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Petition to William L Gertz, Stephen Rasch, Charity Commission, Michael Berry, Richard Resch, Mary Richardson, Sarah Olney, Felicity Buchan, Gavin Williamson

AIFS/CTCF - Preserve Sir Cyril Taylor's Richmond - The American University in London.

WARNING - NO DONATIONS ARE BEING SOUGHT NOR ASKED FOR BY THIS ALUMNI PETITION. ANY REQUEST YOU SEE IS FROM CHANGE.ORG TO SUPPORT THEIR PLATFORM. NO BANK ACCOUNT DETAILS HAVE BEEN PROVIDED, THEREFORE NO FUNDS WILL BE RECEIVED REGARDING THIS PETITION NOR REQUIRED.    This petition is directed towards the American Institute of Foreign Study AIFS (for-profit) and it's Chairman & CEO William L Gertz & The Cyril Taylor Charitable Foundation CTCF (charity) Chairman/Trustee/Counsel Stephen Rasch to preserve the mission and vision of the late Sir Cyril Taylor's Richmond University - The American International University in London (non-profit). Since 1972, thousands upon thousands of Alumni from around the world have contributed towards Richmond College's (now Richmond University - The American International University in London) unique heritage, culture, and legacy. This has continued with the current student body, many of which are children of Alumni.  To understand the problem on hand, quoting from the recent letter from Richmond University to new students due to start in January 2020 -> "The University has always relied on the generous support of its founder, Sir Cyril Taylor, but since his passing in 2018 we have not been able to secure long-term funding alternatives. The University is actively seeking potential partners and engaging with our alumni to find backing and support that will ensure long-term support for a remarkable institution." We do not fully understand the issues and relationships between the American Institute of Foreign Study (AIFS), The Cyril Taylor Charitable Foundation (CTCF), the Board of Trustees and the estate of the late Sir Cyril Taylor. Information was culled from a variety of sources and may not paint a true or complete picture. However, whatever the ownership and funding issues are on the part of AIFS (for-profit) and CTCF (charity) towards Richmond University (non-profit), it is our collective urgent plea for all concerned parties to do whatever best to preserve the future and physical identity of the school, campus, heritage, and legacy that we all identify, belove and have entrusted current and future generations with.  Partner institutes may be found, however, Richmond College/University is both Queen's Road in Richmond and St. Albans Grove in Kensington, it is our home away from home, it is the campus that we identify with.  We the undersigned petitioners urge for all parties concerned to put your differences aside and work this out amicably. Thanks in advance for taking the right steps to preserve Richmond College/University.   Steve Rasch Chairman CTCF and counsel to AIFS -srasch@loebblock.com William Gertz, Chairman AIFS and member of CTCF -wgertz@aifs.com 24 December 2019 To: The Cyril Taylor Charitable FoundationAttention: (1) Mr. William Leon Gertz, President and CEO(2) Mr. M. Stephen Rasch, Chairman Dear Sirs, 1.In 1972, Richmond College in London, which later became “Richmond American International University in London” (the “RAIUL”), was created by The Cyril Taylor Charitable Foundation (the “CTCF”) a UK registered charity founded by Sir Cyril Taylor. We understand that when Sir Cyril Taylor bought the Richmond College property for £300,000, it was subject to a restrictive covenant that the property in Richmond would only be used for educational purposes. Upon his death in 2018, the CTCF was valued at over £200 million. CTCF’s specific aim and purpose is “to support students of Richmond American International University in London and its future”. CTCF became the owner of AIFS. Sir Cyril Taylor wrote in his book as well as the CTCF charter his intentions to support RAIUL. Thus, his clear intention and wishes should be respected and followed. 2. We understand that the majority of the CTCF Board is composed of members who have or have had some executive or commercial relationship with AIFS. Thus, if proven to be true, this means that there is a serious conflict of interest between the members of CTCF and those of AIFS. In addition, as CTCF is a registered UK charity, its members need to be fully independent and neutral in order to satisfy the “charity” designation. CTCF should support the RAIUL, as a registered charity, and fulfill its charter and not interfere in the management and governance of the institution. 3. Since the beginning of the fiscal year 1 July 2019, RAIUL had not received any charitable funding from CTCF. Further, since 1 July 2019 CTCF’s subsidiary AIFS withheld payments to RAIUL for health/safety/compliance under the commercial service agreement for the premises they own, and in which RAUIL occupies its premises in Richmond and Kensington for students, faculty and staff. 4. On 2 December 2019, a formal complaint against CTCF was filed by RAIUL’s President with the UK Charity Commission for CTCF’s actions to link together its CTCF charitable contributions and commercial transactions between its subsidiary American Institute for Foreign Study (AIFS) and RAUIL as a “package deal” and the withholding of their funds for health/safety and compliance. The CTCF’s Chairman stated that the charitable and commercial transactions to RAIUL would be a package approach at RAUIL’s Board meeting. 5. On 5 and 6 December 2019, both in writing and verbally, CTCF’s Chairman demanded the immediate resignation of the RAIUL President as a final condition of releasing any charitable funding from CTCF as well as AIFS payments for health/safety reasons. 6. Although throughout 2019, RAIUL had increased its student enrolment numbers, the withholding by CTCF/AIFS of funding created a crisis for RAIUL due to its reliance on their prior financial commitments to ensure programs and support services are delivered to students. CTCF/AIFS’s withholding of funds also impacted RAIUL’s regulatory requirements to ensure financial viability and sustainability and was impacting the health and safety requirements of their buildings. 7. On 5 December 2019, CTCF/AIFS finally agreed to provide partial funding for a charitable grant, donation and for compliance and to release funds from the CTCF. However, before CTCF would sign and release funds, CTCF had one last condition on 5 December 2019 which was to demand of RAIUL the immediate resignation of the President (who in fact had filed a complaint four days previously against them for their actions). 8. We understand that it was an explicit condition that funds would only be released in exchange for RAIUL’s President's immediate resignation. 9. CTCF’s position was that if the President did not resign immediately, they would not release any funding from neither CTCF nor AIFS to RAIUL. Had RAIUL’s President not resigned, then none of the funds would be released; this would have resulted in the immediate closure of RAIUL in January 2020 (versus a more managed and orderly transition, time for integration, or other options to continue). Closing RAIUL suddenly in January 2020, would immensely harm our students, faculty, staff without any regards to their welfare. 10. RAIUL’s President is the chief accountable officer, whose ultimate duty of care is to RAIUL’s students. It was on that basis that the President of RAIUL consented to the CTCF’s demands and pressures when he tendered his resignation. RAIUL’s Board of Trustees accepted RAIUL’s President's resignation on 6 December 2019. 11. We understand that the CTCF has a board meeting at the beginning of January 2020. Therefore, please discuss the contents of this letter at that board meeting, and please send us your decision no later than 17 January 2020 to richmonduniversityalumni@gmail.com . Time is of the essence. 12. We hope and trust that CTCF will do the right thing and immediately release all of the earmarked funds to RAIUL, without any further delays, to honour the wishes of the late Sir Cyril Taylor as well as to safeguard the continuation of Richmond American International University in London and not that over any commercial interests. Thank you for your consideration and support. Kind regards, The alumni of Richmond American International University in London cc: Charity Commission - whistleblowing@charitycommission.gov.ukcc: Michael Berry, Treasurer of CTCF and Executive of AIFS - mberry@aifs.co.ukcc: Chairman of the Richmond University Board of Trustees - Richard Resch - richardresch714@gmail.comcc: Vice Chairman of the Richmond University Board of Trustees - Mary Richardson - damemary@btinternet.comcc: Sarah Olney - Member of Parliament for Richmond - saraholneyrpnk@outlook.comcc: Felicity Buchan – Member of Parliament for Kensington – felicity@felicitybuchan.comcc: Gavin Williamson – Secretary of State for Education – gavin@gavinwilliamson.org Petition Link with over 1000 supporters - https://www.change.org/p/american-institute-for-foreign-study-aifs-preserve-the-heritage-and-culture-of-richmond-the-americal-university-in-london     

Richmond Alumni
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