The Fifth Principle Project is announcing that one of its co-founders, Jay Kiskel, has decided to run by petition for a position on the UUA Board of Trustees. Per the UUA bylaws, an individual may submit their name for consideration by obtaining 50 signatures with no more than ten signatures from a single congregation. An effort is currently underway to gather those signatures.
Typically, the slate of board candidates is identified by a Nominating Committee. If only a single candidate is identified for a board position, per our UUA bylaws, no vote is required to “elect” a board candidate. Jay’s candidacy is an effort to restore the use of the democratic process and provide General Assembly delegates an opportunity to cast a vote for a UUA Board Trustee.
Who is Jay Kiskel?
I have been a member of my home congregation, Northwest Unitarian Universalist Congregation, in the Atlanta area for 30 years. I have served on numerous positions on my congregation’s board of trustees as well as served on the Mid-South District board and the board of The Mountain, a UU identified camp and retreat center in North Carolina. I am currently the president of the Universalist Convocation which sponsors annual meetings so Universalists can gather and celebrate our Universalist heritage. After my retirement from a 35-year IT career, I have dedicated my time to gather, arrange, archive and write about Southern Unitarian and Universalist history. I am a member of the UU History and Heritage Society.
Why I Want to be a UUA Trustee
Like many UUs, I had a distant relationship with our national leadership. My focus was on my local congregation. However, the 2017 controversy over the resignation of Rev. Morales, the UUA president, and the 2019 controversy at the Spokane General Assembly regarding the distribution of the book The Gadfly Papers caused me to look more closely at the decisioning process at the national level. I observed that there has been a breakdown of representative democracy that has left our UU leadership bereft of a diversity of voices. I am a liberal UU and hold a deep belief in the power of our Seven Principles and wish to represent those who share my beliefs on our UUA Board of Trustees.
How You Can Help
You can help my candidacy in three ways.
- Join the Fifth Principle Project (it’s free) so you can stay connected with others who want to reinvigorate the right of conscience and renew the democratic process in the governing of our denomination.
- Register for the 2021 virtual General Assembly and become a voting delegate from your congregation. Congregation delegates will cast votes for competitive board positions.
- I ask for your vote. Support my candidacy to be a Board Trustee by encouraging other congregation delegates to be informed, involved and help restore our Fifth Principle as the governing principle of our Association.
For more information, contact me at FifthPrincipleProject@gmail.com.
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Hi! How do I go about signing my name to help with this? I am a member at UUCCWC in Hillsboro, OR.
Mariah, thank you for your support. We will reach out to you directly. Jay
Go for it, Jay! Happy to see this happening.
Maybe spell out how to sign on in support of Jay’s candidacy. My understanding is that individual church members only need to submit an email with the statement that they are supporting Jay Kiskel’s candidacy, give their name and the name of their congregation. That email should be sent to FifthPrincipleProject@gmail.com. Hope that’s right.
Jonathan, thanks for the support. Signing the petition must be done in the context of a congregation. People are encouraged to reach out here and offer their support to sign the petition. We will reach out and give individuals detailed instructions. We already have 40+ signatures.
I posted to Reddit
I don’t understand how compelling the Nominating Committee to find more trustee candidates than Board of Trustees seats increases democracy. Please explain?
Also did you fill out a Volunteer Leadership application? Do you know that the Nominating Committee would not welcome you as a potential Trustee?
Adrienne, thank you for your comment. Let me respond with three points. One, we notified our UUA leadership in December that we were planning to run a candidate by petition. All our questions were promptly answered. UUA executives were engaged in our email dialogue. They have our contact information and, hopefully, that information has been shared with the Nominating Committee. We welcome any dialogue they would like to open. Second, running by petition demonstrates that all UUs have an opportunity to participate in the governance of the Association through grassroots efforts. People can run for a variety of leadership positions by petition, including… Read more »
Do you know who you’re running against, Jay?
Jonathan, I do not know who the Nominating Committee may identify. I am assuming (hoping) that they will identify a candidate so we can have a competitive race with debate and discussion and a vote at General Assembly.
In a Facebook group in a thread discussing Jay’s candidacy, the following was posted. “Elections have provided us with multiple copies of the same people. We got a 26ish member board almost entirely (with a few notable exceptions) of white, middle-aged or older, middle upper class, mostly straight, professional people who were laity or ministers. We didn’t have youth, young adults, musicians, religious educators, no one with limited financial means, few people of color. Nominating was able to balance not only skills, but experiences and identities by presenting a slate. Plus, we have had excellent board members who have no… Read more »
Happy that the prospect of an election gets people talking. Thanks for sharing.
Why is the fifth principle project fielding only one candidate? Why not a whole slate? Also, in another comment, the process of debate at GA was mentioned. How do thousands of people engage in debate?
Robert, only three positions are open at this year’s 2021 GA. We sought a second candidate, but we’re unsuccessful. It’s not too late to field another candidate. The deadline is May 1. It also took a fair amount of work and time to fully understand the process to submit a candidate by petition, gather and submit signatures. The petition has been submitted. Will there be a debate? The answer is not known. Per the Association’s bylaws, if only one candidate is identified, there is no election at GA. Candidates move forward by acclamation. Will the Nominating Committee identify an individual who will want to participate… Read more »
Just so you know who you are running against, my name is Sam Trumbore and I serve as minister of the congregation in Albany, NY. I’ve been selected by the UUA Nominating Committee to run against you for the UUA Board. You can learn more about me on my web site: https://trumbore.org/wp/sam-trumbore-for-uua-board/ I am looking forward to a robust conversation about the issues I know you are planning to raise. I’ll be getting a copy of your book and any other materials you’d like to recommend. I’m having trouble understanding your critique as someone who has worked in ministry for… Read more »
I believe that a debate has been scheduled; where can I find details? I just searched “uua.org election debate” and nothing specific popped up, though this page did—I am usually pretty good at Internet searching, so will keep poking around on the UUA Web site.
I seem to remember seeing something for early June?
Found it! Searching directly on the UUA site gave the result—not a debate, but a forum—registration required!
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