*posted by Chelsey Rhodes
On Monday, June 3rd, a communication was sent out to some members of the EWB chapter community stating that 8 of the 13 members of the EWB Board of Directors had resigned.
No explanation was given, nor any links to letters of resignation from Board members– some of whom had been on the Board for nearly a decade.
In the midst of a sexual harassment scandal, it is significant that all of the men on the Board resigned– leaving the Board in the hands of 5 young women (it remains to be seen whether this demographic shift will lead to any true changes). It is also significant that none of the Board members apologized for ignoring this situation for years, nor did they apologize for their harmful and damaging responses since these issues became public in January.
The Board has not shared this announcement publicly nor have they communicated it to the broader membership, alumni, funders, or other stakeholders. There is still a worrying lack of transparency and truthfulness, and EWB continues to conceal the results of the review they commissioned— which was promised to be released to stakeholders in April.
EWB has hired yet another lawyer with charitable funds. That lawyer, Mark Ellis, has written an essay on an employer’s ‘right to surveillance’ of employees to protect against employees’ apparent penchant for defrauding their employers. Mr. Ellis has not written anything I can find on an employee’s right to scrutinize the unethical actions of their employer, or how we should go about holding them accountable. He does not seem to have any expertise or background on sexual harassment or discrimination.
In the past few days, alumni have been speaking up about their EWB email accounts being disabled. EWB has tried to claim this is unrelated to these issues. Of course, if a bunch of alumni are claiming systemic harassment, it makes sense (from a liability perspective) for EWB to block access to potentially incriminating information and evidence. In 2013 they disabled my own email account when I made a harassment complaint (blocking my access to evidence, plus not interviewing me for the investigation, were among the ways they could ensure that I could not ‘prove’ anything bad had really happened).
The new Board Chair Rebecca Kresta has written us asking for a meeting with herself and their lawyer Mark Ellis. I’m not sure how this would be interpreted as anything but hostile, or at least totally inappropriate.
The Board has continued to ignore our repeated requests and still has not managed an apology, coherent communication, restitution to people it has harmed, counselling for the staff and members who have been subject to the current leadership’s manipulation and mismanagement, accountability measures for the current executive, or any coherent action plan to address these issues.
See announcement from Board of Directors below: