Who Are We?The Brandeis team has two priorities: having a good time, and winning. There is room on the team for people who prefer either priority, those who are competitive to the point of being cutthroat and those who just want to go to some tournaments every now and then, run cool cases, and meet other debaters. We welcome anyone who wants to spend some time debating with us, and only ask that every member of the team is treated with respect. Our reputation on the circuit is that we're a nice, classy group of debaters with integrity. We traditionally run our tournament opp-choice, which means that the government team must let the opposition team choose which side of the issue they want to argue.
APDA has a pretty good mix of people on it. There are many smart, funny, and outgoing people on the circuit, and varsity members of the team can introduce you to their friends from other schools if you want to meet lots of people. Of course, we're pretty awesome ourselves, so we'll understand if you just want to hang out with us for a while.
What is Parliamentary Debate?
The Brandeis team is part of the American Parliamentary Debate Association (APDA). This league practices a style of debate loosely based on the British Parliament. A debate round is a competition between two two-person teams, the Government (Gov) and the Opposition (Opp), who argue over a topic (or case) presented by the Gov team. The round is judged by a Speaker of the House who determines which team was the most persuasive. Creativity, depth of analysis, eloquence, logic and sometimes humor carry the most weight in APDA rounds, with much less emphasis on research and emphasis than in other styles of debate.
APDA consists of approximately 50 member schools, and hosts an annual National Championship Tournament (Nats) in the American Parliamentary style of debate. Additionally, APDA members participate in several tournaments run in the British Parliamentary style of debate such as the North American Debate Championship (North-Ams), held in conjunction with the Canadian University Society for Intercollegiate Debate (CUSID), and the World Debating Championships (Worlds). APDA also keeps track of four cumulative awards that are presented at Nats: Team of the Year (TOTY), Speaker of the Year (SOTY), Novice of the Year (NOTY), and Club of the Year (COTY).
APDA has an elected executive board which takes care of finances, determines which schools will be allowed to host tournaments on which weekends, maintains the official APDA website, tracks the OTY totals, and ensures that Equal Opportunity Facilitators (EOFs) are available at every tournament in the event that a debater needs to discuss a serious problem with another debater.
The real meat and potatoes of debating are the weekly tournaments. There is at least one tournament hosted by an APDA member school on just about every weekend during the school year. Tournaments take place from Friday afternoon to Saturday evening, and everyone gets to compete in five rounds of debate. Then, the teams with the best win-loss record go on to compete in elimination rounds that eventually determine the winning team of the tournament. Awards are usually given to the top ten teams, varsity speakers, and novice speakers, and the top five novice teams. The host school is responsible for providing judges for all the debate rounds, meals, housing accomodations, and entertainment during the tournament.
What Will Your Experience With BADASS Be?
If you join the team, you’ll be expected to come to most of the meetings, which are Tuesdays and Thursdays at 8:00 PM in Olin-Sang 112. On the weekends that you debate, you will leave Brandeis on Friday afternoon and drive to the tournament wearing nice clothes (jacket and tie for guys, equivalent for girls) with your legal notepad, sleeping bag, and overnight stuff. When you get there, you’ll have three rounds of debate, with dinner (usually pizza) and sometimes games or cartoons in between rounds. Then, you drop off your stuff, change, and go to the party, where the beats are kickin’ and the fun plentiful. The next day, you have breakfast, two more rounds of debate, and then a banquet (usually Italian, Thai, or Chinese Food) after which the teams advancing to elimination rounds (“breaks”) are announced. If any Brandeis teams break, everyone else comes to watch their round and support them by banging wildly on desks and walls after every point they make. After the final round, trophies are awarded and everyone goes home. The time at which a tournament ends varies widely depending on the number of elimination rounds (either three or four) and the efficiency of the host team. Some tournaments are small, with around 20 participating teams, and some are huge, with more than 160.