The revelations of systemic abuse, coming after recent accusations of racism and smoldering suspicions about favoritism from a cheating scandal in 2018, have threatened not only the organization’s credibility, but the organization itself.
Following a fractious town-hall meeting last month, the board promised to resign en masse after the election of a new slate on Dec. 1. During the campaign, internal debates exploded onto social media, the idea of dissolving the entire organization was aired, three prominent women members resigned (many more have threatened to do so), and a deep generational rift in the court was exposed.
In interviews and on social media, younger members (including most of the group’s women, who make up about 15 percent of the total) have said that systemic change is needed to promote transparency, diversity and ethical standards. Older members, most of them white men, have argued that the court’s problems have now been exposed, and can be fixed without drastically reshaping the organization.
That view was reflected in candidate statements by three of the white men just elected to the new board, who have served on it in the past: Keith Goldston, from 2007 to 2015; Rob Bigelow, from 2003 to 2012; and Christopher Bates, from 2019 to 2020. (Mr. Bates, who wrote that the organization should not be “dismantled or destroyed” because of the actions of “a few,” resigned along with the rest of the current board, and was the only member to run for re-election.)
Since the court’s newest members are not allowed to run, there was a notable lack of diversity on the slate: 13 of the 18 candidates were white men, ensuring them a majority, and there were no Black candidates. Four new members — Emily Wines, Mia Van De Water, Kathryn Morgan and David Yoshida — now constitute all the diversity of gender, sexuality and race on the board. To those who have argued for sweeping change, the election process and results were not encouraging.