Coach rescues ELAC debate team

By Kritsida Adisakkitti

Many students and faculty undermined the East Los Angeles College debate team that continuously brought home wins during the past five years.

Nadar Haddad is the founder and coach of the official debate team that ELAC lacked for a 25-year period. After Haddad received his Bachelor’s Degree at California State University, Long Beach in Political Science and his Master’s Degree at University of North Texas, he was offered a job at ELAC to start a debate program and team in 2007.

He chose this school because of the low expectations of students on campus and the ethnic and social demographics compared to other colleges. He believes it’s important to represent the “heart of L.A.” and compete against four-year institutions from a different perspective.

One of the highlights the school can be proud of was the win against Harvard University in January at Cal State University, Fullerton. In 2009, the ELAC debate team also received first place in Cal State Championship for community colleges, when they were only in the program for three years.

The debate team takes pride in competing with four-year institutions by attacking the topic from a different angle and focusing on what they do well. “It can be an exciting time of getting ELAC students transferred and getting them into political life in a more active way,” said Haddad.

At the beginning of the program, the school provided a funding of $22,000 per year. However, during this recent year it has decreased to $8,000.

Heavily impacted by the budget cuts, the ELAC debate team is limited to compete at local competitions instead of traveling nationwide. If the budget cuts continue, it will “reestablish the norm of low expectations from certain populations,” stated Haddad.

Students are welcomed to join the debate team by registering for Speech 106 or by walking in to their regular meeting days on Tuesday and Thursday in E8-101 or E8-102. Students may show support at the next debate competition on December 9 at Los Angeles City College.


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