NPTE 2018 Election Ballot - Due Saturday March 31


Hi all,

It’s that time of year again! As mentioned on NB, there are three board member seats available this year. I’ve attached a document with candidate statements describing why they are running for the board as well as a ballot. Each school gets one vote. A list of the eligible voting schools is also attached.

Votes are due by 12pm PST on Saturday March 31 so that the winners may be announced at the awards ceremony. Ballots should be emailed to me at or

As always, please let me know if you have any questions!

With warm regards,


NPTE 2018 Candidate Statements.docx (17.5 KB)
NPTE 2018 Election Ballot.xlsx (10.1 KB)
NPTE Election Eligible Voting Schools.xlsx (9.3 KB)


Are these candidates running for particular positions? Only Zach indicated what position he is running for. Are any of these people running for president, or is that election separate?


The way the bylaws currently exist, folks are just running to be on the board, and once the board has its members, the board votes internally for president, VP, etc. It’s something I had hoped to change during my time, but I didn’t get to it :frowning:


Hi all! Starkey asked that I send an abbreviated version of my statement. My longer one can be found below.

I am not expressly interested in serving as a treasurer, and instead intend to serve as a board member that is not designated to those responsibilities.

I am currently the Director of Debate and a Ph.D. student finishing coursework at the University of Utah. This is my fourth year involved in coaching NPDA debate and my eighth year involved in the activity. My decision to run for the board stems out of a desire to improve accessibility for schools, and I believe that the NPTE has the capacity to be an excellent tournament if major structural issues are addressed.
There are three major elements that I am interested in prioritizing as an NPTE board member.

  1. Support for community colleges, junior colleges, and/or programs with limited funding and resources. Fundamentally, the NPTE is faced with an identity question: if this is a tournament designed to recognize the “best” competitors at the national level, I do not think that evaluation should be structurally determined by which programs have the most funding, coaching resources, travel opportunities, and so forth. CC/JC programs along with their coaches and students deserve recognition and opportunities to participate at the NPTE in a way that I believe requires modification to how bids are distributed and eligibility is determined. Additionally, opportunities to facilitate travel opportunities for teams with limited resources is another area I would aim to support as a member.

  2. NPTE tournament modifications. I believe that we need to eliminate MPJ and replace it with strikes in a manner similar to NPDA. If this tournament is designed to recognize the “best” of competition, that evaluation should not be determined by a limited and insular set of critics that are primarily white and male. I believe that the “best” of competition should be determined by the teams that are able to compete well against a variety of different critics and situations, and I believe that team/critic exposure facilitates the health and well-being of the activity. Similarly, I think that the extent of topic areas that are included at the NPTE structurally disadvantage schools with fewer students and coaches, and further disincentivize research when much of the research and files do not end up being used. Compressing topic areas and workloads for students is another major element that I would support as a member.

  3. Prioritizing the well-being of competitors. Debate competitors are humans, and also students, and I believe that the NPTE needs to be considered with this in mind. Offering manageable scheduling, providing spaces for students who need to study and work on coursework at the tournament, and so forth constitute another major element I would seek to pursue.

If you have any questions about my positions on these or any other issues, feel free to email me at


Addition to my statement: I would make the board NOT voting internally on positions as a top priority. In other words, democratize the NPTE to the extent that is reasonable. Zach should be able to run for treasurer. This nonsense about being voted onto a board to serve in an unknown capacity to be determined later by the overlords has to stop. Zach would get my top vote if we’re voting for a treasurer/secretary, for example. In addition to my previous statements regarding cross-service between NPTE/NPDA, I also think that one institution should expressly be prohibited from having two seats on the board. If not as a rule, in practice. If your institution has representation on the NPTE board, it doesn’t need more.


Hi Kyle! My impression is that your reply, in part, is a reference to my decision to run, given that Jason Jordan is currently serving on the board. There are a lot of reasons why I think that “one school per board member” is not a good policy in this instance specifically, or in others more generally.

  1. Different members from the same school often come from drastically different backgrounds and may hold very different positions on particular issues. For instance, having competitive background in the PNW and coaching in NorCal before Utah has given me a particular view on debate and NPTE that is quite different, and I would imagine that there will be several areas where Jason and I disagree, in a manner similar to other folks who might come from the same school.

  2. Within a school, different people may occupy very different positions. For instance, I am on a four year graduate assistantship, while Jason is a faculty contract. There are also people who may be from a school, but coach/work for a school other than the one they attend. That policy would probably disincentivize people in those instances (i.e. if there were two people currently students at a school who coached/prepped for other schools). That would also make the brightline of “which school someone works for” arbitrary and subjective.

  3. I can also tell you that, in addition to my first point, I have never been imposed a particular position on issues to believe or vote on in debate, and it has been made clear to me that it would not change.

  4. I also think that this approach over-emphasizes the ways in which it’s assumed members from the same school would vote similarly.

  5. One of the major issues that has been discussed is promoting diversity among NPTE board members, and that is much of what motivated me to run. There are a lot of privileges and normative elements about me, such as being white, and that’s something I want people to sensitively consider when voting. However, I also am gender non-binary (after being publicly out as such for a bit over a year) and have multiple disabilities.

I think the board should be more diverse than people like me, absolutely, but restricting one representative per school is, in essence, saying that people like me don’t have unique ideas or things to contribute. Honestly, the effect of this kind of approach, Kyle, is saying that as a non-cis and disabled person from a drastically different background from Jason, that somehow I don’t have unique or different ideas to contribute (not trying to state that was your intention). I think we should instead be more worried about having fewer cis white men than two very different people from a single school, and the disincetivizing effect that your policy might create on that end.


That’s obviously not my intention. I have nothing but love for you. Always have and always will. You were one of my favorite debaters when I judged a lot. As a judge, the decisions that I’ve seen you give have been very thoughtful and I think that you’re a great person. I value your perspective.

However, my position remains unchanged. I don’t think that NPTE leadership should vote on much. To a certain extent, I think the board should be powerless in some areas, so this imbalance in representation wouldn’t matter. But, we have a two-tier process at present. We have the illusion of democracy. We have full community votes on representatives, then the board votes on stuff that impacts everyone. And they do so privately and without much accountability. Until that changes, I will happily and publicly defend that no college university should have 2 seats on the board. Someone with better knowledge of history than me might know better, but I don’t believe it’s ever happened since the Stecks. This year, Utah qualified 4 teams to the NPTE by my count and Utah isn’t attending the tournament. Forgive me for asking the obvious, but why should the University of Utah have 2 out of a minimum of 5 seats (mandated by the bylaws) for the governing body of a tournament that y’all haven’t accepted bids to?



Becasue I think consistency is important, the same question about attendance/representation could be asked of WJ: Last year Utah sent seven teams and WJ sent none. Perhaps circumstances change from year to year, affecting a team’s ability to attend.


If that’s the case, I understand. Would love to get some confirmation from Utah that they’ll be back supporting the NPTE in full force in 2019 and beyond. That the case, Utah folks?

At this point, I am primarily concerned with making last ditch efforts to fix the failing NPTE. If elected, I would always bring teams. I think that it is absolute nonsense that anyone would sit on the NPTE board and not have at least one team entered into the tournament. If I wasn’t supporting the tournament in any year going forward, I’d resign the board immediately. Also, how are we at a place that any one school is sending SEVEN teams to the NPTE?


Kyle, I do appreciate your comments. Again, I am not trying to ascribe any sort of intent to your post, nor do I believe it reflected any particular ill will toward me, but I am still concerned about the material effect that this type of restriction has.

tl;dr: voting members get to decide the criteria they use to vote, I think I’ve made a good case for why institutional affiliation should not be at the top of that criteria.

If this policy did exist, I would be structurally excluded from being able to run and be on the board so long as Jason was on. If this policy was applied to NPDA, Shannon would not be able to serve. I think both of those effects are steps in the wrong direction for the activity and its goals, and this approach makes a judgment that those forms of exclusion are less important than only one representative per school. This restriction wouldn’t exist in a vacuum. In addition to this, there are many other elements (such as someone who works for one school and coaches for another) that remain unaddressed if such a policy even were to be implemented.
The major thing for voting schools to consider is that the “one board member per school” restriction does not currently exist, so it is up to each voting school to make a decision for themselves on how important institutional affiliation is to them in relation to other factors of each candidate. I think that I’ve made a compelling case on my platform for many unique things that I bring to the table, and that my voting would be categorically distinct from and independent of anyone else serving from the same institution. Regardless of institutional affiliation, schools are voting on integrity and character. The concern about lack of democracy in the NPTE is one that would persist regardless of differences in institutions under the current system. Given that my platform is emphasizing support for CCs/JCs and schools with less funding, it should be apparent to voters that I am not voting on the competitive interests of Utah, but on my own aspirations of what this tournament and activity can be that at times might contradict what would seem to be Utah’s competitive interest.

I have already attended several NPTEs, have access to tournament bylaws, and will be in connection with many people who will attend the tournament. Additionally, I think Jeannie does a great job of pointing out the ways in which I am not the only potential member who has not attended each consecutive NPTE. There are coaches and schools who might not be able to attend due funding/travel restrictions, decisions made above their paygrade, or other factors. I was not able to attend in my first year at Pacific, for instance, because I had to fill in and teach an undergrad course when another TA in our department quit. Mandating attendance every year prior to being a board member in practice likely means that folks from schools who don’t have access to the same travel opportunities to the NPTE couldn’t participate either. Again, voting schools are choosing how they would like to vote, and I think I’ve made a case for sufficient NPTE experience.


I think you’re right. If your being on the board is important, you should be Utah’s representative, not Jason. We’re not talking about NPDA, I’m talking about the ways to make NPTE different from NPDA. This is one of those ways. Why can’t we ask someone to give up power so that someone else can have it?

So, in a round about way— you’re not answering the question. Is Utah returning to the NPTE in full force next year or not?

We don’t fundamentally disagree on much. I think one side of this discussion is asking questions about access to power. I’m questioning the existence of the power in the first place and questioning how institutions harness that power.


So as to assure Ben isn’t harmed by any ambiguity I will reiterate here what I explained to the NPTE board upon declining our bids: there is presently no reason to assume Utah will not participate in NPTE tournaments going forward.

As for qualifying six teams (not seven), it’s simply a product of incredible students and remarkable coaches, like Ben Mann and Jason Jordan.

See everyone in Portland.


“There is presently no reason to assume Utah will not participate in the NPTE tournaments going forward.”

-A vague pseudo-endorsement of the NPTE from a university that wishes to have 2/5 votes on the board of the NPTE.



Ballots due tomorrow at 2pm PST! :smile: