Thursday, September 15, 2011

KTWV 12 Issue 6: Being drawn into a controversy

One seemingly clever individual has been pushing me andy KTWV to come out against his rivals. Very shoddy and shameful. He wants to promote his vision against another, through me thinking he has pushed me into a corner for being a member off another Facebook Group.

Rather un-Stephanian behaviour led by personal rivalries.

Gloating is not Stephanian behavior.

Firstly, Kooler Talk (Web Version) is only MY take on things. I do not represent the views of even one other Stephanian. So what I expound here has nothing whatsoever to do with anyone else and their views.

I do not know the present laws of India as I have not lived there for the past 27 years. In the past 10 years, I have only made one visit to India, a 2 month Bharat Darshan in 2009!

The present controversy about one of the Stephanian Facebook Groups certainly requires a comment.

It was written that if a Facebook member of that Group did not inform the Group about her/his not wanting to be a member of an Alumni Association, then she/he would automatically be counted as a member of that Alumni Association. It implied that she/he would be required to pay Rs. 1000 as membership fee.

Correct me if I am wrong!

In Finland, such a statement is not valid according to Finnish Law.

If one wants to join an Association, the Association has to send all the information about it, in hard copy, along with an application form. This must be filled in and signed by the individual. (Pdf formats and electronic signatures are now permitted.)

There was a scam here where people used to send bills based on such a situation, where a negative was taken as a positive.

So to think that because you are a member of a Facebook Group, you automatically become a member of an association is inherently wrong. Facebook Group membership, which is social interaction, does not make you liable in any way to something else.

Not that I have anything against the particular Association, but the procedure to become a member of an Alumni Association must be correctly followed.

As I said, I am domiciled in Finland and the laws of Finland apply to me. I do not know the relevant laws in India.

Regarding the membership fees of Rs. 1000 - I could donate this money to this Facebook Group (or the Alumni Association) for bringing out such an excellent publication - they new SPICE.

Also there have to be different categories of membership - Honorary Members, Life Members and also Members who could pay annual fees. The Memorandum of the Association must be available to all potential members before joining the Association. There must be laid down procedures of how the money collected is used - the annual budget. There must be rules as to the cheque signing authorities granted to people at the helm. etc., etc..... There must be rules of joining as well as removing people from membership!

Neither of the present Stephanian Alumni Associations adhere to the very format of an Association (as the laws of Finland dictate). I am a member of both the Facebook Groups, as also many other Facebook Groups.  But none can claim that I am a member of any Associations formed under their banner. (I am a member of the Oulu University LinkedIn group but that does not automatically make me a member of the University Alumni Association!)

My request to all Sterphanian Facebook and LinkedIn Groups is to sort out differences and come together to form an Alumni Association OUTSIDE of the College. Allow room for different opinions and have a representative selection of people on the Board.

In two of my other alma maters - Bishop Cotton School, Bangalore and Cathedral School, Mumbai, the Alumni Association is in no way linked to the schools. They function independently of the Schools and that is the way it should be. The Alumni Association should not be a rubber stamp for the institution.

A healthy Alumni Association would work well with its alma mater but would also be a balance to greed and nepotism that sometimes creeps in!

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