[eDebate] Neil's Question

Mike Davis davismk13
Wed Dec 17 20:04:31 CST 2008

While I am sure that this issue will be dealt with at much greater
length in the debates that Chief is helping organize, I'll give my
brief response:

1. I have excellent institutional support. When unfavorable articles
comes out or CEDA has to deal with difficult issues I never worry that
my debate team might be in trouble. This allows me the institutional
freedom to response in a way that I think is best for CEDA without
having to worry about the future of my program or my own career.
2. I have dealt with these types of issues before. I do PR for debate
every day. Part of the reason I don't worry about the future of my
program is because I work (along with Pete Bsumek) to make sure that
our university has favorable opinion of debate. Something I have done
well and will continue to do so even if not elected.
3. The reason I have never run for this office before is because I was
never in a position that would have allowed me the freedom to respond
when CEDA would need me. I am in a good place now with a full time
assistant, a work study student, a departmental assistant and plenty
of release time to do debate related work. I'm not nearly as busy even
during my busiest time of the year as most people are and my time is
always more flexible.
4. I've dealt with CEDA related PR for years. I have served as a
regional rep for 9 years and have only missed a single CEDA summer
meeting since 1994. I have served on countless committees and know the
way CEDA works from being on the ground floor every time these
decisions are being made. Some may see this as a negative (because
CEDA bashing is an extremely popular pastime) , but I think
considering the diverse constituency we serve CEDA has done a fairy
good job balancing a diverse set of interests.

I am looking forward to the VP debates that Chief is organizing. I
think the discussion of these issues is critical to the future of our


On Wed, Dec 17, 2008 at 3:00 PM, NEIL BERCH <berchnorto at msn.com> wrote:
> Thanks to Andy for a thought-provoking answer.  He should also be given a
> great deal of credit for taking on so directly what may be perceived to be
> the greatest weakness of his candidacy.  We should all be so
> self-aware!--Neil
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: Andy Ellis
> Cc: eDebate
> Sent: Wednesday, December 17, 2008 2:54 PM
> Subject: Neil's Question
> Hello,
> Good question Neil
> Believe it or not i am conscious of the chilling effect my words can have on
> discourse on this list and in other places so i held off on answering this
> question both to give the other candidates a chance to speak, but also to
> put some thought into what it was Neil was asking.
> It is the most important question facing the next 2nd vice  president and i
> feel confident that i can answer it. It of course depends on the situation,
> but my response would be in several parts:1) Gather information-What exactly
> is the times looking for, what specific information does the reporter want?
> How can i contact him and when is her deadline(in the first call unless i
> have already sought the consul of other stakeholders i will not comment)
> 2)Consult-I will seek advice from the ec, appropriate committees, and non
> debate experts who my administration will work to bring into the fold(more
> on that in a second) 3)I will issue a statement that recognizes appropriate
> responsibility, identifies the problem, and explains the course of action.
> Yes its formulaic, but it is what the times expects, VIK mentioned in her
> candidate statement that she had to answer why should a non academic want
> this job...This is a good question too, and it interacts with neil's in a
> very interesting way. The answer is that ceda IS NOT an academic
> institution, many of its stake holders are academics, but it itself is an
> organization, not wholly private not wholly public, but whatever it is it is
> not the academy. The New York Times does not operate on an academic schedule
> and neither should ceda. When hesitating to answer neil's question last
> night i got to thinking, what if the crisis occured during finals, would any
> of the candidates with academic jobs be able to put forth the time, focus
> and energy needed to steer the organization to the other side?  If so what
> would suffer school? debate team? family?
> This is not to say that people working in universities should not do service
> for ceda, without their contribution the organization would be nothing, but
> that perhaps when we talk about change (russel your ad is coming) we need to
> think differently about who we want leading this organization.
> My day job does not involve classes grading office hours or faculty
> plennarys, i have loved all that stuff when i was in academic settings, what
> it does involve is leverging our non profit statsu to build an organization
> by finding the resources needed to sustain the vision the director and stake
> holders have for the organization. Today i am preparing executive level
> volunteer job descriptions and seeking pro bono accounting assistance to
> provide our memebers, i will post these to a variety of resources such as
> idealist.com, volunteer match, the united way, and grassroots.org, later
> today i will meet with a videographer who is interested in teaching the
> youth we work with to make effective videos, and when i get back from the
> break i will have meetings with city officials and educators to try to plan
> our summer program. None of this involves the sticky question of fundraising
> yet all of it contributes invaluble services to our organization because it
> makes services we could never afford available to us through the incentives
> in tax law. The person who eventualy leads ceda needs to know how to talk to
> department heads and debaters, but also business leaders, civic leaders, and
> service providers, they need to have the innovativeness to scrap together a
> team or an organization through tough times, and they need to have the
> resourcefulness to fiigure out what ceda can and cant do on its own and what
> to do when it needs help.
> I mentioned earlier that i would have a group of volunteers who where not
> current debate people....yes i would...I would work with ceda members to
> reach out to alumni who have moved beyond debate and try to get volunteer
> and pro bono work for the organization. One of the areas that i would focus
> on would be PR and Marketing. Key Chains are cute, I am CEDA is kinda
> cool(but a huge timebomb of liability when they get jammed or spoofed), but
> shouldnt we let people who do this for a living do this work on our behalf?
> They will do it faster and they will do it better (btw when it comes time to
> have key chains made i have a series of good programs that will do them for
> free, or very low charge) and Kathryn's time could be better speant doing
> what Kathryn does well as a debate leader.
> When Jarmen made the new ceda page he did an excellent job, learned a cool
> skill, and maybe got some academic value out of it...maybe...but what if we
> had submitted an application at grassroots.org and they had done it for
> free...Jarmen could spend more time coaching, teaching, and thinking about
> how to guide ceda...but we tend to make our officers do a bunch of different
> jobs...change may mean we have to focus on our first and second jobs again,
> but i think that will be better for the community and for all of us...
> I am rambling, which is kind of why i prefer youtube but i promise one of
> the groups of volunteers i would recruit if i got this job was a team of
> editors.
> Thanks and Russel You are on next...
> On Tue, Dec 16, 2008 at 8:13 PM, NEIL BERCH <berchnorto at msn.com> wrote:
>> I don't understand this one, but I'm sure you young people do.  Here's a
>> semi-serious question for all the candidates:
>> It's 3 am, and the phone rings in the CEDA President's residence.  It's
>> the New York Times, or the Chronicle of Higher Education, or Rolling Stone,
>> and they're calling to get your comment some awful thing that someone may
>> have done at a CEDA tournament.
>> Why should we as an organization want you to be the one to take that call?
>> --Neil Berch
>> West Virginia University
>> ----- Original Message -----
>> From: Andy Ellis
>> To: eDebate
>> Sent: Tuesday, December 16, 2008 8:03 PM
>> Subject: [eDebate] How well do you really know mike davis
>> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WTQtiPUjXdg
>> _______________________________________________
>> eDebate mailing list
>> eDebate at www.ndtceda.com
>> http://www.ndtceda.com/mailman/listinfo/edebate
> _______________________________________________
> eDebate mailing list
> eDebate at www.ndtceda.com
> http://www.ndtceda.com/mailman/listinfo/edebate

Dr. Michael Davis
Director of Debate/Assistant Professor
James Madison University

More information about the Mailman mailing list