Request to the Alumni Association

Operating Year: 
Board Interest: 

By: Herb Bowie

Date: Sep 19, 2018

Document Status: Draft

After much deliberation, I have decided to make an official request of the Alumni Association of the University of Michigan.


  1. The Alumni Association of the University of Michigan (AAUM) is an independent organization from the University of Michigan, with its own board of directors;
  2. Each regional University of Michigan alumni club is also its own separate legal entity, each governed in turn by its own board of directors;
  3. Clubs are now operating under the expectation that they forgo collection of any club membership dues, but instead ask their local alumni to become members of the AAUM, and to pay their dues to that organization, thus establishing a tight financial relationship between the clubs and the AAUM;
  4. Although we loosely say that the regional clubs are chartered by the AAUM, and affiliated with the AAUM, no official documentation of any kind exists to establish what those terms mean, either in any sort of binding legal sense, or even in more practical, day-to-day terms;
  5. Governance of the AAUM is currently accomplished in a fairly closed and opaque manner, without any publication of an annual report, a strategic plan, its charter, its bylaws, or any agendas/minutes from its board meetings, effectively excluding club leaders, as well as AAUM members and alumni in general, from gaining timely knowledge or, or providing input to, AAUM leadership discussions;
  6. Although a Clubs Council was operated in the past to provide representation of the clubs to the Association, that body was disbanded several years ago by the AAUM;
  7. As might be expected, given the points above, misunderstandings frequently arise as to the established rights and obligations of the AAUM in respect to the clubs, and the rights and obligations of clubs in respect to the AAUM;
  8. These misunderstandings often seem to lead to unnecessarily tense working relationships between club leaders and AAUM staff, since reporting relationships are entirely unclear.


I request that:

  1. The AAUM provide support to the clubs to help re-establish the Clubs Council;
  2. Once established, that AAUM work with Clubs Council to define and implement regular working relationships between the Clubs Council and AAUM leadership;
  3. Once implemented, that the Clubs Council works with AAUM leadership to establish some formal documents defining the relationship between the AAUM and the regional clubs (including processes for amending those same documents).

Thank you in advance for your kind and thoughtful consideration of these requests.