Steering Committee Report

Although many SWET operating decisions are discussed and made entirely online, the Steering Committee does meet from time to review policy and to firm up implementation.

The SWET Steering Committee (SC) met on February 9, 2003. Hugh Ashton, Becky Davis, Phil Ono, Bob Poulson, Lynne Riggs, Doreen Simmons, Fred Uleman, and Cynthia Yenches attended. A number of other SC members sent regrets, and some used proxies to make their views known.

Poulson began the meeting with the treasurer’s report showing that SWET had taken in approximately ¥939,000 and spent approximately ¥640,000 in the ten months that he had been treasurer. Including past surpluses, SWET currently has about ¥2.5 million in Tokyo-based accounts. The Kansai chapter and U.S. accounts also show surpluses. However, we are acutely aware of the expenses involved in publishing the [em]SWET Newsletter[/em], operating the SWET-L list, maintaining the Web site, and publishing the annual directory. In addition, members expect meetings and other events. We have obligations, and it is prudent to have reserves. We are looking not for ways to spend money but for ways to benefit members.

Keith Wilkinson reported by proxy that membership stands at 190, with 171 in Japan and 19 overseas.

In response to a member’s query about transferring her membership, Ashton suggested corporate memberships. Under the proposed scheme, an organization would be permitted to join SWET for ¥10,000 per year and appoint one contact person to receive a corporate issue of the [em]SWET Newsletter[/em] and other mailings. In addition, three members of the organization could attend SWET events at member rates. In effect, the additional two people are half-price members because they do not receive individual copies of SWET publications and mailings. The organization would also be able to designate a different contact person in the event of personnel changes. This proposal was adopted.

Holly Ueda, who managed the 2002 Book Fair, suggested by proxy an autumn date for the 2003 event. This was approved, and she will make arrangements with Temple University.

Riggs explained the advantages of the new Kamiyachō meeting site, which is very reasonably priced, convenient, and pleasant. (The SC meeting was held in a small meeting room, and we also viewed the larger rooms.)

Riggs also reported that most members seem to prefer Saturday afternoons for meetings, and she will arrange programs for the fourth Saturday of every month except August and December. She specifically requested that the meeting report state that she did not intend to be the exclusive organizer of SWET events. Rather, she hopes to work with other members to bring ideas to the SWET stage. Monthly Saturday meetings will be held from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m., and the room remains reserved for one hour thereafter for people who want to socialize. If you are interested in helping organize SWET monthly meetings on a regular basis or have an idea for a meeting speaker or topic, please contact Riggs. All SWET members are encouraged to organize SWET events in Tokyo or elsewhere, but please keep the SC informed to avoid scheduling and topic conflicts. For use of the Kamiyachō venue, please work through Riggs for reservations.

In addition to monthly Saturday afternoon meetings, SWET is hoping to arrange workshops in 2003. Someone must be responsible for coordinating this effort. Riggs can help with logistics, but lining up qualified instructors is difficult. If you would be willing to do this, please speak up.

Nina Raj, who has been the SWET address of record for many years, would like to pass the torch. This is a low-intensity, high-importance job, and we will contact a few candidates and report back.

Starting with issue 101, [em]SWET Newsletter[/em] editing and production will be handled by a six-person team of experienced professionals. However, all SC members and non-SC SWET members should consider themselves acquisition and contributing editors. If you want to write something, tell us. If you can ask someone else to write something, tell us. The editorial and production team has agreed to be responsible for four issues (one year), with a renewal option. Even if they all decide to continue, we will need replacements soon. If you are interested in understudying, [url=]let the [em]SWET Newsletter[/em] team know[/url].

Copyright is an important issue for all writers, editors, and translators. At present, authors retain full copyright to material they submit to the [em]SWET Newsletter[/em] while allowing the [em]SWET Newsletter[/em] one-time print rights. This policy will be made more explicit with issue 101.

Ono conveyed Web master and Web Committee Chair Sako Eaton’s ideas for the still-unfinished SWET Web site. Eaton wants the site to feature original Web-only content, with the aim of attracting more visitors and thereby gaining new members for SWET. This content could center on Web- and Internet-related articles. There were fears of cannibalizing the [em]SWET Newsletter[/em] for content for the Web site, but the Web Committee is not planning to do that. When Ono was questioned on the role of the Web site in addition to the posting of announcements, he suggested an on-line archive of [em]SWET Newsletters[/em]. That led to an in-depth discussion of copyright issues.

The draft copyright assignment form for the Web site needs work. The Web Committee will seek professional legal advice. SWET needs a flexible form that allows authors maximum rights to their material while being explicit about what SWET can do with their intellectual property.

As part of the Web site content discussion, it was agreed that SWET needs a Web content editor to ensure that material posted on the site is at the very least grammatical, spelled correctly, and reflective of professional English-language publishing standards. It was also agreed that archival announcements of past meetings should be rewritten to reflect the fact that they are past (e.g., taking out contact information).

Riggs volunteered to coordinate another survey of members asking about their expectations of SWET and how SWET could better meet those expectations. Please contribute when you are contacted.

Poulson made a final statement in which he said that the current SC is unwieldy and inefficient in making decisions and proposed that five “executive directors” be appointed to two-year terms (with two of the initial five serving only one-year terms so that the society would have both change and continuity of leadership) and empowered with decision-making, rather than consensus-establishing, authority. It was counterproposed that SWET is not broken, that it does not need fixing, that anarchy has its place, that the lack of structure is part of SWET’s character, and that such a radical change would render SWET not-SWET. The proposal was withdrawn.