Battle Lines

After watching its obstreperous affiliate all but ignore its last request, the American Civil Liberties Union has drawn yet another line in the sand for the Minnesota Civil Liberties Union, giving the MCLU until January 30, 1998, to let the national organization know exactly when and how it will change its election procedures. In October, the ACLU asked the MCLU to change its electoral bylaws, presumably before its annual meeting and board of directors' election on November 15. MCLU President Jules Beck, founder Matt Stark, and others challenged the resolution's accuracy, and replaced it with one giving the MCLU until next April to make any electoral changes.

The ACLU's newest resolution, passed November 22, restates its requests in highly detailed and slightly more stringent tones. It further states that the executive committee will decide at its January meeting if any further action--such as administrative probation--is required. In a letter to the MCLU enclosing the newest resolution, ACLU official Barry Steinhardt pointedly stated, "I would hope that there can be no question as to the resolution's accuracy."

The ACLU took this latest action despite the recent resignation of Stark after 30-plus years of oft-controversial MCLU leadership. Stark cited health reasons in his resignation letter, but insiders say Stark's move is little more than political maneuvering and that he will resurface as a board-of-directors candidate within the next year.

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