Friday, March 12, 2010

Announcement of Special Assembly March 21

Citizens of Shimer College,

A special unscheduled meeting of the Assembly will take place on Sunday, March 21, starting at 4 pm central time, in the Cinderella Lounge. The Agenda Committee is convening the Assembly to comply with the Carroll-Badger-Shiner motion passed by the Assembly at the special meeting of February 28, which reads as follows:

The Assembly will endeavor to provide a mission statement enjoying broad support from the community, including the board, staff, faculty, students and alumni of Shimer College by March 21, 2010.

The agenda will include motions for electing a new mission statement and will be disseminated on Tuesday, March 16. Those who are writing mission statement proposals are asked to submit them by noon on that date (to ) so that the community has time to study the proposals before meeting. However, in recognition of the short amount of time since the motion, Dean’s Break, this notice, and the upcoming meeting, statement revisions and additional proposals will be accepted by the Committee until Friday, March 19, 9 pm cst. Updated editions of the Agenda will be sent between Tuesday and Saturday if need be.

As at the February 7th meeting of the Assembly, there will be discussion of Shimer’s mission and of the mission statement proposals before the election begins, but amending, including friendly amending, of the text of the various statements will again be out of order. The Committee believes that last-minute wordsmithing during the meeting would take up a completely prohibitive amount of time, and could result in poor and hasty rewriting of a statement of the greatest importance to the College. The Speaker will entertain objections to this procedure from the floor (amending as usual will be in order for other agenda items). Members who would like changes in any of the proposed statements on the Agenda should contact the authors with suggested emendations. Some proposals have already been circulated, and contact information for authors will be provided when the agenda is distributed.

The Carroll-Shiner-Badger motion calls for a mission statement with “broad support from the community, including the Board, staff, faculty, students and alumni.” Although the Committee will not judge whether proposals received are in accord with the intent of motion or not, it may be helpful to those who are composing or revising statement proposals to consider the following list of content components and qualities that members of the community have advocated in various forums since the review of our mission statement began in the fall. The list is by no means intended by the Committee as a set of requirements for proposals.

1 written clearly and correctly, and in a tone that commands respect
2 no longer than two paragraphs
3 gives a comprehensive and accurate sense of Shimer to outsiders
4 distinguishes Shimer from other colleges, including St. John’s
5 can realistically be used in soliciting donors, including donors with definite political views
6 mentions small seminar classes
7 mentions original sources
8 mentions the Great Books
9 mentions the Socratic method
10 mentions or invokes shared governance
11 mentions or invokes active citizenship
12 content substantially refers to education and intellectual values
13 mentions freedom of the mind
14 includes the word “liberty”
15 mentions the Hutchins Curriculum

Apart from mission statement proposals, the Committee will also consider other agenda item proposals for this or a future meeting of the Assembly. Any member of the Assembly, including alumni, can suggest agenda items by sending them to any member of the Agenda Committee (names below--Shimer eml addresses consist of the first initial, dot, last name, and As has been the case since the beginning of the academic year, we expect the March 21 meeting to be quite lengthy, and will exercise judgment as to which possible agenda items may be taken up at a later date. Again, considering the importance of the issues before us, we ask members of the Assembly to prepare to stay late. There will be short recesses during the meeting. Because of the special nature of this meeting there will be no approval of minutes or committee reports, though time will be set aside for announcements.

As before, members who are unable to attend the meeting but who would like to address the Assembly may send written messages to the Speaker and they will be forwarded to the membership. In keeping with Assembly precedent, in the interest of saving time, and to avoid preferential recognition of absent members, such messages will not be read or distributed during the meeting. For prior distribution, they must be received no later than Saturday, March 21, 9 pm cst, but the Committee cannot guarantee all messages will be disseminated if their number turns out to be overwhelming. To make it easier to forward messages to the community, please send them to the Speaker as attachments to e-mail, and not as text within the e-mail.

We expect that the March 21st meeting will be webcast as prior meetings have been. If it will be, access information will be disseminated to members. Please bear in mind that, according to the Constitution of the Assembly, only members present may address the Assembly, vote, or introduce motions.

Both Trustees and alumni are members of the Assembly, though alumni are not voting members. Since it is not possible to send this message to all alumni, those who are recipients should feel free to forward it to alumni they know. The Committee, on behalf of the internal community, welcomes Trustees, alumni, and all other members to the meeting.


Albert B Fernandez

Speaker of the Assembly

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