In the mid 2000 aughts, I was a trustee of The Prosperos. After a few months, I resigned and automatically became a fellow (thus the title of this blog). A fellow is one who has a voice but no vote at trustee meetings.
Since trustee meetings are of general interest to The Prosperos student body, I thought I’d share my voice about the annual meeting we had online on Sunday, September 22, 2019.
It was a good meeting. Attended by the seven trustees (Rick Thomas, Sarkis Balayan, Heather Williams, Richard Hartnett, Anne Bollman, William Fennie, and HughJohn Malanaphy) and two fellows: myself and Janet Cornwell. Also present were the president of the High Watch Association, Pam Rodolph, and the president of the Mentor’s Association, Calvin Harris. And dean of the school, Al Haferkamp. As well as invited guest Zoë Robinson. And there may be one more person who I don’t remember.
I won’t go through the agenda item by item. If you are interested in that you can email Anne Bollman for a copy of the official trustee’s report.
First of all, the seven trustees were asked if they wanted to continue as trustees for next year. All seven answered in the affirmative. I asked if there were any openings on the board. I think it was Anne who answered that there is no limit to the membership as long as it is an odd number.
Then we went on to discuss the deanship question. Richard brought up my rotating deanship proposal which the High Watch membership considered and rejected. The vote in the High Watch was 10-4 against the idea of rotating the deanship amongst the three member of the Executive Council for a period of two years each. Richard said he agreed that it would be nice to run the school more in line with group dynamics.
My whole idea was that we are too leadership-centered, almost reverentially so. And that that’s not healthy for the school or the dean. Do we really need a dean? Why not just an Executive Council? The current Executive Council is made up of dean Al Haferkamp along with two people of his choosing: William Fennie and Heather Williams. Was this approved by the trustees? Who knows? These are the mysteries (because no one outside the trustees receives their reports).
Al agreed to remain dean for one more year with the possibility of leaving earlier if he needs to. There was no discussion of an alternative to Al. No one brought it up. I didn’t even think about it. Which just goes to show you that once the trustees elect a dean, he or she is dean for life, if not in law, than certainly in practice. Long live the Dean!
On to Assembly 2020: It was decided to hold the 2020 assembly in Denver, Colorado. That’s where most of the energy seemed to be. Richard Hartnett would work with John Atwater and others in Denver and others in the school to organize this event. The theme is “Global Awakening and How to Evolve Successfully with It.”
Let me predict: HughJohn will talk about dreams. Richard will talk about the tarot. Calvin will handle the entertainment. Greta Balayan will give a spontaneous speech about her most embarrassing moment. Other speakers will include Al Haferkamp, Heather Williams, William Fennie and possibly myself if I can be seduced into attending. Oh, and lots of break-out groups.
Then William brought up a plan for a newly revised Prosperos website. It would involve lots of volunteers helping out to respond to the numerous queries which are anticipated. I didn’t put much stock in it because William’s been giving us new plans for The Prosperos website for years and not much gets done.
William did mention one thing of interest to me: that Thane was concerned that the school would break up into cadres. Which I think is what has happened. In the case of the trustees, it’s a self-perpetuating cadre.
Final note: Heather did bring up the idea of addressing the great deanship crisis of 1997 and we will be having a special meeting on Sunday, November 17 at 9 am Pacific time via Zoom to discuss this.