Saturday, February 12, 2011

Trouble at Morningside - Five

Some private emails have made it clear to me that I need to make very explicit two things that I thought I had said clearly.

When I brought up the matter of last spring's censure  of a board member, it was for the purpose of stating that I think that censure can be enough of a rebuke for actions the board deems improper. Once the person has been censured, that's the end of it. The censure does not alter the person's eligibility to fill any corporate office.  In that instance, I thought that from the beginning.  Only after the fact did I conclude that I should have applied that principle instead of voting to impose sanctions on three board members.

Second, while I have found what I am calling the Maimonides standard (don't say or do anything to cause hurt to another person) to be a useful guide for my judging my own conduct,  I never said that it is binding on anyone else, nor do I judge anyone's conduct by that standard.

I need to amplify that last statement a bit.  In a blog post, I used the word "conspiracy" and referred to "the devil."  "Conspiracy" was an unfortunate choice of words to describe the agreement to keep the motions to sanction the three a secret from the rest of the board until they were introduced at the September 14th board meeting.  I am sorry now that I consented to the secrecy agreement, but at the time there seemed to us all (including me) to be sound strategic reasons for doing it that way.  I apologize for calling my fellow board members co-conspirators, just as I apologize to the other five board members for my part in springing the motions on them at the meeting.

A second thing that needs clarification is my use of the term "the devil."  As I said in part three of this series, when otherwise good people act to cause harm to other people, I find it useful to attribute that to a malign influence.  I say that not to let people off the hook for their own actions, but to try to counter the all too human tendency to demonize other people. I do not mean to suggest that any individual is possessed by "the devil."

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