Grand Council Declares Two Statements of Emergency
In response to COVID-19 pandemic and the Housing Corporation legislation introduced at Conclave 2019, the Grand Council is declaring two separate states of emergency by the authority vested in the Grand Council by The Black Book (Article III, Section 4 (Second)).
The first statement of emergency temporarily suspends the notice requirement for releasing the upcoming fee structures.
The Judiciary Committee’s statement of emergency read in part, "It is the recommendation of the Judiciary Committee that the deadlines and timeframes established by the Black Book relating to notice requirements be suspended for the next ninety (90) days, or adjusted as determined necessary by the Grand Council during that period, to allow for the health and safety of the Fraternity and its members, and to further ensure strong continuity of operations of the Fraternity. It should be noted that nothing in this Statement of Emergency prevents the extension or expansion of the timeframe considered herein."
Fee structure will be announced next week.
The second statement of emergency is related to the Conclave 2019 legislation to limit the legal liability of chapter and housing corporations was debated at length.
Following Conclave, I announced the creation of a subcommittee to review the language of the proposed legislation and address the concerns expressed during the extensive debate of the Second Session of Grand Chapter. Committee members included both proponents and opponents to the legislation.
The committee reviewed the proposed language from our insurance company, James R. Favor & Co, aimed to protect Tau Kappa Epsilon and our members from potential lawsuits which could have significant and immediate financial ramifications to our membership.
The committee’s directive was to review and deliver a recommendation to me by September 20, 2019. I am appreciative of the committee’s prompt and thorough review of the proposed policy. These men have served the Fraternity admirably.
At the Grand Council Retreat held in Portsmouth, NH, the Risk Committee Chairman, Ryan Vescio, delivered the recommendations of this committee to the Grand Council. Frater Vescio outlined how the committee addressed the major concerns that were presented during the debate at Conclave.
On September 28, 2019, the Grand Council unanimously enacted the committee’s recommendation as submitted. I tasked the Professional Staff to implement the required changes to our database and Black Book and they have released all of the required changes.
The Judiciary Committee’s statement of emergency read in part, "It has come to the attention of the Judiciary Committee that certain dangers exists which require immediate attention by the Grand Council. The Fraternity’s insurance carrier, James R. Favor, Co., has brought to the attention of the Judiciary and Risk Committees that increased exposure to liability exists based on certain provisions in the Black Book. The Judiciary Committee has determined that these issues create a clear danger to the Fraternity, and as such, the Judiciary Committee declares these issues constitute an emergency pursuant to Article II, §4 (Second), International Constitution, which requires immediate Grand Council action."
In short, the committee recommended the separation of a chapter’s Board of Advisors and Housing Corporation and restricts the ability for an individual volunteer to sit on both the Board of Advisors and a Housing Corporation for the same chapter. In addition, the committee has also recommended removing the requirement for each chapter to incorporate at the time of chartering.
In accordance with Article III, Section 4 (First) of the Black Book, these changes will need to be expressly confirmed at the 2021 Conclave of the Grand Chapter on August 5-8, 2021 in Houston. Amendments will be included in the legislative packet released prior to Conclave. The updated 2019-2021 Black Book with this emergency legislation can be found here.
Yours in the Bond,
Frater James Hickey, Ph.D.