Chris Baia, from a file photo during his own debate career in 2008. Baia graduated from Johns Hopkins University in 2008 as APDA President and 2nd Speaker of the Year (SOTY).

The Rutgers University Debate Union (RUDU) has doubled its professional staff this month with the official hiring of Christopher Baia as Assistant Debate Coach. He was chosen from a competitive field involving over thirty applicants for the position from around the country.

“I’m very glad to be aboard,” Baia noted in expressing his excitement about joining the RUDU team. He went on to say that he believes Rutgers can be competitive for the top spots in the nation in the coming years and that he’s motivated to help take RUDU to the next level.

Baia himself has experienced great success on the American Parliamentary Debate Association (APDA) league. A 2008 graduate of Johns Hopkins University, he was President of the league his senior year (2007-2008), finishing second Speaker of the Year (SOTY) that season after finishing fifth SOTY his junior year. He was also on the sixth Team of the Year (TOTY) both of those years, with two different partners. Additionaly, he was eighth Novice of the Year (NOTY) his freshman year and broke at Nationals his senior year.

After graduating from Hopkins, he spent a year coaching the Collegiate High School debate team in New York City. He then went on to earn his Juris Doctor at American University in Washington DC, which was awarded this spring.

Baia will work with RUDU full-time and travel with the team, which has been expanding greatly in recent years. Sixty-one individuals attended at least one tournament for RUDU last year and that number is expected to increase after Rutgers graduated only two seniors from the program and enjoyed the largest novice class in history last season. The Debate Union does not cut anyone from the program and all participants are invited to compete on the APDA circuit.

Baia’s position is funded in part from a grant by the George Soros Foundation’s Open Society Foundations. He will officially start work at the beginning of September this fall.

Chris Baia will maximize naming confusion on RUDU, joining the team as the third Chris B. who is currently active. Chris Bergman is continuing as President of RUDU for the fall semester and Chris Beal just finished his novice season.