Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Center for Inquiry Canada: New Associate Members

 
The Board of Directors voted on accepting new Associate Members at its December 11th meeting. I have just received a letter from the Board signed by the new (?) Chair, Richard Thain.
Dear Professor Moran,

On December 11, 2011 one of the many important items on the agenda for the Board od Directors meeting was discussion of the applications for Associate Membership.

The goal is to have a diverse group of Associate Members which reflects our membership geographically. In order to achieve this, the Board recognizes that we must update our website and post the By-Laws which explain the governance of CFI Canada. We hope to attract more applications which will then be reviewed before the next CFI Canada AGM in March 2012.

We felt it was important to approve some of the applications at the December 11th board meeting, so we reviewed and accepted the following five people:

Iain Martel, Seanna Watson, Brian Eelhart, Craig Irving and Marlowe Filippov.

The other applications were put under review and will be considered with the next wave of applicants at a future board meeting.

The Board of Directors realizes you have made and are continuing to make significant contributions to our success. We would like to sincerely thank you for your continued support and committment to helping CFI build a better Canada through reason.

Richard Thain DDS
Chair, Board of Directors
CFI Canada
My application was rejected!

I wish I knew why the Board didn't accept my application but did accept some others. Iain Martel is the Chair of CASS and Seanna Watson is the Director of the Ottawa branch of CFI so I assume that the people filling these positions are a sort of ex officio Associate Members. That makes a lot of sense especially for Iain and Seanne who have devoted so much time and effort to CFI.

Bryan Eelhart was the Financial Agent for the Green Party in the riding of Trinity-Spadina (Toronto) during the recent Ontario election. He's a member of the Board of Directors at Conscience Canada and he works for Science for Peace. Bryan has extensive expertise in website design and implementation.

Craig Irving is a freelance videographer from Toronto. He serves on the Multimedia Committee at Centre for Inquiry Canada.

Marlowe Filippov lives in Ottawa where she volunteers at the Centre for Inquiry. She's also an expert in websites. She's been helping out with membership problems and advising the National Director on other issues.

It appears that three two of the new Associate Members were chosen for their ability to help out with updating the CFI website.

There are currently three Associate Members who are CFI Advisory Fellows; Jeff Rosenthal from Toronto, Chris diCarlo from Guelph, and Ethan Clow from Vancouver. It's possible that the Board of Directors felt that only three CFI Canada Advisory Fellows should also be Associate Members, or maybe they felt that having two from the Toronto area was too much and that's why my application was rejected.

I'll try and find out more about the qualifications required for Associate Membership. It's clear that length of membership in CFI is not important since there are Associate Members who only joined CFI two years ago. I think that active volunteering on administrative tasks is an important criterion so if you are currently helping out in this area you will probably have a good chance of being appointed.

I'm a little unclear about the criterion of reflecting membership geographically. About half of all CFI Canada members are from the Toronto area but I don't think this means that half of the Associate Members will be from Toronto. I think it means that you're more likely to be chosen as an Associate Member if you are from one of the other centres that isn't already represented.

I'm not sure what the role of a CFI Canada Advisory Fellows is supposed to be. If we can't be Associate Members then who are we supposed to advise? :-)

Post a comment if your application was also rejected. That way we might be able to figure out what the Board of Directors is thinking when it comes to appointing new Associate Members. I'll let the Board know about this posting so they can comment, or at least see your comments.


12 comments :

  1. I do understand the CFI board's wish to carefully consider the next batch of applicants for Associate Membership, but, as I have already said to several CFI board members, I do not understand why CFI Canada Advisory Fellows would not automatically be accepted as Associate Members.

    I do disagree with your conclusion about the new AMs being selected for our ability to update the CFI Canada website. Though I agree that it is sorely in need of attention, I have not, myself, been asked to assist.

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  2. More data points regarding rejected applicants would be helpful, but my guess is that there were two main criteria: 1. has contributed in some significant way (as volunteer, advisor and/or donor) to CFI over a reasonable period of time, 2. has not publicly criticized the board of directors. If these were the criteria used, Larry would have failed on criterion 2.

    Is this understandable? Yes. Fair? Not really. Good for CFI? Debatable.

    ReplyDelete
  3. You were not rejected by the way this letter was worded, just deferred to the next round of applicants.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Seanna,

    I thought I made it pretty clear that I wasn't referring to you or Iain.

    ReplyDelete
  5. RealityinSarnia says,

    You were not rejected by the way this letter was worded, just deferred to the next round of applicants.

    Right. The other applicants were just "temporarily" rejected for possible consideration in the next round.

    What do you think is going to change between now and then to make our applications better, or as good as, than the ones who were accepted?

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  6. anonymous says,

    2. has not publicly criticized the board of directors. If these were the criteria used, Larry would have failed on criterion 2.

    I don't agree.

    I've been in touch with several directors and they aren't under any illusions about their chances of surviving the next AGM. In fact, they probably won't even run for another term.

    These are smart people. They know where the buck stops and they know that they have to take responsibility for their decisions over the past year.

    In their earlier letter, the Board declared that they were opposed to "stacking" meetings in favor of one point of view. That's why when ten supporters of Jason showed up on December 11th they only allowed them into the meeting for an hour or so while they each only made a very short presentation to the Associate Members.

    There's no reason to suspect that the Board of Directors will behave any differently when it comes to choosing new Associate Members. They seek diversity, and that means diversity of opinion (presumably).

    The Board will be looking for new Associate Members who have a long-term comittment to CFI and/or other skeptic/atheist/humanist groups. They'll try to attract people with wisdom and experience and with the best long-term interests of CFI in mind.

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  7. Larry Moran said...

    Seanna,

    I thought I made it pretty clear that I wasn't referring to you or Iain.


    Yes, upon re-reading I appear to have missed that.

    As for the rejection of some applicants but not others, it is my understanding that this was based on the timing of the receipt of the applications.

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  8. Seanna says,

    As for the rejection of some applicants but not others, it is my understanding that this was based on the timing of the receipt of the applications.

    Who told you this?

    It's easy to test that hypothesis. I was told that I had to deliver my application to the CFI office in Toronto c/o Kevin Smith. I submitted my application to Mike in the CFI office on Monday, December 5, 2011. Seanna, when did your application get to the office?

    Can others please post when they sent in their applications for CFI Associate Membership? I'm particularly interested in those who were accepted.

    Iain? I'm sure you're reading these comments. Bryan? Craig? Marlowe?

    Does anyone have email addresses for those three new Associate Members?

    ReplyDelete
  9. Seanna says,

    As for the rejection of some applicants but not others, it is my understanding that this was based on the timing of the receipt of the applications.

    Who told you this?

    It's easy to test that hypothesis. I was told that I had to deliver my application to the CFI office in Toronto c/o Kevin Smith. I submitted my application to Michael Payton in the CFI office on Monday, November 28, 2011. Seanna, when did your application get to the office?

    Can others please post when they sent in their applications for CFI Associate Membership? I'm particularly interested in those who were accepted.

    Iain? I'm sure you're reading these comments. Bryan? Craig? Marlowe?

    Does anyone have email addresses for those three new Associate Members?

    ReplyDelete
  10. Larry,
    It doesn't seem to be anything to do with timing - I only got my application in a couple of days before the meeting, so you beat me to it. So I don't know why you weren't admitted when others were.

    I do hope that this is a temporary decision, though, as you ought to be one of the most obvious candidates for AM - well-known atheist activist, founding member of CASS, and long-time CFI Canada advisor and member. Recognising this, I expect the board to approve your application ahead of the AGM in March. If they don't, it can only be for political reasons.

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  11. Larry's AM application: delivered to CFI Toronto office on 28 November.

    Seanna's AM application: emailed to Kevin Smith on 29 November.

    Small data set, but directly contradicts my statement, which I hereby withdraw, with apologies. I was told that the board had so many applications that they could only act on a few of them, and deferred the rest for later. I am surprised to hear that the sorting of applications was not based on date they were received by the board, and I am at a loss to understand decision criteria that would qualify me to be an Associate Member but not Larry.

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  12. I submitted my application to be an Associate Member via email on December 8.

    I received the same letter as Dr. Moran on December 21.

    My assumption was that my late submission and living in Toronto were factors in the board selecting others.

    Given the other issues the board had to address on December 11, I would not be surprised if full consideration of all AM applications was deferred to March.

    ReplyDelete