skip navigation



The American Schools of Oriental Research
Board of Trustees Meeting
May 3, 2003 - Cambridge, MA


PRESENT: PE. MacAllister, Chairman of the Board, Oded Borowski, Mark W. Chavalas, Douglas Clark for CAMP, Eric Cline, Nan Frederick, Tim Harrison, Larry Herr for COP, Martha Sharp Joukowsky, Vice-President, Norma Kershaw, Øystein S. LaBianca, Edward Lugenbeal, Treasurer, Jodi Magness, David McCreery for CAP, Eric M. Meyers, Beth Nakhai, Martha Risser, Austin Ritterspach, David Rosenstein, Jim Ross, B.W. Ruffner, Richard Scheuer, Tammi Schneider, Joe Seger, Lydie Shufro, John R. Spencer, James F. Strange, Secretary, Stuart Swiny, Randy Younker, Rudy Dornemann, Executive Director, Billie Jean Collins, Director of Publications, and Holly Andrews, Assistant Director,

ABSENT: Kent Bermingham, David Detrich (CAARI), Lawrence T. Geraty, President, Edward Gilbert, P. Kyle McCarter, Robert Miller, Bruce Routledge, Jane Waldbaum, Sidnie White-Crawford,

VISITORS: Jim Erickson, Lee Seeman

1.         CTO 8:40 AM

2.         CORRECTION TO THE MINUTES: Lydie Shufro was present at the Toronto Meeting.  The previous minutes were ACCEPTED AS CORRECTED.

3.         No Chairman's Report.

4.         AIAR - Jodi Magness reported for Sidnie Crawford.  Despite the difficult situation, the Albright is currently open with a full program.

5.         ACOR - Sten LaBianca:  The Board met two weeks ago and voted to re-open ACOR, which had been closed at the suggestion of the State Department, who asked that all non-essential personnel leave by mid-February.  The staff moved to Cyprus, even though ACOR had not received any direct threats. During the ACOR Board meeting the unanimous decision was to invite the director and his wife to return to Amman, and they have moved as of May 1; there is talk of opening for the public as of June 1.  Fellows are returning.  The ACOR Board is optimistic that the situation will improve.  A loss of income was anticipated, but Martha Joukowsky will help raise funds for the shortfall.  Martha added that the bottom line is that $80,000 must be raised to pay the staff. There was a joint effort with the Cincinnati Art Museum to organize a tour to Petra.  Pierre Bikai is helping with the conservation of the baptismal site on the east side of the Jordan.  He is also consulting with various groups.

6.         CAARI - Stuart Swiny read his report. Thomas W. Davis is the new director replacing Robert Merrillees. The Greek-Turkish border has been opened in Cyprus and since that time 30,000 Greek Cypriots have crossed over it.  So far this opening has not impacted archaeological excavation in Cyprus.

7.         Nominating Committee--Ambassador Nicholas Veliotes was elected to the Board via an email ballot, but he has declined.  David Rosenstein was also elected to the Class of 2004 and has accepted. Three names were presented for members of the Board-elected Trustee class seats: Austin Ritterspach, B.W. Ruffner, and Ed Gilbert.

8.         Larry Geraty is absent due to injuries sustained after being struck in a hit-and-run accident but Jim Erickson reported that his condition is now good.  Though he is back at work, his doctors would not allow him to fly to the Board Meeting. Austin Ritterspach adds that the Development committee has Jim Erickson, a colleague of Geraty’s, as a fund raising consultant.

9.         Treasurer's Report—Ed Lugenbeal: 

A. ASOR's investments have held their value since the last meeting of the Executive Committee and Board. Most of our eleven accounts are doing well.  We had $790k at the beginning of the year in investment accounts and as of March 1, we have $797k.  We have moved out of most stocks to avoid the bear market. At the beginning of Fiscal Year 2003 we had 86% in cash or cash equivalents, and 14% in stocks.  The 14% includes one managed stock account with about $50k.  The other Smith and Barney investment accounts have very modest amounts invested in growth mutual funds.  The 14% exposure was further reduced last October as we moved approximately $100k to callable bonds that yield 5.5%.  Our present exposure is 10%, the one managed stock fund, and then smaller amounts in the Davis Venture Growth Fund.

B.   Audited statements for FY 2002 have been received and were distributed before and during the meeting. As of last fall we heard from the auditors that we had a net loss in unrestricted funds of more than $172k. That has changed to <$41,670>, which is better, but not as much better as Ed had hoped. This was mainly a result of classifying correctly donations associated with the Torch Campaign. The reclassifications did not change the amount of the total assets ($878,388) or the total loss incurred during the fiscal year ($269,198).

C.  Our year-to-date status compared to last year is healthy. In the past three quarters total net loss was $28,434.  We have not yet completed the transfer to accrual based accounting in our budgeting and budget tracking system, so the results shown in the budget to actual spreadsheets differ from the accrual-based financial statements.  Martha Joukowsky congratulated the Treasurer and the office for this report.

D.  Proposed Budget 2004. Rudy Dornemann took over, passing out two spreadsheets based on cash accounting. He also passed around the "Fiscal Year 2003 Approved Budget Compared to FY2001, FY2002, and FY2003 Actuals Stated Primarily on a Cash Basis." This contains the proposed budget for the next year. When we catch up with the NEA Volumes, there will be a significant positive influence on the bottom line creating a positive balance of $135k. A question was raised about ASOR initiatives, which include the payment to the Albright, a commitment to Omar Jibrin's widow, and Baghdad Committee funds. Joukowsky spoke of the possibility of the overseas center directors traveling around the USA to give lectures.  It was clarified that that is not built into the budget. Austin Ritterspach adds that Development could provide funds, if donors want a Director to be the lecturer at a fund-raising event.

BE IT RESOLVED to accept the 2004 budget. Moved by Nan Frederick, seconded by Randy Younker, PASSED UNANIMOUSLY.

10.       Development—Austin Ritterspach distributed the Development Report. We have had one cultivation event in Chattanooga courtesy of B.W. Ruffner featuring a lecture by Carol Meyers.  There will also be a fund-raiser at Riverside, CA featuring Bill Dever. Ritterspach would like to have a major fund-raiser in Atlanta with a high-profile person as honorary co-chair. The Executive Committee voted in February to allow the Torch Campaign to conclude after a three-year term.

Ritterspach withdrew the first two resolutions in his report.

BE IT RESOLVED that the ASOR Board of trustees thanks and commends former Board member Dr. Holland Hendrix on the completion in February 2003 of service as a part time development consultant to the Board and the Development staff. Nan Frederick MOVED. Martha Joukowsky SECONDED. PASSED UNANIMOUSLY.

Austin Ritterspach spoke about the intent of the motion to enlarge the Board so that business people could be added, involving people with business training but archaeological interests in an advisory capacity. Sten LaBianca commented that the situation with ACOR can help us to learn something – both have risks of closure. ASOR could be a tremendous help if it could set aside long-term contingency funds for such desperate situations.  Such a fund could be used in the future for research in Iraq and Syria. How many laypeople could be added to the Board?  The Board has the opportunity to elect nine members and traditionally they have been laypeople.  All others are elected at the Membership Meetings as Institutional or Individual members, and we would not put up an unknown person before the membership for election. It was suggested that we add laypeople on an ad hoc basis without amending the by-laws.  It was pointed out that in the AIA the lay candidates run unopposed.

It was pointed out that we should follow the advice of President Geraty and our consultant to expand the Board.

Comments: We tend to select popular candidates.  If we want corporate people, then probably we need to have them run unopposed, perhaps as "General Trustees." Can we identify from our membership lists whether they are lay members, so that we can pull a slate of nominees from those names?  It was suggested that we leave room in the Individual category for laypeople. We may be able to simply redistribute what we have, so that we are not "top heavy" with academics. Some suggested that every academic on the Board should be an institutional representative. It was questioned whether we could enlarge the Board without naming a number, using “up to” language.  Much discussion ensued. It was suggested that we remove the limit of number. We were reminded that one Honorary lay Trustee has given $150,000 and never went to meetings.

BE IT RESOLVED that the President and Chairman write the widow of Leon Levy conveying our condolences. MOVED by Spencer and SECONDED by Clark. PASSED UNANIMOUSLY.

P.E. MacAllister suggested that we convene the Strategic Planning group to write a strategic plan. P.E. and Larry will consult and decide how to constitute such a group. It was also suggested that we ask the Nominating Committee to change the ballot so that a biography is included for laypeople. MacAllister proposes that we add as necessary.  All of the Board members have the responsibility to look for good people, not just the President.  Rudy Dornemann commented that we have no guidelines for the Nominating Committee. We should consider gender distribution, whether we have students or retirees included, etc. It was suggested that the Nominating Committee write its own guidelines and bring them back to the Board for approval. Lydie Shufro asked how much was raised by Torch Campaign. Austin says it was largely an endowment campaign; the total is about one million.

11.       COP (Comm. on Publications)—Larry Herr, report distributed.  The NEA editor position has had six applications, which were narrowed down to three, two of whom have been interviewed. Larry Herr mentioned the names and gave a brief resume of their credentials. Eric Meyers pointed out that this is the first time in 60 years that our editor may not have an academic appointment. They sound like managing editors, not editors. Others commented that ordinarily editors from academic institutions would have to have a course reduction. It was pointed out that it is in the interest of university administrations to give reduction for editorships of good publications. Billie Jean Collins commented that NEA's reputation as a journal/article depends on the quality of its articles, not on the reputation of its editors. She emphasized that NEA requires much work to get it up to date (BASOR and JCS continue to be on time).  We had two annuals out so far this year with a huge book sale total for the third quarter, which is a record for us.  It broke the previous record set in the previous quarter.   Four titles may appear next year. By keeping book production down to four titles we keep more cash in our coffers, and we are a cash-strapped organization. The conversion to iMIS software was successful as of May 2, 2003. Travel Tours had gone quite a long way, but the spring trip was cancelled because of the war in Iraq. The plans are to focus on the fall.

12.       CAP—David Creery was absent, so the CAP report was distributed in advance.

13.       CAMP—Douglas Clark. Doug congratulated those who worked so hard on the Annual Meeting. The Philadelphia venue hotel has been secured in a brand-new hotel, the Grand Hyatt at Penn’s Landing. We have extended our contract with Academy International Travel to 2006.  He reviewed in brief the printed report.  There will be a strong attempt to hold business meetings outside of academic session times. Austin suggests a fund-raiser be held on the Friday evening. Others suggested that we engage the members more with ASOR issues at the membership meeting. Eric Cline commented that there are so many contributions for the program that it is very crowded. Regarding the Lecture Series committee, Clark notes that there is eager anticipation of the Stager-Finkelstein debate on June 1 at UCLA, of which ASOR is a co-sponsor.  There has been extensive publicity for this event.  SBL has separated from AAR, and Clark recommends that CAMP discuss the ramifications of this and come back to the Board with recommendations. CAMP will bring a recommendation to the November Board meeting.

BE IT RESOLVED that the Board endorses conversation with SBL about common interests and possible future cooperation. MOVED by John Spencer, SECONDED by Austin Ritterspach. 14 yeas, 7 nays, CARRIED.

Eric Meyers volunteered to speak to the AAR about job placement, interviews, etc.  Someone else should do it for SBL.

THE BOARD ENDORSES BY CONSENSUS conversation with AAR about the job placement, interviews, etc. CAMP should also raise these issues with SBL. Eric Meyers will speak to the President of AAR.

Jodi Magness raised the question of the future of archaeology in the Middle East, since many of us can no longer take students into the field and train them. This is clearly an issue for long-range planning discussions about our academic goals. Austin Ritterspach suggested that it be on the agenda in the November meeting.  It was decided that CAP should work on this issue, though since it is broader than “archaeological policies” we should charge CAP with developing the discussion among members, such as on the ASOR email discussion list.

BE IT RESOLVED that the Board charges the Committee on Archaeological Policy to discuss the future of Near Eastern archaeology and be prepared to make a presentation and hold a discussion at the annual meeting. MOVED by Sten LaBianca, SECONDED by Austin Ritterspach. PASSED UNANIMOUSLY.

 14.       Executive Director's Report—Rudy Dornemann.  We had hoped to have an ASOR group go to Saudi Arabia to look at sites but we were forced out by the war in Iraq. The Saudis have been very positive about an American group visiting and they had suggested that visas would be issued at an appropriate time, though we are now uncertain when that would be.  The Baghdad Committee has selected their Fellow, Bekir Gürdil of UCLA, for the year, but they wonder if the Fellow can accomplish the task given the results of the war. The Executive Committee had a lengthy discussion about the Iraq statement posted on the ASOR website.  CAORC has been given $300k grant from the Department of State to set up an American research center in Baghdad.  They have asked that we work with them, as they do not wish to be in competition, and we will be invited to participate in the organizational meetings. The Executive Committee has asked the Baghdad Committee to review the statement on the web and come up with a more moderate and up-to-date statement. The question was raised again of women participating in Saudi expeditions.  The Germans seem to have women on their expeditions.  Martha Joukowsky commented that she has been in contact with Elizabeth Stone, who told her that National Geographic has invited her (Stone) to go to Iraq.  Martha's suggestion is that ASOR should think about sending Pierre Bikai to Baghdad to do a fact-finding tour. Pierre knows the director of the Museum and others. We do not know whether Dick Zettler can get in. The Americans are currently giving visas. There was some interest in sending Pierre Bikai to be ACOR/ASOR's representative in Iraq.  Some suggested that he and Elizabeth Stone visit Iraq and ask for a report back.  They will go independently.

BE IT RESOLVED that the Baghdad Committee is approved to spend $1,000 to send Pierre Bikai to Baghdad and report back to ACOR and ASOR. MOVED by Joe Seger; SECONDED. PASSED UNANIMOUSLY.

15.       Joe Seger reports for the Search Committee that there is a pool of applicants, and that the Committee will be meeting this weekend. The committee will follow up and set up its own procedures.

16.       P.E. MacAllister raised the issue of Hershel Shanks' response in BAR to ASOR. It was suggested that his response is important to discuss, but not in this venue. There was some further general discussion.  No action was taken but there was a consensus not to make an official response to Shanks.

17.       Meeting adjourned at 12:01 PM

The next meeting is scheduled for November 22, 2003 in Atlanta.

Respectfully submitted,

James Strange, Secretary