[eDebate] Neil's Question

V I Keenan vikeenan
Thu Dec 18 00:15:22 CST 2008


In the spirit of recognizing our biggest weaknesses, I'll be brief as well:

As I mentioned in my candidate statement, my current position at NYU offers
me a great deal of scheduling flexibility to be responsive as a national
representative for CEDA while still being grounded within a supportive
university administration.  This gives me not only the ability to prioritize
CEDA as necessary, but also to easily seek feedback from a variety of higher
ed perspectives regarding ongoing press issues to identify the response that
best serves our community.  I also enjoy unique support from both my day job
and my debate employment regarding not only my involvement in CEDA, but also
my independence to pursue what is best for collegiate debate in that role.

I do not think the approach that Andy describes - identify goals, gather
information, establish deadlines, consult, formulate a course of action - is
unique to any of us as candidates.  I think it is the logical approach when
confronted with issuing a public statement related to CEDA as a national
officer.  However; I think the real heart of Neil's question is that, when
caught on the spot, when an immediate response is needed, whose impulse will
be to think before speaking and whose thoughts will best represent our
activity?

I feel I have a reasonable reputation for being a moderate voice when there
are issues of contention and recognizing that debate IS a big tent (and only
occasionaly a three-ring-circus).  I understand the value of taking a breath
before speaking (or typing) and verifying the facts I will base an opinion
on.  I am no where near perfect on this, but I recognize the distinction of
speaking as myself versus speaking as a representative of a larger body, and
I am able to recognize when things such as tact and diplomacy serve a
purpose, when coalition building is needed instead of divisiveness, and when
it is time to pick a battle and defend our ground.  I spend almost every day
of my job at NYU discussing why debate is not just good, but necessary;
frequently on the spot, and in different ways to different audiences.
Finally, when time allows for consulting others to reach a consensus for how
to continue, I am conscientious of finding ALL of the voices important to
the discussion.  Essentially, eight years of taking attendance means I am
acutely aware of what voices I am NOT hearing (i.e.: edebate does not equal
a majority, backchannels and phone calls aren't hard, timezones are
realities), and I am willing to take the initiative to both inform relevant
parties of key issues and to gather those voices necessary to make informed
decisions moving forward.

Finally, my insomnia makes me more likely to be conscious and coherent at
3AM, and year's of teaching high school and coaching the Coalition have
programmed me to be alert and attentive if the phone rings and I am woken in
case of emergency.

-VIK

Vik Keenan
Director - Baruch Debate, CUNY
Assoc. Director - New York Coalition of Colleges
212/992-9641 or 347/683-6894
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