November 28, 2002

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Following critical statements, WYSO board considers a retreat

At a meeting last week, members of the WYSO Resource Board discussed using an upcoming retreat to improve communication among board members.

Ten Keep WYSO Local (KWL) supporters also attended the meeting Nov. 22 at the local public radio station’s performance studio on Livermore Street. Although two weeks ago, seven Resource Board members publicly chastised the group in a statement, KWL members maintained a conciliatory tone.

“You need to recognize that there’s a great deal of energy present,” Michael Jones told the Resource Board during the five meetings provided for public comment. “If you can get things realigned, you can make use of that energy.”

Discussing topics to be addressed at the board’s retreat in January, board members expressed their desire to communicate more effectively with each other.

“It’s clear we have different assumptions on this board about how we do business,” said board member Fay Ellis Jones.

Since at least last spring, when Station Manager Steve Spencer cut several long-running volunteer-hosted programs, conflict has surrounded WYSO.

šThe situation seemed to intensify two weeks ago, when seven members of the board issued a public statement that accused Keep WYSO Local of engaging in “brutal” tactics and called the group’s behavior “reprehensible.”

The statement called upon Antioch University officials to call KWL’s actions “what they really are — mean spirited, self-centered, manipulative and destructive in their assaults on individuals.”

The statement was signed by Resource Board president Randy Daniel and board members Chuck Vella, Ed Humphrys, Jeff Dundon, Joe Colvin, Alex Williams and Nancy Nash.

Not signing the statement were board members Fay Ellis Jones, Char Miller, Bonnie Parish, Dione Kennedy, Neil Meermans and Glenn Watts.

In response to the statement last week, Miller issued her own statement, saying the board members’ statement was written by a “self-selected group from the WYSO board who have tried desperately to disenfranchise those who have differing opinions as to the oversight role of the Resource Board and the competence of the station general manager, Steve Spencer.”

At Friday’s meeting, Daniel said the board members’ statement did not speak for the whole board and was not drafted at a meeting.

At its retreat, board members need “an exploration of the meaning of consensus,” said Ellis Jones, adding that “at Antioch, consensus is essential. It’s essential to decision-making. You don’t leave someone behind” because of a disagreement.

Board members also need to learn about the history of Antioch, since “the station and the college are not separate,” Ellis Jones said. “If we don’t understand the history, we can’t make good decisions. If we don’t understand the history, we can’t understand the current issues.”

Miller questioned the last-minute cancellation of the October board meeting, when the meeting was called off the day before its regularly scheduled time. Some board members and members of the public showed up anyway.

While she was told the meeting was canceled due to lack of a quorum, Miller said she had not been asked if she planned to attend.

Daniel said that he thought the board would not have a quorum. He also said that “things were a little tense, a little volatile at that time,” due to the resignation of WYSO News Director Aileen LeBlanc earlier in the week and the responding protests by Keep WYSO Local.

In the future, Daniel said he believed three days notice would be a minimum for canceled meetings.

—Diane Chiddister