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"Schoolgate"
"Schoolgate"

The School:   The Association:

A bolt out of the blue on 10 July 2014:

Two representatives from the School administration visited the Association just after our General Meeting in 2014. We thought they wanted to get to know our newly elected Officers. Instead, we were informed that we were "de-recognised" some time ago. We were startled to say the least. Neither did we receive any warning nor were we given any hearing.

 

Interestingly enough, the visit came just after members assembled in General Meeting established a scholarship foundation.

As the two School representatives didn't know the exact details behind the "de-recognition", we dispatched two Officers to London to find out more.

     
   

Officers traveled to London on 16 July 2014:

Our two Officers were given the following "reasons for de-recognition": (1) Marcel, (2) scholarship endowment / foundation, (3) membership dues, (4) inclusivity and (5) data exchange.

Take a look at the meeting notes part 1 and part 2. Personal comments are redacted.


   

Our first response in writing on 28 October 2014:

We wrote a friendly letter, aiming to explain and stating that we were anxious to resolve any issues between the Association and the School amicably.

Take a look at the letter. It was also mailed to all members with a cover letter.

All we could base our letter on is the information from our London meeting. We were and still are as clueless as you may be on what the exact criteria or conditions are to be "de-recognized" or not, and why we didn't have a right of defence before "de-recognition".

     

Demand on 4 December 2014 that our principal administrative officer abandon his duties immediately:

Apart from this being a very reasonable demand, strangely enough, the 4 other previously-stated reasons for "de-recognition" were not mentioned anymore. No wrong-doing was alleged.

 

Updating members on 7 December 2014:

Take a look at our letter sent to all members.

     

First written communication on 10 December 2014:

The School administration makes many incorrect statements in regard to the SLSEAA. We should take down our large Web site immediately. At least, we finally got something in writing.

Take a look at their e-mail.

 

Our second response in writing on 12 December 2014:

We are startled about how our offer to resolve any issues amicably results in such a first written response. We attempt to correct the many false statements from the School administration regarding our Association.

Take a look at the briefing letter to members and our second letter to the School.

 

Our Responses to the School:
Frequent member questions answered

Intended for Ordinary and Associate Members of the Association
Last updated: 23 November 2014, 19:49

Q1: Can we not find some compromise? Absolutely, we are ready to accommodate the wishes of the School. We'll make changes but these have to be well conceived, beneficial and legal.

Q2: What happens now? Our Association will hum along as always. Some exciting events are coming up. In the meantime, the Officers will try to resolve the matter amicably in the coming weeks. You will be kept informed.

Q3: Why was the "de-recognition" unexpected? We first heard about it on 10 July 2014. It is unknown why the School chose to inform us 10 days after our General Meeting. We still don't know the exact date when we were "de-recognized" but it must have happened in May and June 2014. The LSE Alumni Relations Team initiated the "de-recognition" without informing us or giving us any hearing. Only after the decision to "de-recognize" us was already made, were our Officers invited to London for more information.

Q4: What are the exact reasons behind the "de-recognition"? Two of our Officers went to London to find out and were given, as outlined in our letter, the following reasons: (1) Marcel, (2) scholarship endowment/foundation, (3) membership dues, (4) inclusivity and (5) data exchange. As the School appears not to have the full picture on all of them, our letter also aims to explain. The reasons for "de-recognition" are all prefaced with "The School's view". We haven't received anything in writing from the School yet. All we could base our response on is the information from our London meetings (see redacted meeting notes part 1 and part 2). We are still as clueless as you may be on what the exact criteria or conditions are to be "de-recognized" or not, and why we didn't have a right of defence before "de-recognition".

Q5: Isn't it very bad if we lose the School's support? We would be very unhappy if the School would declare that it doesn't support us anymore. However, for 16 years the School hasn't actually provided significant support. Of the more than 160 events, we have organised 158 including the 3 pan-European LSE alumni outings. We recruit all external speakers. We invite all LSE alumnae and alumni in Switzerland to all events. We organize all student receptions. We negotiate and fund all member benefits and services. We recruit all Officers and members. We donated to the School. We generate surpluses to fund scholarships. ...

Q6: What does being "de-recognized" really mean? If it means not being supported anymore, see the previous question and answer. We are and will remain the Swiss LSE Alumni Association, one of the largest and most active national LSE alumni organisations worldwide, whether so recognized or not.

Q7: When and how have we been initially "recognized"? There is a defined process in which LSE alumni organisations become "recognized LSE alumni groups". As we predate the worldwide LSE Alumni Association service at the School, we never were subject to that process. In our view, LSE alumnae and alumni are free to establish their own associations without the School's and, for that matter, any government’s approval or recognition.

Q8: Why can Marcel not just resign as requested by the School? According to our statutes, Officers cannot effectively resign mid-term. Officers could derelict their assigned duties mid-term. As Marcel is our principal administrative officer, he cannot derelict his duties. The real issue is not resignation but succession. For some years, Marcel has been looking and planning for a successor. If you would enjoy serving, please make yourself known to the Officers.

Q9: Why is the SLSEAA so overzealous in regard to dues and membership? If you have statutes and laws, it is reasonable to follow them consistently. Set rules exist to limit the Officers in their discretion, thus ensuring the equal treatment of all members as best as possible. We are much more accommodating than many other Swiss associations. We have set aside the outstanding dues of former members. We only expel members if their outstanding dues are particularly high and if we have completely lost contact. We always provide advice and research status changes when requested.

Q10: Who has written the letter? The letter was written by the two persons most knowledgeable in regard to the facts, Marcel and Martin. Marcel is our current Secretary General, Martin was our Treasurer for many years. As Marcel and Martin have done the actual work, they are most knowledgeable in regard to the apparent issues raised by the School and, hence, were in the best position to compose an informed response. Some of the current Officers, most having just been appointed in June 2014, disagreed with regard to the dispatch of a written letter and with its content. Comments on the draft letter were also sought and received from other former Officers, as well as from some Founding and other long-time Members, and were taken into account as best as possible.

Q11: About which issue have members been complaining most frequently? The process and terms in regard to ending membership in the SLSEAA is the top complaint. Members, who want to end their membership, sometimes forget respectively don't bother to notify the Secretary General of their resignation. He can only lawfully act if instructed by the member. Once a resignation is received, it is acted upon immediately. The member will receive a written confirmation that the resignation was processed. The effective end of membership is prescribed by law.

Q12: Why did you chose to inform all members? Because, as a member, you have a right to know which decisions your alma mater has taken in regard to your national LSE alumni organisation. It's very unfortunate that the School has decided to "de-recognized" a Swiss membership organisation before talking to its Officers.

Q13: Would the LSE Alumnae and Alumni Foundation of Switzerland not hurt the fundraising efforts of the School? No, on the contrary, the Foundation will significantly and sustainably increase giving from Switzerland directed at the School and its students. The great majority of the more than 1'700 LSE alumnae and alumni in Switzerland do not give to the School. Hence, the competition is not the Foundation but the hundreds of other Swiss charities and organisations soliciting donations.

 
 
 
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