Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Minutes of the School Council Meeting - 9th December 1996

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The Minutes of this meeting make it clear that the School Council intends to change the Constitution in line with the changes that have already taken place within the school. As desirable as such changes to the Constitution might be, the question arises as to why this matter is being raised in a Council Meeting? Only the Board of Trustees can make changes to the Constitution. The Board of Trustees at this point in time, if we are to believe the documentation available at the time, are in fact many of the same people that are listed as being present at this Council meeting. It would therefore be simple to take the recommended changes to the Constitution as voiced by the School Council, to a meeting of the Board of Trustees, so as to exclude those who have no voice in the passing of a new Constitution (Christine Perkins and Colin Seadon for instance). 

Under point 4 of the Minutes, titled 'Ownership of the School' it is stated "The newly appointed Trustees are...", and goes on to list them.. Neither Rev. Reuben Makoi, or the Archbishop of Sudan (or Egypt) are listed as Trustees. These 'newly appointed' Trustees were supposedly appointed in June 1995, so therefore were not newly appointed and had already previously been declared and 'approved' at the School Council meeting of 14th September 1995. The question arises over why these 'new Trustees' had once more been declared as 'newly appointed' to the School Council and why so, a year and a half after their supposed appointment?

It is interesting to note that at this time: December 1996, efforts were still going on to try to establish the ownership of the school by the Episcopal Church. These efforts had begun as far back as 1989 (and possibly much earlier) and were detailed in the  document 'Revision of the Constitution Progress Log' of July 1989. It had already been very clearly established that the church had never at any time been the owners of Unity High School. This can be seen here. However, another search certificate was requested. Concerted efforts had been made over a lengthy period of time and were by the end of 1996, still going on to find some way of establishing that the Episcopal Church were the owners of the school.

Discussion at the meeting also ranged across the lack of representation within the Trustees of the Armenian Community. There was clearly confusion over the nature and roles of the two governing bodies of the school by this time (The Board of Trustees and The School Council), perhaps due to the interchangeability of the membership. There is no need for, or desirability for the Trustees to reflect any particular community. It has always been within the School Council that the various interests of the communities have and should continue to be reflected, as this is the body most closely concerned with the day to day running of the school - something which the Board of Trustees have never been involved in.

From the notes of the Principal Dr. Marina Hitchen: "A draft Constitution was written under which all articles relating to Trustees were changed to Council, with the exception of the land and property and financial assets still remaining with the Trustees. The Council now ratified the Principal. The five members that were to have been chosen by the Chairman with approval were now changed to being chosen by the Chairman alone. It was also added that the Principal must be a Christian. As the Council and Trustees are now the same body (as they are ignoring the other two members (Ed. Note: Rev. Reuben Makoi and the Archbishop of Sudan)) there need be no ratification by the Trustees."

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