Board of Trustees News

The Humanist Community of Central Ohio (HCCO) Board of Trustees voted to appoint two people to fill the current open seats onthe Board, adopted a Hostile Conduct/Harassment Policy, and adopted a draft for changes in the HCCO Bylaws that will be considered at the Annual meeting in November. 

Dan DeMura and Agnes Vishnevkin were appointed to fill vacant seats on the board at the August 29th board meeting. As per the HCCO Bylaws, the membership will need to vote to on whether to confirm these appointments. That vote will take place at our Monthly Humanist meeting on October 13th.

The Board of Trustees also unanimously adopted a Hostile Conduct/Harassment Policy both in order to provide a framework for handling such issues in the future and as a response to recent incidents that have happened at national skeptical/atheist/freethought events. The policy covers all public events hosted or sponsored by HCCO when we can control who attends those events. HCCO will also work to have the policy recognized by other groups we might work with on public events in the future.  One of the things the policy doesn't do is prevent the critical examination of beliefs. The policy states:

"Critical examination of beliefs, including critical commentary on another person's views, does not, by itself, constitute hostile conduct or harassment. A purpose of this policy is to promote the free exchange of ideas, not to inhibit it."

The full text of the policy is available on the HCCO website at

The Annual Members Meeting will be held on November 10th. This meeting is open to all members in good standing and is used to consider amendments to the bylaws, nominations for the HCCO Board, voting to elect the HCCO Board, plus any other group business issues that need to be considered by the whole membership.

This year the membership will be asked to adopt changes to the Bylaws. A Board committee went through the entire document and suggested many changes. Since these changes were substantial, the whole document will be considered rather than individual amendments. The current Bylaws were last revised in 2007. The HCCO Board recommends the draft be adopted.

One of the biggest changes is having the HCCO Board serve staggered 2 year terms. Five seats will be open for election each year rather than the current 10. This will help with continuity of the Board from year to year. Having to seat a whole new board each year has caused issues with getting started for the year. By staggering the terms we shouldn't lose any momentum when the year changes.

Another major change is clarifying our membership expectations to explain that anyone in support of the purposes of HCCO is welcome to become a member. The proposed bylaws also provide provisions for revoking membership in the very rare event that this may become necessary.

Other changes were minor such as including social media and our website in the ways members are given notice of special business meetings if needed and tweaking the duties of the officers to conform to our current practice.

The draft of the Bylaws is available on the HCCO website and we will make sure everyone interested has a chance to read it before November. If you have any questions, please email the head of the bylaws committee Doug Berger at