Friday, February 19, 2010

Countdown to the Board Meeting

As expected, the Shimer floor today has been filled with anxiety. People are buzzing around having quiet conversation after quiet conversation, frantically trying to figure out exactly what's going on and what's being planned. No one I've spoken with -- including several trustees, both internal and external -- is certain what will happen during tomorrow's meeting.

One of the reasons for this uncertainty is that the Agenda is vague. One faculty member expressed that this was a good sign, mentioning that there are no items on the Agenda about governance and that whether the mission statement would be voted upon was also uncertain. Some others, like student trustee Heath Iverson, feel quite differently. According to Iverson, the agenda really doesn't say much of anything, which leaves room for potentially dangerous votes to be called to order. Trustee Patrick Parker is one of several trustees who have suggested that the board should -- some say must -- vote on the mission statement. Additionally, board chair Chris Nelson (who sent a factually inaccurate nullification of the Assembly's power to the last Assembly meeting) has expressed that he feels that internal trustees should not have voting power on the board. Even worse, certain staff members and trustees I've spoken with, who I am unable to name because of the dangerous climate Tom has created, fear that even more destructive plans may be in the works for tomorrow.

There's no question that we're all deeply worried. But students have had no trouble making light of the situation by making fun of the people who are actively working against us. Comparisons to Star Wars and the response to Tom's repeated use of Chairman Mao's words have continually gained popularity, but one particular event has been just delightful to watch: certain trustees' reactions to a flyer that students have been scattering around the floor, and watching them disappear as quickly as we put them up. The flyer reads:

Barre Seid is the "Anonymous" Donor.

These are the organizations (that we know of) to which new Shimer board members belong as well as the amounts of money they have received from the Barbara and Barre Seid Foundation.

Center For Individual Rights (Michael McDonald) - $60,000
Congregation Shaare Tikvah B'nai Zion (Dennis Katz) - $401,000
George Mason University (F.H. Buckley) - $2,547,000
Heartland Institute (Joe Bast) - $865,477
Palmer Chitester Fund (Bob Chitester) - $660,000
Sam Adams Alliance (Eric O'Keefe) - $850,000

This data can be verified by looking at the foundation's 990 forms.

Mr Seid also employs the following Board Members:

Charles Lang (CFO of Tripp Lite Manufacturing. Barre Seid owns this company.)
Jon Marineau (Employed by Fiber Bond, another company owned by Seid.)
It sucks when your undisclosed conflicts of interest are put out in the open, doesn't it, guys?

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