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Re: BoD Shenanigans: The Modest Proposal

>Greeting to all from Tirloch of Tallaght.

And greetings likewise from Karen Larsdatter af den Usigeligefternavnen
fra Skyggedal, Young Fart At Large.

>I write this note to you to ask that all SCAdians write to the
>Board of Directors (BoD) to ask them why they are promulgating a new and
>radical change to part of the Society's operations without consulting the
>As I recall, we had a turbulent AS XXVIII and AS XXIX (1994) with the BoD
>making changes that affected the way we play. Through efforts of many people
>from many kingdoms, the BoD underwent a metamorphosis that was supposed to
>be more responsive to the membership and we saw the formation of the
>Grand Council and other representative organizations to make the Society a
>better place for all.

And as many of you may recall from postings I have made on the Rialto, I
have been strongly in favor of Board reform toward responsiveness, ever
since the Great Board Flak a year ago this month.  Last year, I was
seneschale of a small College chapter in Caid, *the* oldest College
chapter in that Kingdom, which has survived for many without
the support of a local "grown-up" chapter or any faculty or staff
advisor.  My feelings were that the Board decision to enforce membership
would effectively kill that College as well as several other kinds of
chapters.  My feeling on the Nonmember Tax is that it *is* a bitter pill
to swallow, all the more bitter for a small chapter such as a College.
And now that I am working out here at George Mason University to start
a College chapter here, my feelings are still unchanged.  The surcharge
was to be a temporary measure ... but I digress.  *That* was not the
point of this post.  My point in this paragraph -- I ain't a big
afficionada of the Gerontocracy.

>Over the past few years, there has been a lot of discussion within the
>Society's College of Arms (heraldic college of the SCA) and many kingdom's
>College of Heralds about a newer (perhaps) way of checking anyone's
>device or badge for conflicts with devices/badges that humanity has already
>used. Over the last twenty plus years, our research in the Society has
>found many primary and secondary sources to assist people in developing
>their devices and badges that are unique to them.
>This process is time-intensive. Some kingdoms process new devices/badges
>within a 7 onth window and other kingdoms may take a longer time.
>The CoA (College of Arms) has submitted to the BoD a proposal that is known
>to many people as the "Modest Proposal" where the source material used for
>checking a submitter's device/badge is severely reduced in the hopes
>that a faster turnaround will happen with heraldic submissions within
>the Society.

What are the details of this Proposal?  I have no device, nor do I have any
part of my name registered.  One of the goals of the College of (*) for this
semester is to come up with a name and a device for the chapter.  Would
it not be a Good Thing if this process could happen, say, sometime within
a year of submission?

>WHAT I FIND REPUGNANT with the process NOW is that the BoD is going to act
>upon making the Modest Proposal a reality WITHOUT CONSULTING THE MEMBERSHIP.

I am sure the Gerontocrats do many things without consulting us mere
mortals.  There *are* some things that the Board should check with the
paying membership (and yes, gentle cousins, I'm have a Sustaining Membership
that expires in May 1996) before making many of the choices which might
change the direction of our Society.  Remember, milord Tirloch, you and I
did *not* elect these people.  But they are our Gerontocrats, and we
merelings trust them to represent us and the way we each want the Society's
future to turn out.

Listen:  If they had to wait for an election by the paid membership on
*every* decision they make -- even for what might turn out to be a
time-saving measure for heraldic submissions -- wouldn't that glut up the
works just a tad?

Perhaps a solution for such elections might be a tear-out card in
TOURNAMENTS ILLUMINATED with the matters for member elections printed
thereon, along with appropriate check-off boxes and so forth?  Such tear-out
cards would be of minimal expense to the SCA (costing each voter what,
twenty cents to vote?) and would take some of the accountability off the
shoulders of the Gerontocrats.  However, I do not feel that this is an issue
which would merit such consultation with the membership.  Please, Tirloch,
what does this "Modest Proposal" involve?

>I am also worried about the legal issues of heraldic display. The laws of
>the USA are vastly different from countries with heraldic law. I know of
>one attorney, who specializes in patent law, who wrote a letter to the BoD
>as well as the Laurel Sovereign King of Arms, with legal concerns about
>protecting the SCAdian who displays their registered arms/badges.
>In closing, I would ask that we, the membership, write the BoD to ask why
>this Modest Proposal is being done secretly without membership discussion.
>There are far reaching implications that we all must evaluate under open
>and rational discussion.

Has the Gerontocracy not always been thus?  I was under the impression that
they have acted in a ... I think the word I'm looking for is "paternalistic"
but I'm not sure ... anyway, they've acted in this manner for a long time.
It is not so much that things are being done "secretly" and that this
single action has "far reaching implications" -- this is what the Board
was set up to do, was it not?  You must pardon me, Tirloch; I am a Young
Fart and have only been in the Society for just under three years now.
I do not remember a time *before* the Board.  But from what I understand,
this is what they do.

Would someone be so kind as to correct me?  I would so hate to have the
wrong impression of The Way Things Work.  But from what I understand,
the Board must make such decisions from time to time; but I *believe*
that they must open up some of the decisions to an election by the
general membership of the Society for Creative Anachronism.

Yours in Service to the Dream,

Karen Larsdatter af den Usigeligefternavnen fra Skyggedal
Seneschale Emerita of the College of Boethius
Seneschale/Arts & Sciences Officer of the Embryonic College of (*)


   "That's the kind of place this is.  The chickens dance, the pigs sings,
   and the rat goes out and gets me food."