SOCIETY REFORM SCHOOL
A Forum for/from the Loyal Opposition
This reform forum is a caucus that was created to air issues of concern and develop strategies related to improving the governance of the society by Fred and other members the Society. Its basic concerns are with constitutional reform (changes to the Articles of Organization), governance matters, the editorship of the Newsletter, the compulsory nature of subscription to the Journal, and other changes for which we would like to lobby. See topics of discussion below (new ones can be created for your interests).
Here is a synopsis of our concerns:
We are concerned with basically several related issues. The first is that the Articles of Organization, while adequate in many respects, is considerably flawed and needs serious change. These deal with the fact that some of the officers, who also are on the Executive Committee, are not elected nor are their terms spelled out. The same is true of the Trustees. These two bodies are the main governance councils of the Society. There are other matters of democratization, of giving the members more points of control that are lacking in the original Articles of Organization. To review these matters, see the report of the now expired Constitutional Review Committee (blueberry-brain.org/SCTPLS/SCTPLS CRC reports.htm), which while you may not agree with all the amendments it proposed, will give you a good idea of what these problems are. Presenting these changes was hampered by obstruction of many steps of the committee’s presentation of these issues to the membership (improper mailing of the proposals, inability to use the Society’s email list to discuss the amendments one-by-one, and inadequate scheduling of their discussion at the annual business meeting in Denver).
The second basic issue relates to governance practices by the Executive Committee and the Trustees. The problems the Constitutional Reform Committee had with some members of the Executive Committee led to our discovery that many other individuals, including past presidents of the Society and members of other committees, were having difficulties with overly controlling members of the Executive Committee. There was a time when few wanted to be involved in the governance of the Society either as officers or as members of various committees, but under the Holly’s presidency, many more new members became involved, ready to take positions of responsibility, only to run into these type of obstacles. An example of such an obstruction included changing a Presidential report in the Society’s Newsletter even after it left the Editor’s desk. It pains me to reveal that despite the wonderful people who come to our conferences, and the imagination, energy, and friendship they exhibit, that behind the scenes these governance problems are occurring. If others are concerned, we will be exploring a variety of strategies to either resolve these problems, or, if necessary, even letting the rift go to the creation of an alternative organization.
A third issue is that of the independence of the editorship of the Society Newsletter. Bob Porter, has been embattled by members of the Executive Committee for some time. He has fought for the right fair reporting and respect for individual rights and freedom to speak despite interference with his editorial prerogatives. He has served with distinction and energy and devotion to the highest principles of the Society and fair play. The result is that he has been asked to resign by the new President, which we view as an act of repression of editorial independence. We will publish his letter of resignation on this site, so you can view his concerns about this action.
A fourth issue is that of the compulsory subscription to the Society’s journal, Nonlinear Dynamics, Psychology, and Life Sciences raised by Mark Filippi. Robin has raised the issue of the tension between the more imaginative and metaphoric interests of Society members, and those of a more technical/scientific bent, and he and I and others have tried to encourage a rapprochement between these lineages. However, Mark shows that they are a bone of contention with respect to compulsory journal subscription, and suggest that many, such as himself might prefer to not subscribe to subsidize the Journal.
Other issues have involved other obstructions to the attempts of other committees to pursue projects that they have proposed to help the Society develop its goals, such as the public relations committee. We note that as vacancies of any kind become available, Milwaukee people seem to replace them, and we are suggesting a change in name of the Society to the Milwaukee Society for Chaos Theory in Psychology and Life Sciences.
You have seen that these issues have come out of the closet in the Newsletter just published. There is an editorial by the departing editor, Robert Porter, one by Mark Filippi, and one by myself. These are just the tip of the iceberg of discontent that has been going on behind the scenes, but which we feel now that we should bring to the attention of the membership.
Those wishing to submit comments on these issues in this forum may submit them to me at (firstname.lastname@example.org). Those wishing to follow the comments and progress with reform efforts can consult this reform newsletter (blueberry-brain.org/SCTPLS/society reform school.htm). This newsletter is not an official activity of the SCTPLS, and is not obviated by the appointment of a new committee to examine the Articles of Organization, which was composed by one person who is now opposed to any change in the Articles, and others who are friends of the authors of the original Articles. It is further necessitated by the fear of censorship of our concerns and comments by the present governance of the Society. It seems paradoxical that a society whose subject is largely about change, and which has many experts in organizational development, is so rigidly opposed to self-reorganization.
Created 10/13/2005 by Frederick David Abraham, updated 11/15/05 & 5/29/2011
· Articles of Organization, report of the first CRC (prepared and on site Feb. 2005)
· Executive Committee & Board of Trustees (not yet developed)
· General Governance (not yet developed)
· Strategies for Reform (not yet developed)