon as I got to Brandeis [as a first-year]. I wanted to participate in an activity that dealt with public speaking, and BADASS was perfect,” Bouchard said. “The team was extremely welcoming and helpful in getting newcomers acquainted with debate and integrated into the club.”