The American Mensa Committee (AMC) met for our final quarterly meeting of the year on March 2, 2019 in Iselin, NJ. Because this was the annual budget approval meeting, there was much to discuss, and the meeting lasted longer than anticipated.
AMC Treasurer Deb Stone provided her report in preparation for the budget motions, first to waive the requirement for equity restoration for the fiscal year 2019-2020, and second to approve the 2019-2020 budget. Both of these motions passed after much discussion. Because the budget also required changes to an existing ASIE (Actions Still In Effect), the AMC voted to reduce the charge for review of Prior Evidence from $60.00 to $40.00. It is expected that this reduction will lead to an increase in the number of prospects who will submit prior evidence to join.
Also included in the budget is a new program to allow for electronic admission testing, targeted to launch at the end of the year. One of the most difficult barriers to testing is matching the schedules of the proctors, the prospects, and the testing locations (not to mention finding testing locations), and this will allow prospects to test at times that are more convenient for them. These are not home tests, but will be available at testing centers that are already set up to offer electronic testing, ensuring that the validity and security of the test results will be maintained. With this opening, we hope we have the potential for a fresh influx of new members beginning next year. PLEASE NOTE that these are supplemental testing opportunities, and will not replace our own testing program and proctors, who for many of our members are the first contact they have with Mensa. The personal touch is still valuable, and I encourage each of our local groups to continue to have testing sessions for new members.
Along with the other motion from the agenda to update the Annual Gathering Chair responsibilities (which passed), there was a new motion added to update the responsibilities of the members of the AMC (including RVCs). These should be posted to the national website once the minutes of the meeting have been approved.
The AMC then went into Executive Session to undertake the most difficult task we have as a board, which was to review the recommendation of the Hearing Committee to expel a member. Details of discussions in Executive Session are confidential and cannot be disclosed. It is fortunate that this is rarely necessary, as this was only the eighth expulsion since 2000. But sometimes these actions are unavoidable for the safety and reputation of the organization and its members.
I received some sad news very recently. Northwest Florida officer Robert (Bob) Ulrich passed away on March 7. As Membership Officer, he was one of the first members I met outside of my own local group when I attended the Valentime Regional Gathering in Destin, FL in 2006. He has been serving in several officer positions since 2004, including most recently as their Assistant LocSec. He was a great ambassador for Mensa, and a good conversationalist. He will be missed.
Until next month (or until I see you online),
Thomas George Thomas