Champaign County ACLU Steering Committee

Thursday May 2, 2013

7:00 p.m.

Room 3405 Siebel Center

Present: Stephen Portnoy, president, Bill Brown, Mort Brussel, Bob Illyes, Marilyn Lindholm, Carol Leff, Mark Leff, Neil Parthun,  Esther Patt, Richard Schnuer, Shirley Stillinger, Marsha Woodbury


  1.  Introductions of old and new steering committee members.
  2.  Minutes of April meeting approved.
  3.  Treasurer’s report and annual meeting

The technical status of our finances, modest though they are, has changed. As an unincorporated association, we are now required to furnish copies of our bank statement to state HQ and to add a state ACLU official (KT Sullivan) to our account. The steering committee approved this necessary measure.

We reviewed the experience of April’s annual meeting at the I Hotel.  Duly noted was the value of the availability of the computer projection facilities and Carol Spindel’s great job in producing copy for display, but also the apparent miscalculation in the supply of food by catering (at a higher price than Milo’s), despite the fact that we had exactly the number of guests we had promised.

  1.  Announcements & Communications
    1.  Immigration Forum. Despite the driving rain, the day of action march and speeches outside the courthouse was successful. There is continued follow-up on the part of the ACLU regarding the right to rally in public space.
    2.  Graduate Students in the Statistics Department are available to do pro bono work for public causes—work that would benefit from data analysis, and the conduct of surveys, for example.  

5. Old Business

  1.  Market at the Square –we will have a table on June 22 and August 24, applying the fee for the opening day table we cancelled to later tablings.
  2.  UI Bookstore Public-I rack removed—the removal of the rack for the distribution of the Public I at the UIB raises some civil liberties issues, and it was agreed to draft a letter of inquiry to the bookstore management about their justification for this move. There would appear to be room for a smaller rack than before that would fit the available space.
  3.  Although Lori Andrews was not available to speak at the annual meeting, she appeared amenable to a future talk here, and we will be following up on the possibilities for fall.
  4.  New Business
    1.  July 4 Parade –the Leffs agreed to sign us up for the July 4th parade.1 This year’s theme is United We Stand, Proudly We Serve.
    2.  Insurance requirement for public events in local cities

Also on the subject of public gatherings (see above), there is the question of permits and insurance for participation in marches/walks for issues and causes. This issue arose regarding the local 2013 Hunger Walk/Crop Walk, where the police in Urbana were asking for a permit and proof of insurance to be provided a month in advance of the event. Esther Portnoy reported that the local Hunger Walk was able to accommodate this request because of broader affiliation with the Church World Service. It was decided to ask the Chicago ACLU office about the conditions under which the right of assembly could be regulated in this fashion.

  1.  Adjournment

Next meetings:    June 6 and Sept. 5

1 The application was sent in early May, without a response so far.