November 3, 2015
Dear Art Students League Member,
We stand by what we have said in our letter to the membership. This Board has not responded to the many concerns we have raised. They have merely stated, in the President's message, included in the ballot package, that the members should re-elect the incumbent Board. This violates By-law No. 28 which prohibits campaign messages funded by League money.
And now, the Board has chosen to rely on a surrogate, a member who is beholden to the Board for his position as an instructor, to respond by attacking the opponent's character and presentation, rather than refuting the essential facts that we have asserted.
Mr Gheno claims that in 10 years, he has never spoken to the President of the Board and cursorily has spoken only to two other Board members, spent little time in the office, and is not privy to many of, as he terms it, "alleged" controversies. Yet, he freely calls the results of our two years of careful research "innuendos" and "wild speculation". He has also not attended the meetings such as the one where members were confronted with the proposed changes to the Constitution which cannot be altered or voted on individually, and where members were not permitted to even speak to raise concerns. Is this democracy?
As to the move towards accreditation, there is sufficient evidence to inquire about the Board's intentions. Why have they started excluding part-time students? Is there a move away from the studio art atelier format to a degree or certificate granting institution? See the League's website describing the Certificate Program.
The Board doesn't need to tell Mr. Gheno anything about accreditation and they won't. Last year the Barbieri Board went corporate head-hunting to choose three new Board members with all the skills needed to completely change the League into something vastly different than its intended mission. Has the Board bragged to the members about the special skills these three new Board members have? The three were put on the Board in December, shortly after they became members.
For a man who professes not to speak to Board members, and is barely involved in the day to day administration of the League, Mr Gheno seems to assume a lot. He states that the construction will take five years and then the renovation of certain areas of our building will take place. What he does not mention, is that the construction next door to the League poses a threat to our building and personal safety. Recently, a Full Stop Work Order was issued by the Department of Buildings against the developer for operating in a dangerous and unsafe manner, when a steel plate fell 30 feet and landed between the construction site and our building.
Meanwhile, no attention is being given to the dust, noise, and falling debris afflicting students and instructors in the basement studios. We need experts to assess and report on these issues and on the recent cracks to the foundation.
Mr. Gheno's insistence that the Board is properly informing members of the proposed Constitutional changes is plain wrong. The Board mailed out a notice to members asking them to request copies of the changes, but can't simply send out a 7-page letter containing the changes? It should be noted that the Board postponed the vote because of a major push-back from members. It seems that Mr. Gheno's idea of democracy is rather one-sided. He misses the point entirely. The ASL 2025 opposition to the current Board is running because there is currently no democracy.
And yes, Mr. Gheno, our purpose was to arouse opposition to a Board that lacks transparency, fails to abide by the By-laws and Constitution, and attempts to ram through its own agenda without meaningful input from the members of the League, who ultimately are the persons who should be deciding the League's future.
ASL 2025 - Reform Team