Thursday, April 12, 2007

Recent letter from Mary Margaret Mallat

Can you believe how arrogant they are? They're cracking, and we need to keep up the pressure.

Subject: ASIJ Board of Directors
Date: April 12, 2007 2:52:33 AM CDT
To: Mike Yong


Since the board has not yet convened since our last communication there is nothing further to report to you. When the board has completed its deliberations and a decision has been finalized an appropriate announcement will be made. Until that time the school administration and the board continues to collect information to arrive at an appropriate decision. Included in that process are your views and the views of others who have expressed an opinion.

Mary Margaret Mallat
Chair, ASIJ Board of Directors

Mike Yong wrote:
Dear Ms. Mallat:

You have failed to respond to my previous email, and it has been almost a week.

Should you continue to ignore warnings, I will be taking appropriate actions to notify other alumni about where this money is coming from, and the Board's arrogant refusal to listen to demands for transparency.

As I have already mentioned to you, a group of alumni have already begun a campaign in opposition to the acceptance of this donation. We have a petition, and as of this writing we have 136 alumni signatories - and growing. It's online at We are all appalled that this is even on the discussion table, and we strenuously urge you not to take it. We remain convinced that acceptance of this donation is a moral offense which will tarnish the reputation of the school.

You may be interested in the final line of our petition in particular, where we state that we understand any acceptance of this money as a refusal to listen to our concerns, and will thereafter refuse to donate a single cent.


Mike Yong


yusei said...

this is what you call condescending.. i was just on the phone with michael dickison (skype is great!) and we were co-editing the letter to send to Mr. Ryu to befriend him before he becomes unaccessible. hope he writes back.

Leo said...


I sympathize with your cause but judging from the language of this correspondence I think you come across as the arrogant one.

"Should you continue to ignore warnings" -- you're not going to persuade anyone with threats.

I also don't see how a decision to take the money equals a refusal to listen to your concerns. It seems to me that they are already listening. Don't discourage them.

Try a little tact. You will be taken more seriously if you remain polite and respectful. Accept that others have differing opinions and take advantage of the opportunity for discussion of the issue.

Leo Lombardo '00

Mike Yong said...

Hi Leo, thanks for your opinion, not to be too forward but strategically I don't think you get the point. There are many people pursuing this campaign on many different levels - some nice and sweet, and some mean. Many people who still work for the school or are students there are sweet-talking the Board and Tim Carr. We need to do what they can't: that is, really express how irritating this donation is. We need to show the broad range of perspectives on this issue.

We shouldn't pretend that it's okay for the institutions which govern our lives not to be transparent. It's not. And what is essentially arrogant about Mallat's correspondence is that a group of people concerned about the school, alumni, have asked for written confirmation of the donation. And the Board has refused to be transparent to the very people to which it is beholden. It is a callous and arrogant refusal.

If you have been involved in this campaign, you should know that they have not been listening. Most people involved in this will stand behind me when I say that every attempt to have a 'conversation' with the Board has only resulted in their backtracking and continued attempts to complicate the situation to justify the fact that they really, really want this money.

We're not looking to persuade with threats - that's not it at all. We're looking to persuade by good old democratic action. You also completely misunderstand what we're asking for when you say that "I don't see how a decision to take the money equals a refusal to listen to your concerns." That's not what we asked for. We asked for a written confirmation that a subsidiary of Poongsan Corporation will be building the lights, and for a written statement on the Board's intentions regarding this matter. And they refused. They have been totally opaque, they have not been forthcoming with any information, and it's not right. If you believe at all in democracy it's not right.

I don't know if you have any experience with organizing or dealing with large institutions, but I do, and to be quite frank, going along with what they want is not always the best tactic. Sometimes it's good to be mean, and it scatters the system because they just don't know what to do with it. We have to be taken seriously: we are 143 people.

I'd love to continue this debate - feel free to email me personally.