CUAA Executive Committee Meeting Minutes                           

October 3, 2019
Via Conference Call
6:30 pm – 8:45 pm

Committee members:  

Margaret Matz

Mary Lynch

Paul Nikulin

Donato Giacalone (as stand-in for Mark O’Grady)

Kelly Occhiuzzo Zack

Dan Burke

Cristina Ross

Carol Wolf

Kay Nordstrom

Cristina Ross

Anthony Maganiello (exoficio)

Kelly Smollar (exoficio)


Laura Spinner

Shankar Venkataraman

Bill Wolf

Dan Kloke

Abdul Shotnee

CUAA President, Margaret Matz AR’81 opened the meeting at 6:30 pm. This meeting was called to continue discussions from the 9/30/19 meeting on two topics:

  • Motion to prevent conflicts of interest on the committees for the 4 alumni awards given for professional accomplishment and outstanding public service
  • Discussion on budget process and process for seeking reimbursement for CUAA Expenses

There was a brief discussion about who is on the Exec. Committee and who can vote on the Exec. Committee.  Mary Lynch said that the Exec Committee included all the officers, Alumni Trustees, and the Chairs of the Annual Fund, Communications Committee, and Nominations Committee.  She was corrected by Paul Nikulin who said the Communications Committee Chair is not a voting member.  Margaret asked Mary to explain why she thought that the Communications chair was a voting a member.  Mary explained that past president Peter Cafiero invited the Communications Chair to Exec Com meetings beginning in 2010, and the Exec Com at that time, approved Peter’s motion to make the communications chair an Exe Officio member immediately and to include the Communications Committee chair as a full member when the CUAA constitution was updated.  The updating of the constitution was already in progress back then.  Over time the Constitution committee would decide to move many items from the constitution to the by-laws, and Mary believed the change was made to the by-laws around 2016 when the new Constitution was approved, but she was not involved with the by-law rewriting so she didn’t know for sure if that was done.  Paul said that he was reading from a copy of the by-laws labeled 2016 Draft and it is not included there.  It was agreed that change wasn’t yet completed.

Margaret asked Laura Spinner A’89 to provide an update on the activities of the Award Committee.  Laura mentioned that the Schedule for picking awards is shortened and the Nomination period is already begun.  Nomination deadline is November 3rd.  She then talked about her exploration into possible awards that would be a little less costly to fabricate.  She said that he has spoken to the current fabricator who would like to submit a proposal, as well as, a few other designers.  One of those is a member of the Art faculty who is partnering with a 2018 Art School alumnus.  That alumnus was on the call and introduced himself as Abdul Shotnee A’18.  Abdul started to make a pitch for his services and design ideas, but was asked to stop as the committee is not ready to hear design proposals yet. 

A short discussion followed as to whether there should be a call for proposals or whether it is more appropriate to limit the proposals to the handful of designers that Laura has already contacted to see if they have interest.  The committee decided to limit the proposals to the ones already familiar with our needs, and Laura was authorized to collect proposals and price quotes.  Laura said that she has spoken to all the award chairs and they all agreed to the existing award committee common protocols which include keeping the names of nominees and nominators confidential, picking only living alumni, and picking an alternate, in case the selected nominee cannot attend the awards ceremony in person.  They have also agreed to the shortened time schedule.  She then mentioned that she had received complaints regarding the fact that some alumni sit on both the award committee and the Exec Com Committee and some see this as a conflict of interest.  Some discussion ensued.  Some of the observations are that we simply do not have enough active alumni to make the committees mutually exclusive. Another observation was that award committees’ decision and the Exec Com decision are two different types of decisions.  The award decision is one where multiple candidates are compared for relative merit.  The Exec committee decision is usually an approval of the award Committee’s work, although at times it may include deliberations on whether to give an award posthumously to a candidate who is recently deceased.

Paul Nikulin made a motion that anyone who is on the Exec Committee and also on an Award Committee recuse themselves from an Exec Com Approval vote on the selected candidate(s) for the award committee(s) that they are on.  It was decided that those who would be affected by this decision recuse themselves from this vote also.  Carol Wolf seconded the motion.

The vote was as follows:

Margaret Matz                                  Yes

Paul Nikulin                                      Yes

Nils Foke Anderson                         Absent

Kelly Occhucio-Zack                       Abstain

Mark O’Grady (via D.Giacolone)   Yes

Mary Lynch                                       Abstain

Dan Burke                                         No

Cristina Ross                                    Abstain

Carol Wolf                                        Abstain

Kay Nordstrom                                Absent

The motion did not pass.  It will be brought up again when more committee members are in attendance.

Laura Spinner made a suggestion that the CUAA send out weekly email blasts saying that we are accepting nomination for the CUAA/Founder’s Day Awards.  She would like to see them sent every Wednesday during the month of October.  Mary Lynch suggested that the announcements not be exactly the same every week.  Could we possibly showcase one of the four awards each week.  Laura said she would be okay with that, but we would need someone to help with the graphics.  Carol Wolf said that she would help with finding people to help with graphics.

Anthony Maganiello, chair of communications committee, gave a brief overview of the work he has done trying to quantify the scope of tasks that belong to the communications committee and shared a mind-map type diagram of those functions electronically.  He said he will give a presentation on this at the Council meeting on October 10th.

Carol Wolf spoke about the Annual Giving committee.  She said that she met with Terri Coopersmith and Jennifer Durst about 2 weeks ago.  She said that the school is leaving the 5 Million Dollar matching fund appeal running through Giving Tuesday which is December 3rd.  She said the Alumni Office is also looking into getting the Square attachment for smartphones which would allow the school to take collection of donations via credit card at alumni events.

Cristina Ross introduced herself as the B.O.T. Trustee liaison to the CUAA.  She reminded all that Peter Katz A’76 will be finishing his trustee term at the end of the year.  She also said that Trustee Dwyer is finishing his term at the end of the year.  Dan Burke said that he is on the nominating committee and he knows that committee would like to have any qualifications that the B.O.T. is suggesting for the trustee nominees be formally sent to the nominations committee.  Cristina said she would relay that information.

Margaret Mentioned that Standish Lee AR’11 has resigned as chair of the Integrative (ad-hoc) committee.

Margaret introduced the discussion of the latest version of the 2020 budget.  She said that it includes some downward changes to the events budget and includes some funds for website development and computer resources for managing elections.

Carol Wolf asked where the 10 K estimate for developing a website came from.  Margaret said that it was based on her experience with past websites. 

Paul Nikulin said that he sent around an email explaining the 2019 budget.  That has already been approved by the school.  He feels that it would not be impossible to change the 2019 budget, but the changes would need to be small so that the total amount and the amounts in the various budget categories don’t change, and it would have to be taken up and approved by both the council and the school.

Paul Nikulin made a motion to consider a professional to design and maintain the website and the give the communications committee authorization to collect quotes.

Donato Giacalone seconded the motion.

Dan Burke asked to have discussion.  He said it may be premature to collect quotes from professionals.  He doesn’t know if we have adequately determined our website needs or if we have canvassed our alumni to if any of them would volunteer their services.

Paul Nikulin pulled his previous motion and made a new one.  He moved that we work within the monies that remain in the original $30 K existing 2019 budget and obtain quotes for website redesign, and that all spending on all CUAA projects (including events) be kept within the amounts in the existing budget categories.

Margaret Matz                                  Yes

Paul Nikulin                                      Yes

Nils Foke Anderson                         Absent

Kelly Occhuzzio-Zack                     Yes

Mark O’Grady (via D.Giacolone)   Yes

Mary Lynch                                       Yes

Dan Burke                                         Abstain

Cristina Ross                                    Yes

Carol Wolf                                         Abstain

Kay Nordstrom                                  Absent

The motion passed.

Margaret Matz moved to close the meeting.  Dan Burke seconded the motion.  The meeting was adjourned at 8:45 PM.

Recorded by:  Mary Lynch, CUAA Secretary