All in favor, say “aye”


Gene Veith has this interesting post about Gen. Henry Martyn Robert, author of Robert’s Rules of Order. Veith links to a WaPo article with some fascinating history, such as:

Learning something about parliamentary procedure involved reading a few books and making some notes, which [Gen. Robert] carried in his wallet for about four years.

When he moved to San Francisco, he encountered a city where prostitution was rife and Chinese laborers brought in to build the railroad were exploited, even chased by dogs for sport. Robert, a Baptist lay leader, was offended.

He joined the YMCA and several newly formed religious groups dedicated to relieving the plight of exploited souls, but he found that the city’s motley population had discordant notions about how to conduct meetings. San Francisco needed rules.

How do we help people, and make collective decisions in which the individual voice is respected while the consensus of the group is enacted? By having fair, orderly rules that everyone follows.

Next time I’m in a faculty meeting, I’ll remember that.

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