Carole Bell was formerly a member of American Mensa, until being removed from membership as a result of a national hearing. She has subsequently joined British Mensa, despite a rule from Mensa International prohibiting national Mensas from accepting members that were expelled from other national Mensas without approval of the International Board of Directors, because at the time British Mensa had no provision in its governing documents permitting such a restriction on acceptance of members; this "loophole" has since been plugged by amendment, preventing any future people in similar situations from joining as she did.
In 2001, Bell was elected to the post of International Director of Development, which made her a member of the International ExComm and a director of Mensa International Limited. At her first meeting in this position, she clashed considerably with the other members and was ruled out of order several times by chairman Dave Remine. After the meeting, she stayed on at the hotel in Switzerland beyond the days that were pre-paid by Mensa. On departing the hotel, she failed to pay the bill for those extra days, and this led to a political flap in Mensa whereby it was claimed by Remine that Bell was bringing Mensa into disrepute by such action. This led to Bell being suspended from her office pending a hearing at the next IBD meeting (to be held on October 6-7 in Budapest, Hungary) to determine her continued status. She, however, claimed that such a suspension was unlawful under English corporate law, and went to England to file a court action against Mensa seeking reinstatement and various monetary damages. At the hearing (for which she arrived just barely in time after taking a long, complicated railway journey, although Mensa had provided her an airplane ticket that she did not use), she was officially removed from her elected position.
Subsequently, she was brought up on a national hearing, filed by Gerry Riley, in American Mensa, held in New Jersey, at which she was expelled from Mensa membership for the "act inimical to Mensa" of bringing a dispute to an outside authority (the English court) before all internal means of resolution were exhausted. By then, she was spending most of her time in England, and eventually she joined British Mensa under the since-closed loophole that it had no provision permitting them to bar entry to expelled members from other countries, despite the International Mensa rules.
Her case was a hot topic of discussion on many Mensa political forums at the time, and still flares up there occasionally, similarly to the Judy Dosse hearings of the 1990s.
Notes and references
- Minutes of Executive Committee meeting of MIL in Zurich, Switzerland, August 10-12, 2001 (in file area of Unofficial-TRIBUNE list; requires list membership to access)
- Carole Bell claim transcript (in file area of M-Pol list; requires list membership to access)
- Minutes of the Meeting of the International Board of Directors of Mensa International in Budapest, Hungary, 6th-7th October 2001 (requires username/password for Mensa International site)
- Transcript of IBD hearing against Carole Bell (in file area of Unofficial-TRIBUNE list; requires list membership to access)