Judge Philosophies

Alix Lopez - Mt. SAC

Debates should be accessible and educational. For me, that means

  • clear labels for your arguments, compelling and credible evidence/examples, and language that's easy to follow.
  • no spreading. I have an incredibly hard time following speed, and I want to make sure I am judging you on your argumentation and public speaking. Which can only happen if I can follow you!
  • you are courteous to your opponent.
  • you make it clear why I should vote for you.

Excited to see you all debate!

Angelica Grigsby - Maricopa

Debate is about persuading your judge. Having said that, please talk to me, not at me. For all types of debate, let's have some clash? Call points of order in the rebuttal, I will not protect you. If you need to communicate with your partner please do it in a way that is minimally disruptive (I know this will look different in a remote setting but the concept still applies), I will only flow what comes out of their mouth during their speech. I am willing to listen to all types of arguments please just be sure that they are warranted and fully explained. Structure is vital to a clear case. Please, please, please tell me why you win the round in the rebuttal, you donât want to leave it up to me. PS-all road maps are in time.

   This event is not Parli lite. The best way I have heard it explained is that it is dueling extemp speeches. There should be clash, clear arguments, and clear reasons to vote for you.

I prefer a conversational rate and a speaker who engages with their audience rather than just reading their cards. I have only judged 2-3 rounds of LD all year, if you run the round like I know the topic as well as you, you may lose my ballot.

Remember to have fun!

Bart Aikman - COC

Above all else, I look for a concise argument that has a clear, logical flow. Strong implementation of the principles of critical analysis (claim, support, impact, etc.) is also essential. Do not make unfounded logical leaps in your argument, utilize your sources, and be kind and generous to each other as competitors. Best of luck!

Ben Krueger - Nevada

Ben Krueger (he/him/his)

University of Nevada, Reno

I competed in Parli and IEs in the early 2000s at Northern Arizona University. After many years away from competitive forensics, I returned to judging in 2016. I have been the assistant director at UNR since 2019.

General Debate Views and Preferences

1. I come from a traditional policymaking background, but I'm open to multiple frameworks and interpretations of debate. It's up to you to defend and justify your framework choices in the round.

2. I don't do well with speed. The faster you spread, the more likely it is that I'll miss arguments on the flow and make a decision you won't like.

3. Structure is good and I appreciate signposting, but remember that it's not a replacement for substantive argument. Having a catchy tagline is not the same thing as having a well-developed warrant that supports your claim.

4. Rebuttal speeches should "zoom out" and give me a big picture overview of what's going on in the round. When the rebuttal is simply a line-by-line analysis, I inevitably have to do more work to weigh the issues myself.

5. I viscerally dislike "gut check" arguments and won't vote for them. Instead, give me more specific analytic reasons why I shouldn't believe a specific claim (for example, it doesn't have a clear source, it's based on a post hoc fallacy, it's based on a faulty analogy, etc).

6. Don't be jerks. It is possible to make assertive, highly competitive arguments while still recognizing the humanity of your opponents. Hostile verbal and nonverbal behavior cheapens the pedagogical value of competitive debate and drives students away from the activity.

My views on Parli

I rarely judge Parli anymore, but in case you encounter me in a Parli round, there are a few things to be aware of about how I approach the event: (1) I hate stupid T arguments and tend to default to reasonability over competing standards. (2) K's absolutely must have clear links and clear alt-solvency that I can weigh against the plan. If they don't, I will have a low threshold for accepting any plausible-sounding answer to them. (3) I will not vote for poorly-explained technical arguments just because they're on the flow if they aren't properly weighed or impacted out.

My views of IPDA

I believe that IPDA should be publicly accessible as a debate format, by which I mean that speeches should be delivered at at a conversational rate and and should minimize use of technical jargon as much as possible. I will still evaluate IPDA rounds from a flow-centric perspective, which means that things like top-of-case and dropped arguments still matter. Eloquent oratory or witty comebacks alone will not be enough to win my ballot if you aren't winning on flow. I tend to be disinclined to vote on framework presses beyond the level of reasons to prefer a specific criterion or definition.

Although uncommon, I find myself giving more low-point wins in IPDA than I did in Parli. A low-point win from me indicate that typically 1 of 2 things happened: (1) you clearly won on flow, but there was a major issue with your delivery/presentation style, (2) youweren't winning on flow, but your opponent collapsed to the wrong voting issues or made some major strategic blunder that led me to buy your voting issues instead.

A Final Note on Recent Political Developments (6/2022)

In light of recent developments in national politics, I am choosing to disclose that I identify as a gay man. Please be mindful that resolutions about legal rights of specific groups (such as LGBTQ+ individuals, women, or racial minorities) can be triggering to competitors and judges when framed as a binary either/or choice between maintaining civil rights or eliminating them. In such rounds, I will grant leeway to both aff and neg teams to frame their arguments in ways that avoid a morally problematic division of ground. If you find yourself on the "bad" side of a such resolution, some ideas for you how might reframe include: state-level counterplans, constitutional amendments, constitutional convention, secession, Northern Ireland-style consociationalism, etc.

Brianna Broady - PCC


Chris Josi - Mt. Hood CC

I have coached for about 3 years after competing and becoming nationally recogonized. My goal now is to always be available to help debaters improve their technique.

I try to be as impartial as I can, and limit the scope to what is happening in the round. However, please do not inflate the truth. I default to qualitative on balance.

You need to impact your points and explain why it is imperative I need to vote for your case. Structure is also very important; I won't connect arguments for you.

Speaking quickly is up to you and your opponent, not me. Please respect each other's pacing. However, as long as I can understand what you're saying I will flow it.

I believe Topicality and Kritik arguments are import, but they should be resevered for when your opponent has stepped out of the bounds of the debate.

Cindy Gutierrez - NOF


Danny Cantrell - Mt. SAC

Debate should be presented in such a way that a lay audience can understand the arguments and learn something from the debate. In general, debaters should have strong public speaking, critical thinking, and argumentation. Don't rely on me to fill in the holes of arguments or assume we all know a certain theory or argument -- it is your burden to prove your arguments.

Destinee Sior - Maricopa


My name is Destinee Sior and I am a debate coach for Maricopa Community College. I just have a few things to say about how I view the wonderful world of debate, and my method on judging. For starters- no matter the type of debate- I will always want you to do what you do best, what you feel comfortable with, and debate in whichever way makes you happy. 

I do not mind if you do critical or policy oriented debate. I enjoy listening to Ks and I really enjoy just straight policy cases. Whichever one you choose, all I ask is that you give me a solid structure and you stick to it. Sloppy debate is one of my biggest pet peeves. Please make it easy for me to follow you so I can get everything you say down on paper. I don't care for the double-clutching speed debate, but I can typically flow well if you want to spread. However-- just because, I can flow it does not mean your opponent can. If you are asked to clear you need to SLOW DOWN. I do not care for Ks ran out of the affirmative, but if you want to party please have a solid link story. Negative strats should include an interrogation of the affirmative, as well as their own case. I will not gut check your arguments for you, please do not ask me to do that. Tell me why dropped arguments are important. I love impact calc ¤ Weigh your impacts on timeframe, magnitude, and probability. Give me voters / reasons to prefer. I think it is the job of the debater to make my job easy, but also have fun. I loved debate and you should debate the way you love. 

IPDA-- For the IPDA debaters, please understand I have a Parli and LD background. With that being said, I understand that IPDA is not Parli nor LD. Therefore, please do not debate as such. My judging philosophy for this though is roughly the same-- structure, structure, structure. Give me a solid impact story. Do not just say lives saves improves ecosystem -- what does that MEAN? Why does it matter? How are you weighing it against your opponent? Do not just rely on me to do the work for you. Give me lots and lots of warrants, I love evidence. Most importantly, lets have some fun.

Evelyn Valencia-Rodriguez - Nevada

I will listen to anything. Make it fun, itâ??s your debate!

Easy breezy steps to win me over: be nice, tell me where you are on the flow, tell me how you want me to evaluate your round, donâ??t forget impx, and make it lit. Iâ??m not a normal judge, Iâ??m a cool judge. Donâ??t tell me some ridiculous/racist/sexist/homophobic arguments. I donâ??t care if you have a card that says â??(insert identity here) are more likely to (insert stereotype or crime or something v bad)â? Iâ??ll probably not buy it.

How to win me over in Policy-

Speed: Iâ??m good with speed I can flow it pretty well. The only thing that I ask is clear signposting and going a little slow on taglines. Signposting including numbers and clear titles to new positions will be extremely helpful. If I yell â??Clearâ? I need you to enunciate your words because its muddled. If I yell â??Speedâ? you are going too fast for me (in which case congrats cause that must be vvvvvv fast). If I continue to keep clearing you then I usually have the threshold of 3 and after that I will attempt to flow but canâ??t promise I will be able to catch much or not flow altogether. You should also ask your opponents if they are cool with speed and what level. It can be exclusionary and if you do not heed their requests to slow done or clear then your speaks will tank as a result.

T/Procedurals: Iâ??m all for a good T or procedural especially when the round calls for a good protection of ground. I think these can either be your best friend or your worst enemy depending on how you deploy them. I will accept some spec arguments if clarity is needed but tread lightly.

Disads: Love love love them. I think they can be a good tool especially if you have a killer impact scenario. Have good warrants and be able to tie it in and outweigh and you got my ballot.

CPs: You can be conditional or not, but please repeat or give me a copy of cp text so I can have it. CP/DA is a classic and it can work to your advantage if youâ??re strategic. Show me the net bens of voting the CP.

 K: I do enjoy a good K with a great Alt. Iâ??m familiar with most critical literature since I do often like to resort going critical but donâ??t assume I know your lit. Iâ??m not a philosophy major so donâ??t expect me to know Lacanâ??s studentâ??s motherâ??s best friendâ??s aunt deep analysis on spoons. I ask for some solid links and some impacts and we are in business.

K Aff: Iâ??m down to hear it. I just need a weighing mechanism. You can reject or affirm the resolution. As far as performance Iâ??m down but like please give me a reason to prefer.

Speaker Points: I think my range is 27-29. I think being fundamentally nice to each other and being chill will earn a lot with me. I ask if you are reading some things that may be viewed as triggering that you let your opponents and I know with a content warning. Charm me, donâ??t call me maam or Ms. Valencia (thatâ??s my mom).  Also sorry but I can either be super expressive or stone cold but Iâ??m working on that.


Donâ??t be muddled, be chill and clash! Even if youâ??re ahead on the flow I still expect you to be nice.

Jacqueline Yu - IVC


Jamie Gilman - SCC


Jasmine Paek - NOF


Jedi Curva - Mt. SAC

Debate should be presented in such a way that a lay audience can understand the arguments and learn something from the debate. In general, debaters should have strong public speaking, critical thinking, and argumentation. Don't rely on me to fill in the holes of arguments or assume we all know a certain theory or argument -- it is your burden to prove your arguments.

Jeff Samano - Fullerton College


Jules Patelita - BGSU

I live for chaos ... and Godzilla ... and D&D ... possibly veggie pizza ... but only good veggie pizza.

Kitrina Baumgartner - Maricopa


Kyle Duffy - COC


Mark Schmutzler - CSULB

Mark Faaita - Maricopa


Michael Starzynski - NOF


Michael Leach - COC


Natalie Stolarski - NOF


Nikolas Welker - BGSU

I hate debaters ... especially with sauerkraut ... because that is nasty.

Paul Wesley Alday - BGSU

I strongly believe that waffles are superior to pancakes and that soy milk is not really milk.

Pax Attridge - Cal State LA

In NPDA, I find clear warranting in-case and impact calculus very helpful, particularly direct comparison between the world each side's impacts create. I am more than fine following quick speed in delivery, though clarity is still appreciated in both delivery and argumentation (the latter particularly within rebuttal). Argumentative consistency helps me in adjudicating, and so clear disclaimer regarding which arguments within cases are being addressed or rebutted is very useful. In line with this organization's values, I value more critically-directed debate, though this approach does not necessarily require argumentative structures idiosyncratic to NPDA or other forms of debate. I believe that the debate space should be safe for protected populations, and behavior that threatens these populations will be at the very least remarked upon on the ballot, and may impact my judging decision if egregious. My familiarity in debate is more philosophically and policy-directed, though arguments making other appeals will still receive full consideration.

Philip Sharp - Nevada

Phil Sharp- University of Nevada-Reno

General Information

I will attempt to adjudicate the round based on the flow, however if the original argument is not complete, I will not vote for it. Please dont expect me to do the work for you or simply accept your premise without explaining why it is true.

Specific Issues

1. Speaker points

In open division I tend to use a 27-29 scale. You need to stand out to receive less or more than this. The largest factor in my assignment of speaker points is clarity of argument. If you are explaining yourself and giving good warrants, you will do much better than blippy debate with confusing claims. I have not been watching as many debates the last few years, so Id prefer that debaters not go too fast.

2. Critically framed arguments and performance

I hope that the aff will choose to make the connection between the topic and their argumentation clear.  I have a low threshold for procedurals which task the aff with engaging with the topic in the affirmative direction of the resolution. I also would like the negative to have unique links and an alternative that creates uniqueness. I am not generally persuaded to vote for masking impacts and/or root cause argumentation when the negative attempts to compete through these strategies. I also tend to believe that aff does not get perms in method v method or performance v performace debates, but the negative needs to make this argument. I hope that debaters will explain the critical perspective (literature base) that their argument relies upon so that their opponents and I can engage with the argument. To be honest, most of the Ks I hear fail to sufficiently explain the concept before jumping into links and impacts and then are vague about the Alt and Alt-Solvency. This leaves me very unsure of what I am endorsing with my ballot and why.

3. Framework

I prefer a policy debate. However, critical debates should make the criteria for the debate (and role of the ballot clear). I am open to arguments about the division of ground that a particular framework creates. I think good critical debate provides both teams an avenue to the ballot.

4. Topicality

In the event that a team chooses to defend the topic (which I prefer), I give them a fair amount of leeway in their interpretation. I think competing interpretations is a poor approach to framing topicality and am persuaded by right to reasonably define answers.

5. Counterplans

I like good counterplan debate. I am ok with conditionality (but generally do not prefer multi-condo or a CP and an Alt). I dont think textual comp is a good argument.  

6.     Decision Making

The rebuttals should guide me to a decision and tell me exactly how they want me to vote. If the teams do not give me a clear way to vote, I will try to do the least work to vote for one team or the other. I like debates with clear clash and comparison of argument in the last two speeches so that I know how I am supposed to pick one team over the other.

Note: I do not like arguments which weaponize identity of debaters and employ rhetorical violence against people rather than issues, systems, and arguments. I have seen plenty of good critical debates that refrain from this, but i have seen some teams choosing to debate this way and I do not prefer it. If you feel your only option to exist within debate is to do this, then I would ask that you not have me as the judge for that round.


Raffaela Baker - NOF


Richard Ewell - NOF


Rita Rafael - CSULB

Roger Willis-Raymondo - Mt. SAC

n /a

Shannon Valdivia - Mt. Hood CC

I have been coaching for 25 years. I was a CEDA-Value debater as a competitor and have coached NPDA, BP and IPDA. 

I value substance AND delivery! You won't get my ballot by just talking pretty.

I want to see a clear framework set up with your resolutional analysis. I want a clear CRITERIA so you can tell me what lens am I to look at your arguments. I expect that if it is a value, policy or fact based resolution - that the case structure will resemble the resolution you've been given - not what you want to turn it into. 

I expect competitors to be kind and respectful to each other - in every aspect of the debate - from saying hello, to how you ask questions in CX. 

On the Neg. Please give me a Negative philosophy so I know how you are looking at the resolution. If you need to give counter definitions, values, criterias - then I need to know WHY you are doing this and HOW your offering is BETTER than the AFF. Please make sure you are linking your off case arguments to case so that I know which part of the case you are attacking. SIGNPOSTING IS IMPORTANT!

SPEED KILLS: I know that the times in this style of debate can be challenging....but instead of speeding - try word economy! Speed will impact your speaker points. 

Bottom line: In the words of my late mother - PERSUADE ME!

Sydney Calderwood - Maricopa


Tess Wolfe - CSULB

Thomas Gay - USF

Overall Debate Philosophy:

Background--Did a year competing in CEDA/policy in high school, NPDA/parli in college.  Currently coaching at college level with students in NPDA and IPDA formats (and IEs).  

General--I try to be tabula rasa/clean slate as much as possible... I'm not looking for you to say and do what you think I want you to say and do.  Put forth your strongest case and argumentation in the way you feel is best appropriate.  My preference was for parli over policy, so that means I don't like overly technical debate, right?  Nope!  If that's where the round goes, then you should absolutely go there.  I'll put a few more thoughts below but typically my approach is anything goes as long as you keep it respectful, don't be ugly to one another, don't lie, etc.  

Voters/Weighing--I won't get upset if everything isn't individually labeled and such but I would encourage you to give me clear/distinct voters and if you want input in how I should evaluate/weigh arguments in the round (and you should), then tell me!  

Speed--Back in my day, speed was for cars or drugs**, not parli debate!  I now spend most of my time sitting in a rocking chair yelling at the occasional cloud that passes by.  Speed has become more of a thing in NPDA, which I don't particularly like, but it's where we're at.  I can generally keep up without issue and am mainly concerned here that the pacing works for both teams.  This is still supposed to be a communication event so winning by spreading or bullying someone out of a round isn't something I'm looking to get behind.  With that said, sometimes you have a lot of ground to cover and, again, as long as both teams are on the same level, then I'm happy to meet you there.  With IPDA, speed should be less of a purposeful element though again, sometimes you have a ton of ground to cover in that middle Aff speech... which I'm good with b/c if we start the round at a reasonable pace, speeding up slightly for that effort or the concluding speeches doesn't take us into troublesome territory.  
**I did not do speed as a drug (or in parli) back in my day and am not advocating for it today.  

Organization--Do I like it when debaters are well organized?  Sure!  Was I when I competed?  Not particularly!  While clearly defined outlining and signposting can be helpful, I'll usually be able to flow and follow you based on the argumentation as long as you're being clear enough.  

Essentially, you should be in control of the round.  Be nice/courteous to each other and have fun!

Thuy Pham - Mt. SAC

Debates should be accessible and educational. For me, that means

  • clear labels for your arguments, compelling and credible evidence/examples, and language that's easy to follow.
  • no spreading. I have an incredibly hard time following speed, and I want to make sure I am judging you on your argumentation and public speaking. Which can only happen if I can follow you!
  • you are courteous to your opponent.
  • you make it clear why I should vote for you.

Excited to see you all debate!

Travis Cornett - NOF


Val Ortega - Fullerton College