Chippewa Valley Civil Liberties Union
Board Meeting Minutes for 1.18.09
David Rice office, Eau Claire
Present: Tom Ahrens, Myron Buchholz, Shu Cheng, Ann Heywood, Corey Hilber, Mildred Larson, Nicholas Passell, David Rice, Eleanor Wolf, guest Jake Schafer from UW-EC ACLUSA
Absent: Bob Nowlan
1. David called the meeting to order at 6:40 p.m.
2. Several topics were added to the agenda.
3. The minutes were approved as previously distributed.
4. Nick distributed the treasurer’s report with a balance of $236.32 in checking and $5.01 in savings at RCU: no change since last meeting. Ann asked whether David and Nick have updated signatures and access rights to the account at RCU. They will arrange to do that soon.
5. Mildred asked if board members had yet received an invitation to the state’s Bill of Rights Dinner, coming up on February 28. Ann agreed to email the invitation she has received. (Mildred offered to do that after the meeting.)
6. Mildred also reported that ACLU-WI is forming a committee to consider whether ACLU-WI should take a new position on gun ownership rights in light of the recent Supreme Court ruling securing individual rights over the older Constitutional interpretation that secured collective rights under the militia clause. If Wisconsin should take a position, it would be advisory to the policy that national keeps or adopts. State wants a committee of people on all sides of the issue. Nick thought he could forward a name to Ann or Mildred for such a committee.
7. Shu reported follow-up work on concerns she explained last time about religious outreach targeted to international students by on and off-campus groups. She met with UW-EC officials and found that there is a policy against proselytizing in dorms and campus buildings, but it has not always been enforced. She asked for a process to educate students about the rules and what to do when they face proselytizers breaking the rules. Education should include role playing ways to resist unwanted religious pressure, since cultural background may otherwise make such resistance difficult. Shu also asked that signage explaining the rules be clearly posted. The Center for International Education has drafted a letter to all religious student organizations asking them to work with their office. Shu also met with the dorm director for the Global Learning Community and asked her to send a letter to the proselytizing individual from off campus explaining the policy; this matter will first be cleared with the Director of Housing. The rules do not undermine the right to congregate and proselytize on sidewalks and city property in the campus area.
8. Guest Jake Schafer brought information of a possible censorship case on campus. In a fall issue, The Flip Side magazine published an editorial with sexually crass content that sparked considerable protest from readers. Subsequently, university funding has been cut. The English Department has voted to sever its ties with The Flip Side. Jake distributed copies of an email asking the campus ACLUSA for help and of a letter from the Student Press Law Center exploring aspects of the situation. The board agreed that Bob Nowlan could probably give us more complete information about the situation, and Ann will email him for comment. Mildred said that offensiveness of the content would not justify censorship. If the facts merit this interpretation, ACLU-WI legal director should be contacted. Jake said he would discuss the matter with the ACLUSA group when the next semester begins.
9. David asked about the CVCLU website. Ann reported that she has fallen behind and will contact Dan Freund soon to post recent minutes.
10. We discussed fundraiser events. Mildred expects she will be hosting an event for ACLU-WI in late March or early April. We will not want to choose a date for an CVCLU event too close to that. We also should consider costs involved to make a mid-year fundraiser successful. A regular mailing probably would cost $100-$140. Our treasury currently has enough funds to cover one more mailing to our membership. Should we postpone an event until it can be advertised in a regular annual newsletter? David will contact Bob about his thoughts for the fundraiser. Ann distributed ACLU-WI membership envelopes and explained that the CVCLU receives a $30 rebate for each new member that we recruit. Recalling practice from previous years, she moved that the board commit to the goal of “each one reach one” new member in the coming year. Motion carried. Envelopes should be marked with “WIE” in order to show a new member was locally recruited. Myron suggested emailing a copy of the membership envelope to our elist members and asking them to help us out too. He will send Ann an electronic copy of the envelope to use. Eleanor also brought up the idea of having a table at a Saturday Farmers Market this spring where we could have membership envelopes, a petition or two, and informational brochures. She will make contacts to see if this will work.
11. We discussed finding a speaker for this fall’s NWEA convention. Past presentations have covered teaching The Bill of Rights, dealing with homosexuality issues, reacting to free speech problems that come up in the classroom, using ACLU Freedom File films, and many more. Proposal are due in May, so we need ideas at the March meeting.
12. Eleanor will bring in language for a dissolution clause that we propose to add to our Bylaws at the next annual meeting.
13. We discussed concerns about a recent Bush ruling that would allow denial of health care based on conscience of the health care provider, including pharmacists. We are concerned with state senator Vinehout’s position on the issue.
14. Myron reported on the Memorial holiday all school concert. It contained a balanced variety of secular songs and limited use of Christmas music. He felt it to be a suitable concert for all students.
15. The next board meeting was set for March 8 at 6:30 at David’s law office, 116 W Grand Ave.
16. The meeting was adjourned about 8:05 p.m..
Ann Heywood, secretary