The Michigan Chapter of CPSR is a virtual chapter, the first of its kind in CPSR. It came into existance in the summer of 1997 through the active support of Netiva Caftori, the Midwest Regional Director of CPSR who created a listserv; and through the continuing interest of several "electronic" CPSR members in Michigan. Since our members were spread diversely throughout the state, a physical chapter was deemed impossible. Our efforts went instead toward the formation of a virtual chapter.
Our electronic communication methods consist of
Since CPSRMICH is a virtual chapter, subscribers are welcome from the entire world. We especially encourage by the "unchaptered" among CPSR'ers.
At the end of March, CPSR implemented an electronic notification service for its website to notify subscribers about changes made to the pages. In mid-April, Excite and LookSmart! picked up and indexed some of our web pages. We have requested Yahoo! to review and list our site.
Our first chapter meeting of the quarter was, in fact, a nonvirtual meeting. It took place in Ypsilanti at Eastern Michigan University on the afternoon of Saturday, January 10, 1998 (scheduled to allow travel time for our more distant members). Nathaniel Borenstein (Special Director of CPSR) gave a lively presentation of the then-current draft of the One Planet, One Net principles.
We received some media coverage, primarily from the Ann Arbor News, WEMU (Eastern Michigan's Public Radio Station), and Michigan Public Radio. Most of us were pleasantly surprised at the degree of public interest in issues of computer technology and the Internet. The twenty-some participants included many who were not members of our virtual chapter.
In response to concerns about CPSR members without Web access or otherwise left out of CPSRMICH activities, we decided to write them a physical newsletter asking whether and how they want to fit in. This newsletter will be ready soon.
We have experimented with virtual decision-making. Questions arose such as "What is a virtual quorum"? and "Are those who have not responded via e-mail or in the conference being disenfranchized?" These questions have not been fully answered, but consensus was reached on the following.
Another process that required virtual decision making was the selection of chapter officers. We decided to combine the offices of the secretariat and treasury and create an office of web administration. Some members felt that it would be symbolically appropriate for a virtual chapter to leave the office of chair vacant. Eventually, however, we achieved consensus on the decision to fill all offices.
In mid-March, CPSRMICH members submitted a list of potential press contacts in Michigan.
Some of us have sent email or snailmail messages to state and national representative about issues of concern, including the "No Electronic Theft Act" and "Digital Era Copyright Enhancement Act"
Netiva Caftori has informed us that there are many "geographically challenged" CPSR'ers in the midwest and has asked if we would invite the "electronically advantaged" among them to participate in chapter activities. I suspect that CPSRMICH members will discuss this issue next quarter. As for myself, I would welcome members from across the Midwest, the nation, and the world. Perhaps part of our mission will be to provide a chapter home for those without one.
John M. Dwyer, Chair, CPSRMICH
Back to CPSR-Michigan Home Page.
Chapter Contact: Steve Weiss
Web Administrator: Terry Gliedt
last updated: 25 June 1998