A Call for the Removal of Ms. Bobbie Beth Scoggins as President of the National Association of the Deaf (NAD)
Dear Board Members of the National Association of the Deaf,
I call upon the Board of the NAD to undertake a due process hearing in order to remove Ms. Scoggins from her position as President of the NAD.
One basis for my call for Ms. Scoggins’ removal falls under Article Four (4.14) of the Bylaws of the NAD which governs the Board of Directors. This states: “no member with a personal or financial interest of a material nature in the affairs of the Association shall be eligible to serve on the Board of Directors of the Association.”
The NAD has a close relationship with Communication Services for the Deaf (CSD), a long time major sponsor of the NAD and a significant sponsor of the 2012 NAD Conference. Ms. Scoggins is currently the Chief Operating Officer of CSD. CSD has a close relationship with Governor Daugaard of South Dakota. The relationship between Gov. Daugaard, CSD, and Ms. Scoggins’ position as an executive officer of CSD casts questions upon her objectivity.
The membership cannot be confident in her ability to remain wholly objective in meditating communications between the membership and the Board given her personal and financial stake in the matter as an employee of an organization that has a close political relationship with Governor Daugaard. The membership is not confident in her ability to remain objective in order to make decisions that puts the NAD and its membership first and foremost.
Gov. Daugaard is a divisive figure who serves the antithesis of the NAD’s core values and missions. One core mission of the NAD is to preserve schools for the deaf. Gov. Daugaard oversaw the closing of the South Dakota School for the Deaf. Gov. Daugaard has also acted in ways that exclude or narrow civil and human rights which is in contrast to the NAD’s core value of inclusion and diversity.
There is clearly a personal conflict of interest that may be and is interpreted as one of a material nature between Ms. Scoggins’ employ at CSD, its relationship with Gov. Daugaard in South Dakota, and her service as President of the NAD.
Furthermore, according to 4.13, elected members may be removed…”for other good and sufficient reason.” Ms. Scoggins has damaged the public’s trust in her by failing to give careful thought to the public image of the Association in the view of the public. By doing so, she has damaged the reputation of the Association and its standing amongst civil rights organizations. As President, she bears the penultimate responsibility for the selection of speakers and the public image of the organization among other responsibilities. She authorized the selection of a highly divisive political figure to present at the NAD conference without sensitivity to the diverse composition of the NAD membership or to understand the deeper nuances of the significance of giving a prominent platform to someone with Gov. Daugaard’s record on civil and human rights.
By overseeing and authorizing the selection of Gov. Daugaard, Ms. Scoggins has failed to honor and uphold the motion passed on diversity at the January 2012 NAD Board Meeting in Louisville, KY.
On the basis of the language of the diversity motion, Gov. Daugaard’s invitation works against the building and maintaining of a totally inclusive environment. This invitation also works against expanding membership, participation, and leadership that reflect the diversity of the American deaf community. This invitation also clearly does not adhere to the highest standards of diversity and inclusiveness. This invitation demonstrates that the Board did not work closely with all affiliates to further this commitment. Ms. Scoggins, as President of the NAD, has a duty to uphold the motions passed by the Board.
I call for the immediate removal of Ms. Scoggins as a demonstration that the NAD is committed to honest, open, transparent leadership absent of conflicts of interest along with diversity and inclusion. There cannot be questions as to whether our President is serving her employer’s interests in regard to the Governor or the Association’s best interests. This must be addressed before the Conference and irreparable damage is done.
The relevant bylaws:
§ 4.13 Removal from Office.
Elected and appointed Board members may be removed after due process hearing for failure to carry out their duties or for other good and sufficient reason by a two thirds (2/3) vote of the Board of Directors present and voting.
§ 4.14 Conflict of Interest.
No member with a personal or financial interest of a material nature in the affairs of the Association shall be eligible to serve on the Board of Directors of the Association.
The diversity motion in full which was motioned, seconded, and passed:
“The National Association of the Deaf (NAD) embraces diversity and inclusiveness as one of its core values in achieving its mission. We are committed to:
-encompassing a wide range of human abilities and perspectives that includes, but are not limited to language, culture, race, gender, age, sexual orientation, ethnicity, religion, national origin, disability, and socioeconomic status
-building and maintaining a totally inclusive environment where differences of opinions, beliefs, and values are sought, listened to, respected, and valued
-expanding membership, participation, and leadership that reflect the diversity of the American deaf community; and
-enhancing its policies and practices to adhere to the highest standards of diversity and inclusiveness, and to work closely with all affiliates to further this commitment.”