Please come to the LAST meeting of OLLI’s Board of Directors on
Tuesday, March 20, at 3pm in the Moana Lecture Hall.
from Lynne Gray:
Dear OLLI Membership,
For those of you who have not yet heard, UNR summarily declared OLLI’s Bylaws to be “null and void” on March 15, 2018. This action means the immediate dissolution of our elected Board of Directors and our committee structure as currently constituted and managed by the OLLI Board and its President.
OLLI's Board of Directors were given no prior notice that this process was going on - we were not consulted about it in any way, nor offered any opportunity for input or review.
Instead, the new governance document -- already drafted by University General Counsel, approved by the UNR Faculty Senate last week and signed by UNR President Johnson -- was forwarded to the OLLI Board late Friday afternoon by the Executive Director as "Information for OLLI Board Meeting"
Among other things, the document states:
- “The Executive Director shall develop policies and procedures... OLLI shall not have bylaws. The policies and procedures shall be the governing documents for the program. Any previously existing bylaws are now null and void..."
- “The Executive Director shall be responsible for developing and managing the budget..."
- “OLLI shall have an Advisory Council. The advisory council shall be composed of OLLI members, who are volunteers, and shall consist of no less than 10 and no more than 20 members. No more than five (5) advisory council members shall be appointed by the Executive Director; other advisory council members shall be elected by the OLLI membership.
- “The role of the advisory council is to offer input to the Executive Director as requested..."
- "OLLI may have standing committees, as determined by the Executive Director following input from the Advisory Council.”
A link to the entire document is provided at the end of this message.
OLLI’s final Board of Directors meeting is this Tuesday afternoon, March 20, at 3pm in the Moana building.
President Johnson is scheduled to attend “to answer any questions you may have about the changes.” OLLI Board meetings have always been open to all interested members - and although technically there is no longer an OLLI Board of Directors, this meeting should provide an important opportunity to have President Johnson address all OLLI members and volunteers who might want to hear his and Carol Parkhurst's vision for OLLI’s future.
I urge you to attend and to invite any other OLLI members, friends and contributors you think might be interested.
Inviting OLLI’s wider “stakeholders” to this extremely crucial meeting is a fitting way for me to end a Presidency in which I have worked hard to support collaboration, communication and teamwork among our hundreds of volunteers. I hope we will demonstrate a fundamental point at this meeting - that OLLI has many, many extremely competent, dedicated and concerned members and volunteers who have successfully guided its operations for over 10 years, and who care passionately about its future - deeply enough to show up for this meeting on very short notice.
We all share the belief that ‘our’ member-directed OLLI has been uniquely suited to our particular Reno membership and therefore, uniquely successful among the majority of other OLLI’s that are far more expensive and have been university staff-directed from their beginnings.
I know that most of us can support an OLLI governance structure that acknowledges the university’s financial oversight authority and our need to adhere to institutional policies and procedures. One that relieves our VOLUNTEER leaders of any decision-making authority, however, is a different matter.
This second, pre-emptive and unilateral move on the part of the University -- the first being the appointment of Carol Parkhurst as Executive Director last year - also without any prior consultation, collaboration or input from the OLLI membership or its leaders -- demonstrates a profound lack of consideration and respect for us, and for the years of capable service to OLLI that have been contributed by hundreds of dedicated volunteers.
For me personally, the most salient issue is the astonishing dismissal of our Board’s accomplishments and successful stewardship of OLLI at UNR for well over 10 years. The absence of collegiality, collaborative decision making and transparency demonstrated by the University’s recent actions betrays a total lack of respect and consideration for our members and our Board of Directors, many of whom are UNR alumni and supporters.
Each of us must make our own decisions about these things. For me, being summarily relieved of our elected positions without warning, consultation or appreciation for our institutional knowledge, demonstrated competence and leadership abilities, is a bridge too far.
I remain hopeful for OLLI’s continuing success, and wish its new leader all the best. I hope you will all do the same. Change happens. I want only the best for OLLI as it moves into a new era with new leadership. Please join us on Tuesday.
I welcome your comments, questions and feedback - please feel free to contact me anytime at email@example.com.
Dr. Lynne E. Gray
President, OLLI at UNR
Document: UNR's Changes to OLLI Governance
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