Vote on La Sierra University Bylaws changes postponed; Constituency Delegates share feedback on proposals

For immediate Release
March 5, 2013
La Sierra University
Larry Becker
Executive Director, University Relations
lbecker@lasierra.edu
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La Sierra University constituency delegates discussed a number of proposed changes to the university Bylaws during an informational meeting held in Westlake Village, CA, February 21.

The February 21 meeting had been planned as the time for a constituency vote on the Bylaws proposals. However, during a February 14 meeting, the university’s Board of Trustees became concerned that conflicting information in two sections of current university bylaws would not allow for holding a constituency meeting off–campus.

Bylaws section 5.4 defines requirements for regular constituent membership meetings, and includes language specifying “constituent membership meetings shall be held on the campus of the University . . . .” Bylaws section 5.8 on special constituency meetings outlines specific requirements for special meetings, but does not include any mention of a required location.

University legal counsel gave further study to the issue during the weekend following the board meeting. On February 19, after hearing the legal counsel’s report, Board Chair Ricardo Graham, Vice Chair Judy St. John, Bylaws Committee Chair Meredith Jobe, and the university officers concluded that the meeting in Westlake Village would not fulfill the Bylaws location requirement.

The university scheduled this special meeting in Westlake Village to accommodate church leadership and those who would be attending the previously scheduled Pacific Union Executive Committee meetings. This was, however, an inadvertent mistake. After briefly considering the possibility of canceling the meeting, the decision was made to hold the meeting as scheduled, but only as an informational session and an opportunity to obtain feedback and respond to constituents’ concerns.

The 72 delegates attending the meeting examined the proposed changes, asked probing questions, and shared suggestions about a number of items in the proposed Bylaws document. Members of the Articles and Bylaws Committee attended the February 21 meeting to hear the constituents’ comments. They will meet to consider the feedback, and adjust the proposed changes where advisable.

La Sierra University’s Articles and Bylaws Committee and the Board of Trustees have carefully reviewed the bylaws for more than a year. This review began in response to concerns expressed about certain aspects of university governance by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC), La Sierra’s regional accrediting body.  WASC has been concerned about governance issues at the university since 1996, and recently gave the university a two-year period in which to address them.

Delegates will reconvene to vote on the proposals at a special constituency meeting on the La Sierra University campus on May 23, 2013, at 1 pm. The meeting coincides with the regularly scheduled meeting of the university’s Board of Trustees. A WASC team will visit the campus in fall 2013 to evaluate the changes. WASC’s Senior Commission is scheduled to act on the visiting team’s report at its February 2014 meeting.

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