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MONA President Resigns Over ‘Cyber-Bullying’

MoNA logoThe president of Mothers of North Arlington resigned this weekend over members of the popular email listserv engaging in what she called “inappropriate and hateful speech.”

Tammy Burke Stember sent out an email to the MONA Yahoo! Group on Sunday afternoon declaring that she was resigning as president, effective immediately, after five years at the helm.

MONA’s Yahoo! Group has 2,615 members, and is open only to residents of the zips codes 22201, 22203, 22205, 22207,  22209 and 22213 for $40 in annual dues. The group — designed to serve mothers with member-to-member advice and information on things like playgroups and kid-friendly events — is apparently switching web platforms, which has caused some dissension in its ranks.

“This new system will serve us well for many years to come,” Stember wrote in her email, which was obtained by ARLnow.com. “Change is always difficult and we know that some will not agree with the changes.”

But, Stember went on to say, disagreements over the functionality of the new system escalated well past the point of polite discourse.

“Despite the disagreements, I have always thought that MONA is a great organization that is made up of mothers who care about each other and the community,” she wrote. “Unfortunately, the last few months have shown that is not true anymore. In all of my years serving in MONA, I have never seen so many members use inappropriate and hateful speech. Many of the MONA board members have been called names, and have been the victim of cyber-bullying. We teach our children to hopefully be productive, respectful members of society, but yet we as mothers do not do the same.”

A separate forum post asks MONA members to put their emails into a Google Doc in preparation for the MONA list-serve on Yahoo! being taken down.

“I sincerely hope that MONA will decide to keep the Yahoo Group alive,” the poster writes. “Nevertheless several of us have been discussing the situation offline and we’re concerned that in just a few days, for the first time in over 10 years, MONA members will no longer have the ability to communicate directly with the rest of the membership.”

“MONA is imploding,” suggested an anonymous tipster, in an email to ARLnow.com. “They botched [the] platform changeover.”

MONA’s co-president, Morgan Chinoy, declined to comment. The full text of Stember’s email, after the jump.

Dear MONA Members:

For five years I have had the privilege of serving in the MONA organization and building friendships that will last a lifetime. Over the last year, MONA has been building a new electronic system that will propel our organization into the future, by allowing us to communicate more effectively and allowing our many events to be scheduled timely. This new system will serve us well for many years to come.

Change is always difficult and we know that some will not agree with the changes. The board has asked for patience is allowing us to review all the concerns from members, none has been given. Despite the disagreements, I have always thought that MONA is a great organization that is made up of mothers who care about each other and the community. However, unfortunately, the last few months have shown that is not true anymore.

In all of my years serving in MONA, I have never seen so many members use inappropriate and hateful speech. Many of the MONA board members have been called names, and have been the victim of cyber-bullying. We teach our children to hopefully be productive, respectful members of society, but yet we as mothers do not do the same. Most members of MONA are wonderful women who I would be proud to call my friends and share a drink with. However, the events over this past week that have played out on Yahoo groups, have shown that the things we have worked so hard to teach our children, still reside among us.

What is the most frustrating thing about these events is that many of the members, who are complaining and calling for new groups to be formed, have never participated for one second in the organization. They have never bothered to read the many helpful emails MONA has sent out showing that the new system is better and easy to use. They have also never bothered to come to any meetings, but would rather conduct campaigns of disrespect and bullying from their arm chairs. They have also never seen the countless hours that we have put into the new system to make it better for all.

For these reasons, I am hereby resigning as President of MONA effective immediately. Our current Board has wonderful, caring members who actually want MONA to succeed and thrive, and I wish the best to them, as my friends, as they navigate the uncertain waters ahead. I urge all of our members to give them the support and the respect that they have earned.

Respectfully,
Tammy Stember

Photo via MONA

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