The UUA Board of Trustees puts forward the following amendment to Business Resolution 2 on the General Assembly Planning Committee for delegates to consider.
Since the final agenda was released on May 25, delegates have raised important comments and questions about this resolution and its impact. This included asking what it means to seek to suspend the bylaws, what happens to the functions of the General Assembly Planning Committee if they are suspended, what the timing of future bylaws changes might be, and how the GA planning process is currently operating. However, as no amendment was put forward by any delegate based on these questions for consideration at the Mini-Assembly, there has not been a way to address these questions so far through the redesigned business process.
The overall intent of the resolution is to give enough space within the requirements of the bylaws to allow the current group of volunteers and UUA staff who are leading General Assembly planning to continue in their roles for the next few years, while an updated GA planning structure is developed to be presented as part of reimagining General Assembly. In order to be responsive to these concerns and clarify this intent, the Board offers this amendment for the delegates to discuss and vote on. If it is accepted, the amendment will be incorporated into the final version of the Business Resolution which delegates will discuss and vote on later in the week.
Replace lines 80-82 with:
The GENERAL ASSEMBLY 2022 hereby suspends the membership and activities required by the bylaws of the General Assembly Planning Committee, for a period of up to three years, while new GA planning structures are tested, revised, and adopted. This action empowers the current leadership and collaborative efforts of the UUA volunteers and staff who are responsible for GA activities, events, and programs to fulfill these functions. It creates the opportunity to explore and develop more inclusive and innovative GA planning structures for the future.
80. [GENERAL ASSEMBLY 2022 hereby suspends until further notice the membership and activities
81. required by the bylaws of the General Assembly Planning Committee. This action creates flexibility to
82. explore more inclusive and innovative GA planning structures.]
neither the original nor the amendment address when the GAPC would cease to exist… am I misreading this?
This amendment appears to be a move toward more authoritarian control by the UUA staff of programming at our General Assemblies. “Cancel culture” is already a serious problem in the UUA and it often takes the form of “deplatforming”, specifically to block open and honest dialogue on certain controversial issues. Instead we need to recommit to our 4th principle: “a free and responsble search for truth and meaning” - in defiance of the political agendas of certain staff.
It would help me so much to know what the GAPC was supposed to be doing, and what about its structure became unworkable, What does it do to GA planning if there is no designated committee with clear rules and guidelines. And what role did it play in governance?
I found the functions of the GAPC under General Information on Page 18 of the GA 2022 Program Book. They include “daily schedule, programming, worship, and the GA budget.” These are clearly important functions. The proposed resolution includes a provision to ensure that these functions will continue to be provided while evaluation and reworking of the UUA Bylaws is undertaken. See quoted section below:
Consequently, I am inclined to vote in favor of the resolution as it is now worded.
Thank you, Connie. The flurry around this issue is beginning to settle, in my mind.
“dickburkhart” seems inclined to see a conspiracy behind Business Resolution #2 which doesn’t seem to be justified by the Board’s explanation for the proposed change (page 80 of the GA Program Book). Line 69 of the proposal attests that “The General Assembly Planning Committee has not held a governance role in many years,” and further, that the future of GA on “multi-platform modalities, requires a committee structure that is flexible and able to recruit volunteers with the skills needed for events as they change.” I find that explanation reasonable and compelling, and I plan to vote for Business Resolution #2 as amended.
I believe that rethinking how GA is done and working to make it more accessible, and in so doing more effectively democratic, is important work. The proposed amendment seems to me to be a reasonable temporary suspension of the rules to enable that work to happen. The very fact that it is being transparently proposed and subject to our review and vote seems not to be an authoritarian move.
If the GAPC has not had a governance function for many years, this was in violation of our bylaws and this should be discussed. Why? I say vote No until we get a compelling explanation.
Hi “dickburkhart”: did you attend the GA Mini-Assembly dedicated to walking through the proposed resolutions? Did you read the lengthy explanation and rationale that followed the GA Mini-Assembly? As I understand it, Business Resolution #2 is designed to address the information technology needs essential to offering a GA that is more inclusive (including the use of multi-modal platforms like Whova, with the captioning and response features). That seems rationale enough for me to vote “Yes” until such time as a major revisiting of the Bylaws can be completed (the subject of the first business resolution that delegates will also be discussing at this GA).
I agree, zoehart. There is much work to be done, and I am interested in opening up possibilities to make that work happen.
This seems like a reasonable approach to allow the flexibility for innovation as we find new ways to improve inclusion and full participation.
I agree with those inclined to vote yes.
dickburkhart - I fail to see how the GAPC not having a governance role is in violation of our bylaws. The bylaws do not require the GAPC to have a governance role. The bylaws simply define how membership in the GAPC is managed and simply state that “The Committee shall be responsible for arrangements for General Assembly and programs and meetings to be held in connection therewith.” I think this move is just a recognition that the GAPC does not need the strict rigor of being controlled by the bylaws. I suspect that there are other areas of the bylaws that are more implementation-focused and would benefit from the flexibility that comes with being managed outside of the bylaws. All of which makes perfect sense to me.
The Business Resolution as amended by this proposed amendment received significant support and was adopted by the General Assembly. Discussion is now closed.