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BRS Board and Society Meeting Minutes – 1994


July 7, 1994

(from the August 1994 Russell Society News - #83)

The Board of Directors met in a single session on Thursday, July 7, 1994 in the second floor Victoria Room of the Chestnut Park Hotel, 108 Chestnut Street, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The meeting was called to order at 5:30 p.m. by Chairman Marvin Kohl. Board members attending part or all of the session were Kenneth Blackwell, Dennis Darland, Linda Egendorf, Lee Eisler, Nicholas Griffin, Donald Jackanicz, John Lenz, Tim Madigan, Stephen Reinhardt, Michael Rockler, and Warren Allen Smith.

Chairman Kohl reported that he had received a 1994-95 Fulbright grant to pursue philosophical research in Hong Kong. Otherwise in his opening remarks, he emphasized the need to stimulate membership growth. President Michael Rockler, Vice President John Lenz, and Vice President/Information Lee Eisler had no reports. Secretary Donald Jackanicz was not called on to read the 1993 minutes. Treasurer Dennis Darland reported a $4,771.37 checking account balance and a $355.55 savings account balance. As of July 7, there were 206 individual or couple dues-paying members, 22 Benares Chapter members, 18 Philippine chapter members, and 10 honorary members. One year ago, there were 243 dues-paying members.

Donald Jackanicz nominated the current Society officers for reelection but with the following title change for one position: from Vice President/Information to Vice President Emeritus/Information. The unanimously reelected officers are Board Chairman, Marvin Kohl; President, Michael Rockler; Vice President, John Lenz; Vice President Emeritus/Information, Lee Eisler; Secretary, Donald Jackanicz; Treasurer, Dennis Darland.

Discussion turned to future annual meeting sites. Chairman Kohl expressed the view that effective meeting planning is best served by having meeting sites chosen two years in advance. President Rockler moved to hold (1) the 1995 annual meeting at the Columbia Inn in Columbia, Maryland on either Friday, June 16-Sunday, June 18 or Friday, June 23-Sunday, June 25 and (2) the 1996 annual meeting in Chicago sometime between June and October at a precise location to be determined through the work of Donald Jackanicz. This motion was unanimously accepted.

Chairman Kohl then asked Prof. Louis Greenspan of the Bertrand Russell Editorial Project (BREP), McMaster University to speak about the present BREP funding situation. Prof. Greenspan outlined the great economic difficulties faced in working toward the completion of the multi-volume series and asked the Society to consider helping in a fund-raising campaign. Among the points Prof. Greenspan explained was that the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada has offered to match contributions raised from outside sources, such as contributions received from or channeled through the Society.

In discussion, the Board agreed that the following measures are appropriate: (1) the newsletter will include a notice soliciting contributions for the BREP; (2) the Society membership list will be made available to the BREP so that McMaster University can send contribution solicitation letters to Society members; (3) it was agreed that a new solicitation letter would be prepared, evaluated by Kohl and, if ok, co-signed by Kohl and Thomas M. Daly, Development Officer, BREP, (4) the BREP is invited to provide further information to the Board about BREP funding needs; (5) with this additional information, the Board can decide on any other possible Society action.

Discussion then passed to the possibility of offering new honorary memberships to meritorious individuals in accordance with Bylaws provisions. Chairman Kohl appointed Warren Allen Smith to chair a committee to examine honorary membership issues, including proposing potential candidates. Donald Jackanicz volunteered to be on the committee. Chairman Kohl stated he would appoint a third committee member.

The final matter considered was how to increase membership. Chairman Kohl suggested reevaluating the Society’s advertising techniques, especially the periodicals in which advertisements are placed. President Rockler then announced that he had asked Donald Jackanicz to work with him on a program to stimulate membership growth. The meeting was adjourned at 7:25 p.m.

Donald W. Jackanicz, Secretary
Bertrand Russell Society


Saturday, July 8, 1994

Secretary Donald Jackanicz was asked to summarize the business considered by the Board of Directors on July 7. Dennis Darland was thanked for his willingness to become the new Russell Society News editor. Nicholas Griffin explained how he and his wife could produce Russell/BRS tee shirts for a fundraising program; various aspects of his proposal were discussed. John Lenz suggested sending a complete set of Russell Society News to the CODESH library. Donald Jackanicz will arrange for this. The meeting was adjourned at 4:52 p.m.

Donald W. Jackanicz, Secretary
The Bertrand Russell Society


Thursday July 7 - Sunday July 10, 1994

The 1994 Annual Meeting of The Bertrand Russell Society was held at the Chestnut Park Hotel, 108 Chestnut Street, Toronto, Ontario, Canada from Thursday, July 7 through Sunday, July 10. The meeting was held in conjunction with meetings of The Council for Democratic and Secular Humanism (CODESH) and The Humanist Association of Canada (HAC).

Thursday, July 7

The Board of Directors met in a single session in the second floor Victoria Room from 5:30 to 7:25 p.m. (See the “BRS 1994 Board of Directors Meeting Minutes” above.) A welcoming reception for attendees from the three organizations was held from 7:30 to 11:00 p.m. in the twenty-fifth floor Tokyo/Hong Kong/Singapore Rooms.

Friday, July 8

The three organizations held a plenary session in the lower level Mandarin B Room from 9 a.m. to 12 noon. Titled “The Positive Reach of Humanism,” the session featured these speakers: Thomas Flynn, Senior Editor, Free Inquiry; Paul Kurtz, Editor, Free Inquiry; Peter Smith, President, Humanist Association of Canada; Michael Rockler, President, Bertrand Russell Society; Jane Wynne Willson, Co-President, International Humanist Ethical Union; Jack Massen, Treasurer, The Atheist Alliance.

From 12 Noon to 2 p.m., a luncheon session was held in the lower level Mandarin A Room. Kenneth Blackwell, Archivist of the Bertrand Russell Archives, introduced Nicholas Griffin, Professor of Philosophy at McMaster University, who spoke on “Bertrand Russell as a Critic of Religion.”

Four concurrent sessions were held from 2 to 5 p.m. Of these, CODESH and HAC sponsored sessions titled “Humanism and Ethics/Humanism and Postmodernism,” “Dealing with the Religious Right – A Workshop,” and “Humanism and Spirituality.”

The BRS’s session was held in the second floor Vancouver Room. Vice President John Lenz introduced the four speakers: John Shosky, Professor of Philosophy at The American University, “Propositions Without Proof’; Jason Holt, “On Russell’s Construction of Mind”; Todd Hughes, Russell and Pitcher on Propositions”; Marvin Kohl Professor of Philosophy at the State University of New York at Fredonia, “Russell and the Good Life – A Workshop.” Mr. Holt and Mr. Hughes were the winners of the 1994 Society Essay Contest.

Saturday, July 9

A second plenary session was held from 9 a.m. to 12 Noon in the lower level Mandarin B Room. The session, titled “What Is the Good Life? A Humanist Perspective,” featured these speakers: Timothy J. Madigan, Executive Editor, Free Inquiry; Albert Lyngzeidetson, Professor of Philosophy at Florida Atlantic University; Nicholas Griffin; Philip Jones, President CSHAFT; Gordon Stein, Editor, The American Rationalist; Norm Allen Executive Director, African Americans for Humanism.

The luncheon session, meeting from 12 Noon to 2 p.m. in the lower level Mandarin A Room, was titled “International Humanism in the 21st Century,” and featured these speakers: Paul Kurtz; Rob Tielman, Co-President, International Humanist Ethical Union; Levi Fragell, Editor, [Norwegian] Humanist.

Three concurrent sessions were held from 2 to 5 p.m. Of these, CODESH and HAC sponsored sessions titled “Nonreligious Ceremonies: A Discussion” and “Humanism Online: Promoting Freethought through Computers.”

The BRS’ s session was held in the second floor Victoria Room and was titled “John Dewey vs. Bertrand Russell on Religious Belief.” Timothy J. Madigan introduced the two speakers, BRS President Michael Rockler and John Novak, Professor of Education at Brock University, who respectively defended Russell’s and Dewey’s points of view.

At 4:15 p.m., immediately following the end of the Dewey-Russell session, the Society Business Meeting was convened, with President Michael Rockler in the chair. (See “BRS 1994 Members Meeting Minutes” above.) The meeting was adjourned at 4:52 p.m.

From 6 to 7 p.m. the Red Hackle Hour was held in the lobby adjoining lower level Mandarin A and B Rooms. Attendees from the three organizations participated. Afterwards, a banquet was held in the combined Mandarin A and B Rooms. HAC President Peter Smith was master of ceremonies. He introduced BRS President Michael Rockler, who spoke briefly to thank all those who had cooperated to make this joint meeting successful.

President Rockler then introduced Donald Jackanicz, who announced the winner of the 1994 Bertrand Russell Society Book Award: Caroline Moorehead for Bertrand Russell: A Life. (As Ms. Moorehead could not be present, her award plaque is being shipped to her.) The audience was then entertained for some twenty minutes by magician/humanist Henry Gordon. Lastly, HAC President Peter Smith presented his organization’s annual award to Dr. Robert Buckman, an oncologist, Canadian television personality, and Professor of Medicine at the University of Toronto, who delivered an amusing talk titled “Twice Around the World and Still Stupid.” The banquet concluded at 10:00 p.m.

Sunday, July 10

Three optional concurrent excursions were offered to attendees: . (1) sponsored by HAC, from 9:25 a.m. to 4:45 p.m., a bus trip to Kleinburg, Ontario to view the McMichael Art Collection; (2) sponsored by CODESH, from 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., a bus trip to Niagara Falls and Buffalo, New York to visit CODESH headquarters; (3) sponsored by McMaster University and the BRS, from 1 to 5 p.m., a visit to the Bertrand Russell Archives in Hamilton, Ontario.

Donald W. Jackanicz, Secretary
The Bertrand Russell Society