Candidate Statements

President: Dominic DeRamo (Georgetown)

Hello everyone! I’m Dominic DeRamo (he/him) and I am incredibly excited to run for President! For those of you who don’t know me, I’m a junior at Georgetown studying Government, Philosophy, and Disability Studies. Outside of debate, I’m a part of Georgetown’s public speaking club, student government, and disability activism. 

Over the past year, I have served as a Member-at-Large on the APDA Board, the President of the Georgetown Parliamentary Debate Team, and as an equity officer and TO for a couple of tournaments. It has been amazing to connect with and support so many teams on the league. I have been so grateful to do this work with an amazing board and I hope I have the opportunity to continue to serve the league as President. 

Prior to joining the APDA Board, I did not realize the full extent of some of the issues that our league is facing. This past year has given me an incredible amount of insight to these issues and I want to outline some of my thoughts below. 

First, I think we need to increase the visibility of committees. I think we can all agree that APDA Board and committee members are doing essential work with committees. At the same time, committees were very public before COVID. I always found occasional committee panels and presentations to be a great way to engage large portions of the league in these conversations. Because we are gradually returning back to in-person, this is a great opportunity to revitalize occasional panels/presentations in between rounds. For more regular discussions, we should encourage tournaments to plug committee applications and any updates from the committees, including resources and upcoming practices/socials. 

Second, we need to reinforce good norms around judging. One simple change that the APDA Board can standardize across hosts is judge calibration. In addition to ensuring that judge calibration is actually happening, the APDA Board should start ensuring that hosts are publishing judge calibrations well in advance of the tournament, taking diversity into account when deciding the calibration round, and screening for implicit bias. I believe this will begin to address some of the inequity that we see with judges, especially the speaks disparity for GMs. 

Third, the APDA Board and the committees need to have a more active role in making equity decisions for the league. I especially have been thinking about this in the context of equity issues within teams. I am not suggesting that the APDA Board needs to punish teams for instances of inequity, but rather that there needs to be some avenue connecting individual teams with the APDA Board and committees. There are many people on the league that can help mediate conversations within teams and I think we should normalize these discussions. 

Thank you for taking time to read through this and for considering me as a candidate! I look forward to your questions!

VP of Operations: Samuel Johnson (UChicago)

VP of Finance: Jaimy Kim (Yale)

Hello APDA!

My name is Jaimy Kim, and I hope to represent you as VP Finance of APDA for the 2022-2023 season. I am currently a third-year on the Yale Debate Association where I serve as the Social Chair.

I’m running for VP Finance because I understand first-hand what it means to be shut out from an activity you love. In high school, I was too often unable to attend speech tournaments due to financial constraints. However, the tournaments I could attend with the support of subsidies have taught me the importance of positions like the VP Finance. From this role, my greatest priority would be to expand affordability for all competitors. There are a number of ways to approach this, but some initial thoughts would be to:

  • Implement graduated reg breaks to assist in the affordability of tournament assistance for
    expansion/smaller schools.
  • Support tournaments run by smaller schools, especially ones that oppose larger tournaments.
    (Subsidies for TO, judges, and NU-Tab come to mind).
  • Bolster the Financial Assistance Fund if needed for lower-income debaters who may need
    funding for food at tournaments, or other resources.

On the pragmatic level, I have the requisite experience with finances to handle the VP Finance position. The bulk of the VP Finance position’s work entails keeping a good record of finances, something I am intimately familiar with.

  • As the YDA’s Social Chair, I create budgets for team events, manage purchases from multiple
    individuals, and organize reimbursements.
  • As my high school speech and debate team’s president, I planned tournament travel and
    fundraisers, both involving the management of thousands of dollars.
  • Furthermore, debate is my sole extracurricular activity in college, therefore I’m more than willing
    to devote the time necessary to learn where necessary, whether it be combing through old forum
    posts or reaching out and collecting the opinions of various members across APDA.

Finally, I bring a unique and valuable perspective to the board. I was not particularly involved in APDA during my sophomore year. Taking online classes from home as an FGLI student meant I had to prioritize family responsibilities over extracurriculars. However, I think this distance affords me a few distinct advantages.

  • I understand what it means to be on the fringes of an activity that can feel cliquey. This is
    important for understanding work on valuable goals for the league, like retention and expansion.
  • This also means I am not especially beholden to any particular interests, whether it involves other
    schools or my own. This extra degree of impartiality is especially important for a role that
    involves finances.

I hope this illuminates why I would be a good fit as your VP Finance of the next season. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to me at j.y.kim@yale.edu.

Ahmad Howard (UChicago)

Shaye Martin (Williams)

Hello, APDA! My name is Shaye (she/her), and I am a first-year at Williams studying Political Science and History. I am currently a co-president of the Williams College Debate Union, and I am running for a Member at Large position. APDA has been the highlight of my collegiate experience thus far, just as debate has been the highlight of my life for the past eight years. My best moments on the APDA circuit have been making new friends from different schools and seeing familiar faces in rounds. I immediately felt welcomed into APDA’s effusively friendly community, and I want to ensure that every member of APDA has a similarly positive experience. 
To keep it simple, I am passionate about furthering APDA’s community so that all novice debaters can have the wonderful experience I have had during my first semester and will opt to continue participating in our super-duper cool activity. Retaining novices, especially those from underrepresented backgrounds and expansion schools, should be the league’s highest priority. To continue growing our community and spreading our love for debate, all members of the APDA community must feel comfortable and appreciated. 
On reducing attrition: dedicating our community to equity and respect is the most crucial step towards reducing attrition, especially attrition of underrepresented debaters. In my first year of high school, I was the only gender minority on the varsity debate team. After two years serving as team captain, the team had doubled in size and was two-thirds gender minority individuals. Placing underrepresented individuals in leadership positions and hosting social opportunities to mentor novices is the largest contributor to retaining underrepresented individuals. I am committed to ensuring that all novices have a friendly face on the board who is committed to supporting them and the APDA circuit. 
On assisting expanding programs: To promote expansion programs, I think the board should prioritize granting incentives to expansion schools, giving them as much ability to compete as possible. This assistance can be offset by ensuring that schools with outsized competitive capacity support the league. Promoting everyone’s equal ability to compete is my highest goal.
I am excited to become more involved with the league in any way I can in the following years and would be thrilled to serve the APDA community on the executive board. If elected as a Member at Large, I am committed to being a window into the board, communicating across teams, lending an open ear, and supporting all individual concerns to the best of my ability. If I can answer any questions which will aid your consideration of my candidacy, please feel free to message me over Facebook or at ssm5@williams.edu. Thank you for your time.

Stav Kanza-Levi (Rutgers)

Hi, I’m Stav (any pronouns). I am running for Member at Large. I am currently a freshman at Rutgers majoring in biochemistry and minoring in science communications. I am on the GESI committee. I really love debating in APDA and I want to make APDA a more inclusive and welcoming environment. 

Responsibilities of a member at large are mainly administrative. I have a lot of experience completing administrative tasks from high school. I ran my high school debate club and almost all my responsibilities were administrative. I also have the time commitment. I am not very committed to any club outside of debate. 

As a league we need to work on GM and URM retention and recruitment. While there are guides I keep seeing judges and teams do the exact things those guides say not to do at tournaments. I would use my position at board to remind teams to prepare their judges to ensure fair tournaments. I also want to do an updated research on how GMs and URMs feel in APDA and I believe that this is both a job for board and a job that I am uniquely qualified for. First, I think that board can reach out to more schools and debaters to fill out surveys. This would give us better data. Also board is the place where the proposals will be written to address the problems we find. Second, I believe that I am qualified for the initiative because I have experience designing surveys and compiling data. I also have experience writing research reports. Also I have 3 years left in APDA so I could both do the research and work on implementing solutions. 

If you have any questions feel free to reach out to me on facebook or email me at sk2431@scarletmail.rutgers.edu