Chuck Haralson and Ken Smith were inducted into the Arkansas Tourism Hall of Fame during the 43rd annual Governor’s Conference on Tourism
We reported in this week's edition about today's announcement of the free wireless Internet zone in the River Market neighborhood, a joint project of Aristotle and the Arkansas Young Professionals Network. Bully for them both. A fine project.
Coincidentally, the news arrived along with a leak to me of what appear to be an intriguing stack of e-mails among leaders of that same Arkansas Young Professionals Network. It happens that the leadership of AYPN shares many members of the group that recently engineered a takeover of the Young Republicans of Arkansas. Internal politics of both AYPN and the YRs of Arkansas are much discussed in these notes. Among other things, the e-mails include criticism of ousted YR president Leslie Rutledge for her contribution to this blog on a YR trip to campaign for Mike Huckabee in Iowa. Sorry, Leslie. And thanks again.
David Fort, a former director of AYPN, was elected president of the YRs in August. Randell Shelton, a director of AYPN was elected first vice chairman of the YRs. The notes also mention plans for a coming JP race by another Republican member of the e-mail group, William Porterfield, AYPN's current executive director.
You might conclude from reading these e-mails that the leadership sees a strong AYPN, though non-partisan, as complementary to political aims. It's reminiscent of nothing so much as Jaycees back in the day. Word of caution to AYPN: A lot of power-hungry Jaycee leaders came to bad ends.
Says an e-mail written by AYPN director William Porterfield: "We need to concentrate on making AYPN a MACHINE ... indestructible by common men!"
And speaking of men: An e-mail from one AYPN officer discussing AYPN elections in February remarked about possible candidates for a particular AYPN office: "In order to keep people from thinking our organization is discriminatory, we should probably appoint a female to this position. And since we have a choice, she might as well be attractive." A man got that job in the end, but the group's website lists women as head of the social committee and the professional development committee.
E-mails also discuss ways to maximize publicity for the AYPN on today's wi-fi news. Said one e-mail discussing a desire to discourage Aristotle from talking about the project to a reporter before today's news conference:
"I think we should ask her to hold it until we do the full release. For a few reasons: first, we want to control the news cycle on the releae of this project; second, if they're interviewing her my bet is the story will be about Aristotle and not AYPN -- do we really want that to be the opening story for this project? Also, they will leave an important soon to be announced partner -- the Clinton Library (I really don't like typing that) -- not to mention several others."
I received no response to requests for responses from three AYPN officers.
UPDATE: Go to the jump for some organizational fallout from the story.
UPDATE II: Blake Rutherford's blog goes where we dare not, a minute dissection of this trove of frat boy eruptions.
A LETTER CIRCULATED AMONG AYPN OFFICERS AND COPIED TO ARK. TIMES
Dear AYPN Board and Social Committee,
Yesterday evening the following Arkansas Times Blog posting was brought to my attention: http://www.arktimes.com/blogs/arkansasblog/2007/10/networking_behind_the_scenes.aspx#comments
I have been a member of AYPN since 2003 and in leadership since 2004. Past boards have worked together to make AYPN as great resource for Young Professionals in Central Arkansas. This past year I have recognized that there were problems/concerns and have struggled to work with many members on the board, but after reading this, I am completely stunned by the written evidence of certain board members’ attitudes. I now know that I am wasting time in this organization.
I will not be your token woman on the AYPN Board and have, along with my Chair, Andrea Rabeneck, and Co-Chair, Bethany Hoffpauir, decided to resign from the Board of AYPN.
I wish that this sad news that has been brought to the attention of many will not completely destroy AYPN and prevent future young professionals from benefiting from it. I encourage the current leadership of AYPN to be more inclusive and reach-out to young professionals of all backgrounds and political affiliations and not discriminate based on someone's sex, race, political affiliation, or other characteristic.
- Yolanda Hugg
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