Resolution 2020-5 Rejected Resolution

Motion to Censure the Board of Directors of Veterans For Peace

Whereas, the Board of Directors (Board) of Veterans For Peace (VFP) can only expel a member for misconduct as described in the Bylaws and the Board Policy & Procedures Manual, which also describes members' due process rights; and

Whereas, on March 25, 2020, Tarak Kauff was expelled from VFP for verbal altercations with several members of VFP; and

Whereas, Kauff admits his temper outbursts and in February 2019 began successful anger management therapy, which is ongoing; and

Whereas, Kauff was a highly respected VFP member who was appointed to the Board by President Leah Bolger in 2012; elected by the membership to a second term; led delegations to Okinawa, Palestine and South Korea; and served as editor of Peace in Our Times, a VFP publication; and

Whereas, the Board takes an oath to protect the integrity of VFP; and

Whereas, the Board damaged the integrity of VFP by refusing to afford Kauff his guaranteed due process rights by: denying him a list of charges and allegations against him and an opportunity to respond, failing to honor its August 2019 agreement to offer professional mediation, and continuing to allege misconduct on Kauff's part based on impact statements that Kauff has never been allowed to see; and

Whereas, the Board ignored Kauff's repeated offers to meet with and apologize to people who felt aggrieved by his conduct; and

Whereas, at the 2019 convention business meeting the Board acknowledged it did not follow VFP procedures in the Kauff matter;

Therefore Be It Resolved that the membership of VFP censures the Board of Directors for expelling Tarak Kauff without affording him due process as required by the Bylaws and the Board Policy & Procedures Manual.

 

Submitted by Mike Ferner (mike.ferner@sbcglobal.net 419-729-7273‬), Chapter 39 and former President of VFP, Barry Ladendorf (bdlvfp@gmail.com 619-997-2772), Chapter 91 and former President of VFP,‬ Leah Bolger (leahbolger@comcast.net 541-207-7761), Chapter 132 and former President of VFP, and Susan Schnall (susanschnall@gmail.com 917-620-0189), President of Chapter 34; and co-sponsored by the people listed at http://www.support4tk.weebly.com/ .

(emailed by Nate Goldshlag and Gene Marx


Board and Committee:

Resolutions Committee Recommendation:  Inappropriate and Blocked (as a resolution)
Board of Directors Recommendation:  Inappropriate and Blocked (as a resolution)

The Motion to Censure the Board will be addressed during the business meeting inaccordance with Robert’s Rules of Order.  For further information, please see page 6 of this document and the business meeting agenda.


 

 

*Please note that comments are open but due to the high nature of spam in the comments the comment is approved by a moderator.  All comments that are not spam will be posted.  All comments will be approved within 24 hours of submitting.

Comments:

Wow. The resolution of censure of the Board, submitted by 3 former VFP Presidents and the current Chapter 34 President and co-sponsored by 72 people, including 10 former Board members and 4 members of the VFP Advisory Board, will not be allowed to be voted on by the membership. It is deemed “inappropriate” to vote on censuring the Board. So the Board will not allow itself to be held accountable for its actions in denying Tarak Kauff due process in expelling him from VFP. This is undemocratic and Trumpian and would be laughable if it weren’t so sad for the organization.    See the list of co-sponsors at https://support4tk.weebly.com/   The form of this resolution totally matches the guidelines for resolutions. None of the submitters were notified of any problem with the resolution (as is the Board policy) before today. Why is this resolution said to be “inappropriate”? Does the Board view itself as immune from member criticism? What about it is “inappropriate”?   The Board has scheduled 20 minutes about this resolution at the business meeting, which is fine but no substitute for the resolution to be voted on by the entire membership in the fall, with a recorded debate at the business meeting.   This Board has been uncommunicative not only with the submitters of the resolution, but also with Tarak Kauff asking if he will be allowed to make a verbal appeal of his expulsion, and to me when I asked questions in a totally civil respectful manner and got threatened with Board action against me. I have yet to receive an apology for this, and this will be made public in the future. What is really inappropriate is a member being threatened by the Board for asking questions when no answers are given.   
Posted by Nate Goldshlag on
I see that the board is recommending that the membership agree that the censure resolution is inappropriate and that it be blocked from a vote.  Does that mean that the membersthip could vote to override the board's recommendation and vote on censure?  Or does the board intend to refuse to let their recommendation come to a vote?   If the board intends to not allow the resolution to come to a vote, why is debate being permitted?
Would the board please clarify?
Thank you,
Nick Mottern, Chapter 34
Posted by Nick Mottern on
In repsonse to the complaints from women, people of color, and LBGTQ members about bullying, white supremist, male chauvenist and sexist attitudes in VFP. including in some of the leadership, our organization went through a major change in leadership recently. A strong focus on improving civility in our internal relations was mandated.  Sadly our organization has not experienced growth for some time. Yet clearly in these truly indecent times in our nation and the world, the opportunity to build a much stronger peace and justice movement is apparent.  We ought to take advantage of that, and give the new leadership and new focus of the organization's internal dealings a chance to see if their new ideas can overcome our lack of growth and influence.  The resolution looks like an attempt by the old guard, which was not able to grow Veterans for Peace,to deny that opportunity to the new leadership. It should be resolutely turned rejected. Censuring the entire Board of Directors for a  vote they have taken is an unwarranted attack on the entire organization. If a given member of Veterans for Peace, including a member of the Board of Directors has behaved in a persistent, grevious desctructive manner, that person alone should be the subject of discipline.  
Posted by Andrew Berman on
While I can understand that Tarak was a valued and respected member, I cannot fathom how his alleged actions were considered so trivial by his supporters.  I do not believe it is acceptable to allow this kind of behavior in any organization.  I am also disappointed that there are those who not only discount the seriousness of the accusations, but are willing to be vindictive and hateful towards the board that had to (with regret, I am sure) take this action.  I have been vocal in my opinion, within my own chapter, as this case has opened my eyes to levels of dysfunction throughout the organization.  There has not only been expressed much disregard for my concerns, but as I see in practice, there is little accountability for many inappropriate behaviors. 
I can only hope that the "war" against this board, for holding a member accountable for their actions, does not continue to tear this organization apart.  Meanwhile, I am watching what goes on in my own chapter, now that I understand that respect for others seems to be applied inconsistently.  That is not a good foundation for team building.  This is exactly why it is difficult to retain new members.  
 
 
 
Posted by Stephanie Siegel on
To my knowledge, in their capacity as Board members, five members have verbally attacked, thratened and yelled at VFP members.
Posted by Denny Riley on
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