Backstory on AAUW Bylaws Change Proposal 3

Proposal 3 of the Proposed Bylaws Amendments is, fundamentally an editorial change that moves

  • Article IV. Membership and Dues
    • Section 2. Basis of Membership
      • Paragraph a. Individual Members
        • Subparagraph 2. Appeals of Refusal of Admission to Membership

to its own Paragraph — Paragraph d (after the paragraphs b.College/University members and c. Other Organizational Members). See the original text of the 2016 AAUW Bylaws (p 3-4) and the 2017 Voter Guide (p E16).

There is also some light editing to have it refer to college/university members (who do not present “credentials”).

I hope this will be accepted by the membership as a logical improvement to the bylaws.

There is a backstory, though.

This grew from a question I asked about the College/University members — “If they are an accredited institution and they pay their dues, they are members, right?” I was told the answer was “no” — an institution that worked against the mission of AAUW could be refused membership based on the language of IV.2a(2):

Any potential Individual Member or College/University Member who claims qualification for membership in AAUW and that has been refused admission to membership may present credentials to the Board of Directors for review. The decision of the Board of Directors shall be final.

With that answer, it was obvious to me that the paragraph needed to stand on its own and to be wordsmithed lightly:

Any potential Individual Member or College/University Member who claims qualification for membership in AAUW and that has been refused admission to membership may present credentials appeal to the Board of Directors for review. The decision of the Board of Directors shall be final.

This also seemed to answer some of the questions posed in the debate in 2009 on dropping the degree requirement: What if high school students wanted to join? What if a member gave memberships to all her grandchildren? This clarifies that edge cases can be disapproved by the board, and may give some comfort to those who feel that open membership is dangerous in some way.

Notes:

  • Full disclosure — the original question was in the context of trying to make the individual member requirements match those for C/U members.
  • Looking at it now, I think that “Individual Member or College/University”?could also be deleted. But as far as I know, there are no other “Organizational Members” and they are more apt to be subject to board scrutiny anyway.

Archive (in case aauw.org changes): 2016 Bylaws | 2017 Voter Guide

 

My comments on the bylaws

I happened to know that the Bylaws Committee would be getting a preliminary report with the submitted comments, so I made sure to get mine in early. You’ll find them here: Comments on 7.10.08 Proposed Bylaws

Enjoy. Let me know if you have comments.

Post your own comments: http://www.aauw.org/member_center/strategicProcess/

Participate in the AAUW WA discussion: http://aauw-bylaws.blogspot.com/

Institutional members – NOT

Proposed Article IV Membership and Dues

Section 1. Composition. Any individual or institution who supports the purpose and mission of AAUW may become a member of AAUW. The provisions set forth in this section are the sole requirement for admissibility to membership.

I’d delete the “or institution”. We’ve gone a long way to keeping it simple. Let’s do that!

I’d add a separate article that says that institutions may affiliate with AAUW (as “partners”? some other word?) and give the board the authority to define the terms of such an affiliation. [Businesses as well as educational institutions, etc.] But I’d remove institutions from any notion of “membership” except, perhaps, to say that a requirement of the affiliation is that the primary contact must be a member (in the ordinary, people, sense).

I’ve seen conflating institutions and people get us into hairy issues with how the data is stored on members. In my experience, C/U representatives¬† (the people) are the ones who can provide real benefit to the organization — through the branches, through their other contacts on campus, etc. — and we need to connect with them as people, not just through their institutional affiliation. For instance, it needs to be clear that C/U representatives can join branches — this gets less clear if it is “Mega State University” instead of “Professor Jane Doe” who is called the “member”.

8/18 update: Other open discussions are occurring on the web. No need to keep this “private”.