Last week the NACUFS Board of Directors reaffirmed our commitment to diversity and inclusivity following passage of the Indiana Religious Freedom Restoration Act. In addition, we promised that we would take additional action steps in support of our diversity and inclusivity policy, continue listening to our members and evaluate the pros and cons of holding conference in Indianapolis this July.
The NACUFS Board of Directors met this morning. We reviewed the amendment language and list of states that have removed travel bans, discussed member feedback, and evaluated the impact on our institutional and industry members as well as the financial impact on NACUFS of cancelling or relocating the conference. Following discussion, the Board voted to move forward with plans to hold our national conference in Indianapolis, July 22-25, 2015. We invite you to join us this July in the city of Indianapolis which has a longstanding Human Rights Ordinance which protects against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
The key difference in the amended RFRA is legislative language added directly into the law which states that “providers,” which includes individuals and businesses, cannot “refuse to offer or provide services, facilities, use of public accommodations, goods, employment or housing to any member or members of the general public on the basis of race, color, religion, ancestry, age, national origin, disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or United States military service.”
The states of Washington, New York, and Connecticut, which had previously banned state-sponsored travel to Indiana, have lifted their travel bans in response to the amended law.
The ACLU of Indiana supports the amended RFRA. The American Unity Fund (AUF), a national LGBT rights organization based in Washington, D.C., states that “Indiana’s RFRA now has clearer protections for civil rights than the federal RFRA or any of the other 30+ states with RFRA laws or comparable judicial direction in their state constitutions.”
The NCAA and other major associations, convention groups and trade shows which had reported concerns about the state’s original RFRA have communicated they are satisfied with the amended law’s protections against discrimination.
In accordance with our policy and values, NACUFS will continue to welcome all our members and denounce discrimination. Please continue to support NACUFS value of inclusivity by attending the Indianapolis conference. Thank you to everyone who communicated with us on this issue.
The National Association for College and University Food Services (NACUFS) recognizes that the March 26th signing of the Indiana Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA SB 101) into law by the governor of Indiana is of utmost concern to our members and the larger community.
Although SB 101 is modeled after the Federal RFRA law signed in 1993 by President Clinton, the Indiana law, as passed, goes much further, and opens the door to potential discrimination of members in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community in the name of religious freedom.
Moreover, yesterday Indiana passed an amendment to “fix” the law. The effect of this amendment is to maintain LGBT protections in communities, including Indianapolis, that have local anti-discrimination ordinances protecting sexual orientation and gender identity.
NACUFS’ mission is to support and promote excellence in collegiate dining. Our core values include integrity, inclusiveness, continuous improvement, critical thinking and responsiveness.
In keeping with our core values, NACUFS recognizes the diversity of our member education institutions, their employees and students and our industry members. We recognize, respect and value that diversity. NACUFS supports inclusivity of all people in our community. NACUFS maintains that inclusion and diversity helps build high performing organizations where people feel respected, engaged and valued for who they are and what they contribute.
NACUFS denounces any kind of discrimination and is committed to celebrating individual differences, practicing inclusion and treating people with fairness and dignity. NACUFS will endeavor to work with people and organizations who share our core values.
To read our diversity and inclusivity policy, click here.
What actions has NACUFS taken?
This week, NACUFS worked closely with the City of Indianapolis, the Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce to communicate our position and our members’ concerns about the legislation and its potential for permitting discrimination. We are working with sister organizations in higher education associations who have also contracted with Indianapolis, to articulate a strong stand.
We are actively listening to our members and engaging them in this issue, both for the near-term and future. We are similarly listening to our industry members who actively support and partner with us.
The Board of Directors held an emergency conference call to reaffirm our commitment to diversity and inclusivity.
Conference 2015 in Indianapolis
The Board of Directors is monitoring the situation closely, fact-finding, and listening to our members to continue evaluating all of our options and their consequences, knowing that the strong concerns of our members illustrate that this is a critical issue for our industry.
We are taking a thoughtful, disciplined approach to an extremely complex issue that is not unique to Indiana, and affects the entire country.
What’s next? NACUFS will:
Zia Ahmed, NACUFS President
The International Foodservice Manufacturer’s Association has announced the seven Silver Plate winners for 2015. Among them is NACUFS member, Nona Golledge, director of dining services at the University of Kansas.
Golledge currently oversees 22 operations plus catering, athletic training table, and grab-and-go production at KU. She is in charge of 160 full-time employees and more than 400 student employees. She is also charged with developing a strategic plan, marketing plan, sustainability plan, and education programs for her staff to carry out. Under her, more than 10,000 meals are served daily at the University of Kansas.
In addition to her work at the University of Kansas, Golledge has had many accomplishments with NACUFS. She served as the association’s president from 2011-2012, and during that time, she led the search for the NACUFS executive director; the third full-time director in the association’s 55-year history. She has served on an array of committees including the national finance committee, the strategic planning committee, and the benchmarking survey faculty team. In addition to these committees, Golledge has also served as a coach and mentor for the Foodservice Management Institute.
“The KU Dining team and I are truly honored by this recognition,” said Golledge. The leadership team is one of the best in the nation. They have accomplished so much over the years to bring KU Dining to the next level and beyond. They embrace the can-do spirit that makes it possible for our organization to stay innovative in the collegiate dining sector.”
From the Silver Plate winners, one will be selected by a jury to receive the foodservice industry’s most prestigious award, IFMA’s 2015 Gold Plate Award. This award is presented at the 61st Annual Gold & Silver Plate Celebration taking place in Chicago, Ill. on March 18.
The board of directors has approved moving forward with a vote by the association membership on the proposed new governance model. This vote will take place at the General Membership Assembly on July 24, 2015.
When proposed changes are significant, it is recommended that an organization’s current bylaws be replaced with a completely rewritten version, rather than amending the current version line by line. This process is referred to as a “revision” of the bylaws. A revision is recommended for changing NACUFS’ bylaws to support the proposed governance model coming before the membership this July.
The Bylaws Committee worked closely with NACUFS’ legal counsel prior to presenting this revised set of bylaws to the board of directors, and subsequently to you.
As Bylaws Committee Chair, I write to communicate the results of the recent board meeting in Lansing, Michigan. The Governance Work Group and board of directors clearly heard the membership and have responded by making changes to address their concerns about the governance proposal while also closing performance gaps related to the association’s current structure. These changes have been incorporated into a proposed bylaws amendment which the board approved to be submitted to the membership in July. I have outlined the changes below.
Members shared comments and concerns about the ability to vote on candidates for national office and on bylaws amendments. The proposed bylaws provide a process whereby the nominating committee will present an uncontested slate of candidates to the board of trustees for endorsement. The board and/or membership may then submit alternate, additional nominees, and voting delegates will approve the final slate of candidates and/or elect leaders at the General Membership Assembly during the national conference.
Members also asked to retain voting authority on amendments to the bylaws. The revised proposal allows the board of trustees the authority to amend only certain articles and sections of the bylaws at its discretion. Other key articles and sections, primarily related to the fundamental structure and purpose of NACUFS and the board of trustees, will require approval of the membership to amend.
Members expressed concerns about lack of guaranteed regional representation on the board of trustees and committees. The revised bylaws proposal states that geographic and other types of diversity will be encouraged, however competency will remain the first consideration when recruiting leaders for appointed positions and elected offices.
The current title of “regional council” will be retained, instead of “regional coordinating committee” as originally proposed. This will prevent any confusion; the council itself is not a committee. The role of the regional council will be to coordinate and implement activities at the regional level.
The regional councils will be led by a “regional director,” currently known as regional president. This title more accurately reflects this position’s role and responsibility of carrying out the association’s programs and activities at the regional level.
The title of the board of directors will change to “board of trustees” with the title of president changing to “chair of the board of trustees.” These titles more accurately reflect that the board of trustees will focus on governing the association while staff will focus on managing the association. This change will also help avoid confusion with the title of regional director; there will be no implication that a regional director serves on a board of trustees.
The proposed title of NACUFS’ executive director will be chief executive officer (CEO), instead of president as originally proposed. This title more accurately describes the position’s responsibilities in managing the association, respects the contributions of former NACUFS volunteer presidents, and honors their title and role.
Roles and Responsibilities
Similar to higher education institutions, a board governs and a chair of the board leads its strategic efforts, while the professional staff manages the organization. This model is also common in business and associations. In adopting this model, NACUFS will create a clear delineation between board, volunteer, and staff responsibilities.
As competent, highly-regarded operators, the board of trustees will set the strategic direction for NACUFS, defining what members want and need most from their association. The membership will continue to serve in various leadership roles to help carry out programs and services identified by the board and provided by the association. The CEO will manage the staff, build systems to support the board of trustees and volunteers, and provide continuity. This will allow volunteers to contribute in meaningful ways with association staff to provide professional expertise to support them.
Many of our members voiced concern with paths to leadership roles in the association. Although not a bylaws issue, I am including an explanation here. The vision of the Governance Work Group and the board of directors is that NACUFS will establish an annual volunteer management program, as previously recommended by two project teams. It will include an open call for volunteers, which will provide a structured method for notifying members of available volunteer opportunities. Selected volunteers will receive appropriate orientation, training, and recognition. Volunteer participation will be tracked to encourage broad member engagement.
The role of regional director is envisioned as a potential developmental position for future leaders, including for positions on the board of trustees, just like the current regional president position. Likewise, committee members serving on regional councils still have a clear pathway to roles of greater responsibility.
After thoughtful discussion and careful consideration by the Governance Work Group and the board of directors, I am confident the questions raised by many dedicated and concerned members have been addressed in the bylaws to the extent possible while still closing the performance gaps in the association’s current structure. There will be further opportunities to ask questions and learn more about the proposed changes before voting at the General Membership Assembly in July 2015. As NACUFS president Zia Ahmed indicated in his blog, please feel free email him at email@example.com if you have questions and would like to speak directly with him.
Janet Paul is the director of dining services at Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota.