Chippewa Valley Civil Liberties Union
Board Meeting Minutes for November 14, 2010
116 W. Grand Ave. Eau Claire, WI
Present: Zoe Bowman, Myron Buchholz, Shu Cheng, Ann Heywood, Mildred Larson,Nick Passell, Dan Perkins, Stephanie Turner, David Rice and Eleanor Wolf
- Call to order by David Rice at 6:35 pm. Welcome to Zoe Bowman, our new board member.
- Eleanor added a discussion of a speaker from the Freedom from Religion Foundation to the agenda.
- The minutes of the previous meeting were reviewed and accepted as emailed.
- Nick reported numbers related to our recent newsletter and annual meeting. Nick estimated that our treasury is about $100 ahead of our September balance.
Dinner costs were $381.35. We had 17 in attendance.
Newsletter was $56.97 for printing and $93.28 for mailing.
The income from the dinner was not available at this moment. That amount includes money for dinners at Houligans and several donations.
- We discussed success and problems related to the annual meeting. Everyone seemed well pleased with the quality of the dinner and the room at Houligans. Chris Ahmuty’s presentation was very informative; he handled many issues without notes. The Q and A part was probably a little too long as the whole presentation lasted about an hour and a half. In the future we should use a moderator to keep track of time and direct the Q & A session. An hour to an hour and a quarter presentation could be followed by informal conversation with the speaker. We had about 38 in the audience. Next year we need to do publicity to the general public as well as our members.
At a luncheon earlier that day on campus, Chris met with board members Nick Passell, Shu Cheng, Stephanie Turner, and Dan Perkins, along with two faculty who are chapter members. This was an excellent opportunity for informal discussion. Next time we could improve upon it by inviting members to come prepared with questions that we could use to structure the discussion. We could also use this informal setting as a way to attract new members to the organization from among faculty and staff.
Chris also met with eight student leaders representing diverse organizations with various concerns. Chris talked with the students and suggested effective ways for organizing grassroots activities.
Another suggestion for future speakers: One person should communicate expectations to the speaker ahead of time so as to allow the speaker to prepare and avoid overlap in presentations. At each event one person should moderate to be sure everyone has a chance to ask questions and participate.
Chris was very satisfied with the meetings that were arranged for his visit here, especially the meeting with County Board member and local lawyer Stella Pagonis and the school board member and lawyer Wendy Johnson.
- Election of board officers for 2011:
President: Eleanor Wolf
Vice-president: Stephanie Turner
Secretary: Ann Heywood
Treasurer: David Rice
- Ann distributed notes from the latest state board meeting.* Dan suggested we discuss the state ACLU goals at the next board meeting when we have had time to study. We also discussed how to help with the state audit by facilitating state staff’s access to quarterly bank statements. David will inquire at RCU how this might be done. Ann noted that the annual Bill of Rights Dinner will be February 19, 2011 in Milwaukee. (The date was later changed to March 19, 2011.)
- Ann reported on a call for help she received from a man outside our area who wanted help in fighting for his daughter at her high school. The girl was being harassed for her weight and the caller’s requests for action to stop it had been ignored. Ann discussed the matter with Chris Ahmuty and called the man back a few days later. He had happy news: When he subsequently met with the principal and said that he had contacted the ACLU, the principal “visibly sat up straighter” and said it would not be necessary to involve the ACLU. The principal then took significant and appropriate action to stop the harassment. Case closed.
- We discussed how we might get a local showing of HOWL, a movie about censorship and Allen Ginsberg’s poem by that name. Stephanie said she would contact Bob Nowlan to see if it might be one of the selections for the next Progressive Film Festival. Another possibility is to ask Micon Theater to bring it to the screen. Shu knows the owner and will contact him. Myron and Zoe will check into the possibility of showing the film at Memorial’s Little Theater; the room would be free, but the film rental could be significant.
- We discussed the very limited attendance at the latest Banned Books Week event, a showing of five films about censorship, at the Eau Claire library. We think it best to go back to the old format of a series of short readings from banned or challenged books at the library. The new art gallery area would be a good venue. We would like to see high school and perhaps college students involved.
- We discussed the cancellation of the panel presentation at the NWEA Convention. When the convention became an optional event for area teachers, several panelists cancelled, and Myron was unable to arrange for enough speakers. Myron questions whether there will be a convention at Memorial next year since Eau Claire is not supporting it; thus the end of a long tradition. It is too soon to plan what we should do next year.
- Eleanor reported that she has recently attended a Freedom from Religion convention in Madison. She asked about the availability of a speaker for our area who could include topics like the Zunker Memorial in Chippewa Falls. Dan Barker does all the presentations. He would come to Eau Claire from Madison without a fee except for travel and hotel expenses. We discussed where we might hold such an event (Eau Claire or Chippewa Falls) and when. Eleanor will get more information for our January meeting.
- We set the next meeting for January 23, 2011 at David’s office.
- Adjourned at 8:00 p.m.
Zoe and Myron: Check into the possibility of showing HOWL at Memorial.
Shu: Check with Micon Theater about a showing of HOWL.
Stephanie: Check with Bob Nowlan about showing HOWL at the Progressive Film Festival.
David: Check with RCU about how to share account information with state staff.
Eleanor: Check into more details about having Dan Barker speak on religious liberty. Include discussion of state goals, next state meeting report, HOWL screening possibilities, and details on Freedom from Religion speaker on the January agenda.
* ACLU-WI State Board Report from October 16, 2010 meeting
The main focus of this meeting was renewing our three-year Strategic Plan. Three years ago the ACLU-WI established a plan with the help of an outside consultant, extensive research, and a full day retreat for the board. Our process this year was much simpler and done within the regular meeting structure.
The board began with a SWOT exercise—a discussion of Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.
The Strategic Planning Committee, led by Mildred Larson, confirmed the basic vision statement as follows:
Vision Statement: The ACLU of Wisconsin envisions a society in which a strong, growing, and diverse network of people and public and private institutions understands, values, and works to protect civil liberties and rights.
In small groups, the board discussed strategies for the four main goals.
Goal 1: Achieve an improved and integrated legal, legislative, and advocacy program that engages Wisconsin’s most critical civil liberties and rights issues.
Goal 2: Engage people across the state in learning about, valuing, protecting, and promoting civil liberties and rights.
Goal 3: Create and integrate a more robust development function capable of supporting substantial organizational growth.
Goal 4: Provide an administrative structure that supports exemplary functioning in all current and future program areas.
Each group presented strategies to the board; they will be refined and charted.
The Union and the Foundation boards received the annual audit reports. One problem in compiling the reports was the lack of timely reporting by all local chapters of their financial statements. The Finance Committee proposes that staff gain access to the chapters’ online banking accounts in order to get quarterly reports and thus avoid the reporting problem in the future.
The ACLU-WI continues its search for a Development Director. In the meantime the ACLU has hired a manager for the Bill of Rights Celebration, whose job would normally be part of the Development Director’s duties. Save the date for this year’s celebration—March 19 in Milwaukee.