The first meeting of the UCC was held on Thursday, February 8, 2009 at the Sweet Library in Salt Lake City. This meeting was preceded by an extensive planning period carried out by members of the Board of the Tanner Center for Peace and Justice. See a list of those Tanner Center planners below. The use of the word Counsel rather than Council was deliberately chosen by the planners to stress the importance of engagement with the broader public.
The original UCC members at the 2009 meeting identified a list of issues that could be possible areas of consideration for the group in the future. These included nuclear arms proliferation/abolition, nuclear power and disposal of waste, environmental racism and classism, immigration reform, educational revitalization and reform, the death penalty, air quality and private/public transportation, global climate change, preservation of public lands and watersheds, discrimination on the basis of various aspects of difference, health care reform, and legislative ethics reform.
Members present at that meeting also discussed the potential workings of the group. The group decided that a quorum at a UCC meeting would consist of those present. Suggestions for further consideration included creation of a circle of associate experts who would provide extensive background research on issues selected by the UCC, selection of human rights-related issues that would be timely in a Utah context, use of a facilitator and modified consensus mode at various meetings; meetings that would demonstrate the link between human rights-related issues and the manner of their public consideration, and use of forums for interaction with the public both to receive input and to provide information.
Since the initial meeting, the UCC Board has selected several issues for study, consensus, and subsequent action. These have included legislative ethics reform, support for the START Treaty, non-partisan, principle-based post-Census redistricting, and more. Activities of the group in the intervening years are reflected in the group’s Position Statements.
The original UCC Board members included:
Emma Lou Thayne
Robert Powell , Graduate Asst.