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Banning Sir Jamus
[05/20/2003] [Randall]

It is occasionally difficult to be a rabble rouser. Sometimes, you don't want to kick things up because you're not in the mood. Sometimes, you climb to the top yourself and any kicking will bring yourself crashing down. And sometimes, just sometimes, someone does something wrong that you agree with. This is the case in the VSR situation in which a problem player was improperly banned by the Board of Directors.

Don't get me wrong -- I'm against people breaking the law at Amtgard events. This includes underage drinking, stealing, and various other crimes; it definately includes the use of illegal drugs at the park where Amtgard plays. If someone at my park were guilty of such a crime, I'd be upset and might call the police if it created a disturbance. If they were a club officer, I'd be urging for their dismissal.

The facts in the VSR case are pretty cut and dry. Sir Jamus admitted to using illegal drugs at the local Amtgard park during an Amtgard event. He was then banned from playing Amtgard for six months, which incidentally led to his removal as champion. This is all well and good, except the body that conducted his trial and removal wasn't allowed to ban him, remove him, or even talk sternly to him. That's because the VSRBOD did it.

The Corpora is crystal clear on the matter because it says that the Board of Directors has no jurisdiction over internal group functions. If VSR wants to ban a member from playing, it has a perfectly good Captain of the Guard who can escort Sir Jamus across the street whenever he shows up. Since the Captain serves completely at the discretion of the king, it is ultimately the king who can ban anyone, for any reason, at any event over which he reigns. This also means a king cannot ban someone for six months; he can only ban them until the end of his reign.

Some may think that the Board can adjudicate problems involving the law, but the wording of the Corpora still says they have no jurisdiction over internal affairs. If the law does become involved, the Board may work with the king in dealing with the mundane authorities -- and here is where the wording becomes suspicious. The king is already on the Board! Expressly stating that the Board must work with the king is evidence enough that the Corpora retains banning authority to the sovereign monarch and only includes the Board because the Board is the legally-recognized representative of the kingdom.

The Corpora also says how to remove club officers. Banning the officer may incidentally lead him to miss enough weeks to be ousted from office, but this method of bypassing the rules laid down by the Corpora is a little shady. Sir Jamus won, by right of arms, the Corpora-given right to serve as champion of the Kingdom of the Valley of the Silver Rains for six months. Unless Sir Jamus resigns, misses enough weeks, or is removed in accordance with the laws of Amtgard, he is the rightful champion of those lands.

VSR must tread carefully. First, it must be clear that the king, and not the Board, banned Sir Jamus from playing. Second, it must be understood that the king banned Sir Jamus for a good reason. The power of the king to bypass the officer removal process by simply banning the officer is tremendous, and could have disasterous consequences in the hands of an irresponsible monarch. For the time being, it sounds like VSR has acted with good intentions, but their good intentions are laying the foundation for bad precedents.

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