Interdisciplinary Symmetry
Ted Goranson

The following is tesimony submitted to the Hungarian court system July 2002.

A Complete History of the Secession

The Sydney General Asembly

To Whom It May Concern:

Statement of Harold Theodore Goranson on the General Assembly and elections of the International Society for the Interdisciplinary Study of Symmetry at the Sydney Congress.

1. My name is Harold Theodore Goranson, a citizen of the United States, born 3 April, 1947 at Annapolis Maryland. I reside at 1976 Munden Point Road, Virginia Beach Virginia, USA, 23457-1227 and have done so for 25 years.

2. I am a founding member of the Society.

3. I am one of a very small number of persons (about five) who has attended all of the Society's Congresses.

4. I have published papers in the Society's print and web journals, and provided editorial help on both.

5. I served on the Society's Board from its initiation leading up to the Sydney Congress, and also serve on the current Board. This current Board is sometimes colloquially called the "Executive Board," sometimes the "Governing Board." This Board is chartered in the Society's Articles to represent the Membership between Congresses and to conduct the Society's business. The Secretary and President conduct business under the control of the Board.

6. I attended the Sydney Congress and participated in the planning and execution of the General Assembly as did all attending Board Members. This is my statement of facts concerning that General Assembly.

7. The Sydney Congress was located in time and space by an open vote of the membership in the General Assembly during the prior Congress (in Haifa).

8. That process was questioned by no one at the time. Officers and the Board duly planned and conducted the Congress. The Congress was attended by 70 persons, which makes it not the smallest Congress by far. It was attended by more serving Board members than any other Congress. And it was widely considered among the better Congresses. Most repeat attendees reported it was the best. As a prominent organizer, I would have heard any substantive complaint. I heard none.

9. As the Articles of the Society require, a General Assembly was held and new Officers and Board members unanimously elected.

10. In designing and conducting the election, the Board met frequently (usually by email) and adhered to the following guiding principles in descending order:

• Strict adherence to the Articles of the Society where they specified procedures. In matters where the Articles are not specific:

• Adherence to previous practice (there has never been a complaint from anyone, member or otherwise about prior General Assemblies).

• Because the then Secretary raised some issues in the few months before the General Assembly, the following guidance was applied where lacking precedent and guidance from the Articles:

• Commonly understood best practices of openness and fairness in democratic elections.

11. Some months before the election, the then Secretary expressed concern that the Congress would be poorly attended, and possibly not representative. The organizers knew that this would not be the case: substantially more attendees and Board Members were expected than at a prior Congress (at Hiroshima) and there was no complaint or remark about quorums or representation at that General Assembly. It did prove to be the case that the Sydney meeting was substantially better attended (17 countries represented) than Hiroshima. Nonetheless, the Board planned to address the then Secretary's concerns by conducting a parallel mail/email vote among members who could not attend. This proposal was mature, in advanced planning and funded by donated funds but was canceled because of objections by the then Secretary. So the Board decided to proceed according to the Articles and uncontested prior practice, but with scrupulous attention to democratic processes.

12. Leading up to the Congress, some Board members became inactive: Loeb resigned. Petoukhov was not heard from at all except for one late message noted below (see #23). Bruhn was generally silent after clearly stating that she agreed with the majority. Five Board members (Ashburn, Jablan, Nagy, Rebielak, and myself) attended and always agreed on votes. Guerri was in frequent communication and was in full agreement with the process. Gould often disagreed with the majority on other matters, but on the matter of the General Assembly and the vote process noted below, he was in agreement. Darvas participated in no votes in the weeks before the Congress and except as noted below, had no communication about the process. So the Board was in unanimous agreement on the process as it was conducted and described below.

13. The Board's intent leading up to the day before the Congress was to proceed as always: make some nominations, accept others and hold the election. The General Assembly was planned for the fourth full day of the Congress.

14. Two days before the Congress started, we were sent via email a large (15 page) document from the then Secretary with a request to put a copy in everyone's Congress bag. It was labeled as a financial report, but was unable to be opened by anyone in Sydney. The next day, Gould sent the same document in another format that was readily openable. It proved to be a combination of a financial report (the last page and half) and a personal attack on the President of the Society. The Attending Board met. We interpreted this document as a campaign statement against re-electing Nagy. As a campaign statement, we determined that it did need to be made available to everyone, but it was too late to include in the individual packs. (This would have been the case even if the original version had been openable.) What we did was make it available at the registration desk and made an announcement late in the first Plenary (to ensure that latecomers would hear it) that such a document existed and should be reviewed by interested potential voters. I sent a message of this plan to Gould and received back a warm thanks. I believe Liz Ashburn, the organizer, sent a similar message to Darvas. However, our desk monitor reported that few people reviewed the document, so we then posted it on a board next to the desk. The manner of posting was all pages next to each other at eye level with a big sign: "read this." Another Plenary announcement was made.

15. On the first full day of the Congress, without warning we received by email a nomination of a complete slate from Gould, names for every officer and Board position. I emailed Gould immediately. Competing slates were an idea that had been floated during the discussion of the mail/email vote but had been vetoed by the then Secretary. I reminded Gould of this and asked if his nominations could be considered in the normal manner. He recalled that the parallel slate notion had been killed and warmly accepted the notion of his nominations being considered in the normal way. That is, his nominations were to be considered in the same way as nominations by others.

16. Gould's nominations were Darvas as President, Jablan as Secretary, Petoukhov as Chair of the Technical Advisory Board, and ten nominations for Board positions, listed by initial and last name. For instance: K. Matsuno. Only two of the names for Board positions were known to me: Koichiro Matsuno and Pedro Marijuan, both of whom I have had professional dealings with. I messaged them asking if they agreed to serve. Matsuno agreed. Marijuan withdrew his name. (He later rescinded the withdrawal but that was after the election.) Jablin was in attendance at the Congress. He had not agreed to have his name in nomination. The standing Board felt this was a nomination they would like to endorse personally, so convinced him to accept. A key problem was solving how to handle Society moneys since he is based in a country (Yugoslavia) with some banking problems. This solved, Jablan accepted the nomination.

17. Only hours before the election, I (and presumably others, though no one else to my knowledge was monitoring email) received a message from Darvas accepting the nomination for President and clearly stating he was resigning as Secretary and would not accept the nomination for that office.

18. The General Assembly was held as scheduled. 36 persons attended. There was some discussion about who was eligible to vote. In this one respect, this General Assembly differed from others. In past Congresses, the registration fee was lower if someone became a member on registration. So for those Congresses, essentially every attendee was a member, usually a new member. This Congress was different. Because there are outstanding controversies on the delivery of the Journal, controversies about past Journal issues still owed members, and controversies about the content of the recently delivered but unauthorized issues, we decided not to tie attendance to membership fees. The then Secretary had steadfastly refused to send the Congress organizers a list of members. We were concerned that only official members vote. The standing Board met (plus the remote Guerri) and decided that since some outstanding membership services (the Journal) had not been delivered, then members who paid for that service were still members in full. We announced at the beginning of the General Assembly that we wanted to be more democratically formal than in the past and that only members who were SURE they were paying members were enfranchised. This effectively meant that only persons who attended the last Congress and were present at this one were enfranchised. A remarkably large number (15) met that criterion. I remind the reader that the less formal procedure had never been questioned, but we felt the higher standard was apt.

19. The Board considered how the names should be listed, and if anything should be said on behalf of absentees. We did have the nominations from Gould only as a letter for the first name. However, most of the names were not current Society members and had apparently attended no Congress, so their first names were unknown to us. We considered having ALL nominees listed this way in the name of fairness. But the Congress was so intimate and collaborative, the attendees (especially non-English speakers) all were more familiar with first names of colleagues than last names. So we decided to list first names where we knew them and just initials where we did not.

20. We also had a problem with describing candidates. We wanted to be scrupulously fair in how nominations were presented. If we allowed candidates that were present to say a few words, that would disadvantage an absent candidate. If we allowed nominators who were present to say a few works about their nomination, it might disadvantage an absent nominator (Gould). Our solution was rather carefully just. We decided to say nothing about any candidate. The listing (projected on an overhead) showed the nominations and the number of Board endorsements each one had. Some nominations from Gould had many endorsements, some had only his. (A rule was that a candidate could not endorse him/herself.) We felt this was a rather extreme procedure to ensure fairness in the process.

21. The actual election process was also scrupulously fair. Liz Ashburn chaired the meeting. She was the Convener of the Congress. As she was a retiring Board member, there was seen no conflict of interest. An independent Member was selected to do the actual counting and report the results. Doug Dunham volunteered to provide this service. Doug is a long time member who has attended several Congresses. There were two candidates for President. Nagy was elected unanimously. There was only one candidate for Secretary, Jablin. He had been nominated by the resigning secretary and endorsed by all in contact. He was elected unanimously. Concerning the election of the Board, there was a motion from the floor from William Huff. Huff is also a founding member and with myself is one of the few to attend all Congresses. He proposed a vote on the ten candidates that had the most endorsements. After seconding, this carried unanimously. Prof. Ogawa was unanimously elected Chair of the Technical Advisory Board. There was also some discussion and a vote on the next location: Brussels.

22. It is worth noting that neither Dunham or Huff are much aware of or interested in any personality conflict between past officers, and are dedicated members of the Society.

23. After the vote, I got a message from Petoukhov endorsing Gould's nominations.

24. Many of the events reported herein are documented since they transpired by email. I will be happy to submit them to any appropriate legal authority.

25. I strongly believe and so represent: the General Assembly was held in good order, according to the Articles of the Society, and extreme scrupulousness to the principles of fairness. The former Secretary resigned in writing. A new Secretary has been elected by the membership.

I attest that the above is true in every respect, and fully expect that everyone else involved will recall events the same way.

Harold Theodore Goranson

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