Will the Alumni Association change its name, how and when?
We will consider a name change and (other) charter changes with regards to decision making at the next planned General Assembly at the September Homecoming 2023. To pass changes to the charter, a two-thirds majority of all present regular members is required.
More details will be shared throughout the year.
What influence do members of the association have on decisions made by the association?
Decisions of the association are made by two different bodies, depending on the subject matter. Some decisions are made by the Alumni Association Board, while other decisions are made by the Alumni Association members participating in the GA. You influence decisions of the board in two ways 1) by voting for your board members, and 2) by informally giving feedback and input to the board members through available channels (i.e. conversations, social media).The direct way members can influence decisions is by participating in the GA in conversations and by vote. Important decisions (e.g. charter changes, name change) with regards to the Alumni Association are made at the GA with the members of the association.
What influence do members of the association have on decisions made on the Jacobs/Constructor University Board level?
Members of the Alumni Association only have an indirect influence on decisions made at the university level. While the Alumni Board takes the Alumni member opinions into consideration, the final decision making is done by the Jacobs Alumni & Friends GmbH representative (in this case the Alumni Association President with support from the Alumni Association Board and Board Advisors) with the continuity of the university in mind.
We are currently exploring if and how this can be done differently in the future.
What is our role as the minority shareholder of Jacobs University Bremen gGmbH?
The Alumni Association e.V. is not a shareholder of Jacobs/Constructor University Bremen gGmbH (the university). Shareholders of the university are Schaffhausen Institute of Technology Genossenschaft (66.67%), Reimar Lüst Stiftung (16.67%) and Jacobs University Alumni & Friends Stiftung GmbH (16.67%). The Alumni Association e.V. is majority shareholder of Jacobs University Alumni & Friends Stiftung GmbH, the university itself being the minority shareholder. Thus, the Alumni Association e.V. is only an indirect (minority) owner of the University. As a shareholder of the university the Jacobs University Alumni & Friends Stiftung GmbH is represented by the president of its Stiftungsrat (advisory board). The respective acting president of the Alumni Association e.V. is a member of the Stiftungsrat, often (and currently), but not necessarily, presiding over the latter. Visuals and more will be shared once we have found the optimal way to present it.
Where do I find the communication that was sent about the decision on the Board of Trustees?
See the PDF communication we sent on November 8th 2022.
A part of the community has expressed dissatisfaction with the Alumni Board’s representation of members of the Alumni Association. What is the board’s response? What is the Board aiming to change in the future?
We see the comments of members and non-members of the association on various social media platforms and in personal conversations. We understand that some of the dissatisfaction is fueled by a confusion of the responsibilities of the board and our role in the governance of the university.
Until now, the legal structure and resulting voting procedure was not fully understood, even by this and prior Alumni Association Boards. There was no acute need to do so until now either, as such a big decision as the name change is not often taken. As a result, this has not been represented adequately to all Association members. This is a shortcoming we are looking to rectify in the next few months. You can see this represented in a few questions in this FAQ and we will share more as we dive deeper.
Rest assured that we read through all your comments and emails carefully to better understand the current shortcomings. To continuously do better, the board has reevaluated priorities, focusing on more transparent communications, more inclusive decision making, and clarification of the structures. We always strive to uphold the alumni guiding principles so we can fulfill our purpose of supporting the university, current students and alumni.
Could members of the alumni association force the election of a completely new board or individual board members? If so, how?
Purpose of the Alumni Association
The purpose of the Association is the advancement of education, science and research, including the support of students. The purpose of the Association is realized through the financial and material support of students, including the funding of scholarships as well as the support of Jacobs University Bremen in the pursuit of its statutory purposes.Alumni Association Charter §3.1
The Board is elected to make the necessary actions and decisions to fulfill this purpose and its realization.
Board election and recall provisions
The charter of the Alumni Association defines that Board members serve on a 3-years term starting from the day of their election. If a Board member retires (leaving office for whatever reason) before the end of the term, the Board can elect – with a ⅔ majority – a regular association member to take on this role in the interim until the next general assembly (GA).
A GA can be called by 10% of the members of the Association in writing, stating the same specific reason(s) for the GA. In writing means a signed letter (to: Jacobs University Bremen Alumni Association e.V., Campus Ring 1, 28759 Bremen), and preferably also via email to email@example.com so that we can process it faster. This can be done collectively through a signature list, which must include the name, signature or date of birth, and @jacobs-alumni.de email address to verify membership status.
We currently have 1940 members (Dec 2022), this means 194 members are needed to call a GA. The Board then determines the date, time, and location of the GA. Invitations to a GA including the agenda need to be sent to the latest known email address of all members at least four weeks prior to the GA. Once a GA is called, each member can request an extension of the agenda no later than one week (7days) prior to the GA.
Among the tasks of the GA are the election, recall, and the discharge of the Board. The charter does not specify any limitations to or necessary conditions for recalling specific board members or the board as a whole. The GA is quorate (competent to make decisions) if at least ten regular members are present. Members eligible to vote are regular members present or regular members who have delegated their vote. Associated and honorary members are not eligible to vote. Generally, decisions of the GA are made by simple majority of members eligible to vote. Details on how to delegate a vote are highlighted in paragraph 9.5 of the charter. A ⅔ majority is needed for amendments of the charter.
What happens if the entire board gets recalled? Every association is required to have a board through which the association can act (Paragraph 26 (1) BGB). The charter of the association requires the board to at least consist of a president, a vice-president, a treasurer, and a secretary.
While recalling the entire Board is a valid motion, this would lead to the e.V. being incapacitated. As a result the local district court will have to get notified by a member and they will eventually appoint an emergency Board. A responsible recall should be on a position by position basis, immediately followed by a motion to appoint an interim Board member for this position, who will be in office until the next elections can be held.
Does the university maintain and process its own Alumni data?
The Alumni Association holds the Alumni database, containing information about members of the Association. There are about 4000 non-member alumni, of whom the Alumni Association does not store any information.
If you want to be removed from all alumni and university communications we can remove you from the email lists. Please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org from your @jacobs-alumni.de address with the subject “Data Transfer Consent Revocation”. If you have other issues signing into your jacobs email, please contact email@example.com.
How can alumni obtain Jacobs University merchandise?
The board has found an alumni vendor. More details will be shared soon. In the meantime you can proclaim your interest through this form.
Interest is not an order. It just helps us understand the scope of the interest and makes sure we contact you once a process is in place.