ASSOCIATION FOR HUMANIST SOCIOLOGY CONSTITUTION
As Amended February 9, 1979; March 1, 1980; January 30, 1985; March 1, 2000; October 30, 2003; and June 2012.
(For additional information on the operations and procedures of AHS, please consult the AHS Handbook).
Article I. Name.
This Association shall be known as the Association for Humanist Sociology.
Article II. Objectives.
This Association shall be a non-profit, scholarly, voluntary organization that shall provide a forum for sociologists concerned with the value-related aspects of sociological theory, research and professional life. It shall seek to extend the boundaries of humanist sociology through exploring connections among sociology and other disciplines.
In order to accomplish these objectives, the Association will carry out the mission statement of the organization, will hold conferences, publish a journal and a newsletter, and engage in related activities which will emphasize the examination of underlying value implications and moral and ethical dimensions of sociological inquiry. The Association will also explore possible connections among sociological perspectives and approaches and modes of analysis and findings of other social scientific and humanistic disciplines. The Association considers it an ethical responsibility of social scientists to contribute actively through their scholarly practice to improvements in the quality of human life, rather than merely to increase understanding of social reality as an end in itself.
Article III. Membership.
Section 1. Membership in the Association shall be open to academic and non-academic sociologists and to students of sociology concerned with the purposes of this organization. Membership shall also be open to persons in related disciplines who share similar concerns.
Section 2. There shall be two classes of full, voting membership: member and student member. Dues for each class shall be set by action of the Board of Directors. Only those whose annual dues are currently paid in full shall be considered as voting members. Special dues rates shall be provided by the Board for unemployed and retired members. All members in good standing shall receive the journal and newsletter of the Association.
Article IV. Officers.
Section 1. The officers of the Association shall be: President, President-Elect, Immediate Past President, Vice-President/Membership, Vice-President/Publications, Treasurer, Secretary, Editor of Humanity & Society, Editor of The Humanist Sociologist, Chair(s) of the Nominations Committee, and Regional Representatives.
Section 2. The President, Vice-President/Membership, and the Vice-President for Publications shall be nominated and elected in accordance with Article VIII below. The term of each shall be three years, with the President to serve one year as President-Elect, President and Immediate Past President. The Treasurer and the Secretary shall be appointed by action of the Board of Directors and approved by the membership on the next general election ballot following their appointment. The Treasurer and Secretary appointments shall be for a three-year term, and no more than six years in all consecutively. The Editor of Humanity & Society and the Editor of The Humanist Sociologist shall be nominated by the Editorials and Publications Committee and appointed by the President for a three year term, with re-appointment possible, *serving no more than six years consecutively.
Section 3. The President-Elect shall serve as such for one year and then shall automatically succeed to the Presidency for one year, and then to the position of Immediate Past President for one year. At the annual meeting one year in advance, the President-Elect shall present to the Board of Directors persons to serve on her/his Program Committee. The President Elect shall also present additional committee appointments, to be served during her/his presidential term, for review prior to the annual meeting when s/he becomes President. Such nominations are to be discussed by the Board; the decision of the Board on these appointments shall be final.
Section 4. The President shall preside at all business meetings of the Association, shall chair the Board of Directors, and shall perform all duties assigned to her or him by the Association membership and Board of Directors, including primary responsibility for the annual meeting during her or his term in office.
Section 5. The Immediate Past President shall work with the Vice President for Membership and other officers or committees in any ways which these officers, the President, or the Board shall feel to be helpful, in light of this officer's experiences for two years as an officer of the Association.
Section 6. The Vice-President/Membership shall chair the Membership Committee, and will have primary responsibility for all activities of the Association related to membership concerns. This will include the supervision of the activities of all regional representatives, the promotion of the concerns of the Association at as many related regional meetings as possible, and other duties outlined in Section 12 below. The VP for Membership shall also be responsible for maintaining an official mailing list of voting members of the Association, and the provision of this list to other officers as needed.
Section 7. The Vice-President/Publications will serve as chair of the Editorial and Publications Committee, and will have primary responsibility for all publications of the Association, including internet publications. These responsibilities include marketing, productions, the nominations of editors, webmasters/mistresses and monitors, the recommendation to the Board of new procedures or regulations, and other similar business. However, the editors of each publication will retain editorial control of the contents of these publications, subject to the regulations set out by the Board.
Section 8. The Secretary shall record actions of the Association and the Board of Directors, including the minutes of all Board and Membership meetings, shall work closely with the Association's various committees, and shall perform such other duties as the Board may assign. This shall include preparation of all mail and electronic ballots and referendums, appointment of Election Committee members, and the timely notification of all meetings of the members and of the Board of Directors.
Section 9. The Treasurer shall oversee the funds of the Association and their expenditures at the instruction of the Board of Directors. The Treasurer shall establish a bank account in the name of the Association, withdrawal from which shall be upon the signature of one member of the Association, who will ordinarily be the Treasurer. If withdrawals exceed $1,500.00 at a time, they shall require two signatures, of which at least one shall be that of the President or the Treasurer, and of which the other shall be that of a second officer of the Association. The Treasurer shall also be responsible for maintaining up-to-date non-profit tax-exempt status (501(c)(6) and 501(c)(3) of the organization.
Section 10. The Editors of Humanity & Society and The Humanist Sociologist shall nominate to the Board of Directors those whom she or he wishes to serve with her or him as Deputy, Associate, Book Review, or Audio-Visual Editors, or other such Editorial posts as may be created. Similarly the webmaster/mistress of the Association's website, and the monitors of AHS-talk, the Association's listserve, may nominate to the Board of Directors those whom s/he wishes to assist with their tasks. Upon approval of the Board, the President will appoint such editors. The Editor and her or his associates shall have control of the editorial contents subject to regulations outlined from time to time by the Board of Directors.
Section 11. Seven or more regional representatives shall be recommended by the Vice-President/Membership and appointed by the Board of Directors to two-year terms. They may be re-appointed for additional terms. Regional representatives are expected to attend the annual AHS meeting for an annual representatives' meeting chaired by the Vice-President for Membership. Each is authorized to appoint local committees, assistant to deputy regional representatives, or to make similar efforts with the approval of the Vice-President for Membership.
Section 12. Vacancies in any office other than that of President, President-Elect, Vice-President/Membership, or Vice-President/Publications shall be filled by the Board of Directors.In the event of a vacancy in the office of the President, the duties of that office shall be assumed by the Past President, with the Program Chair continuing to organize the annual meeting as planned for that year. The President-Elect will assume duties as specified in Section 13 at the end of the annual meeting. Vacancies in the office of President-Elect, Vice-President for Membership, and Vice-President for Publications shall be filled by a special election, conducted in the manner prescribed in this Constitution for election to that office, in Article VIII below. Until such elections can be held, the Board may appoint persons to act temporarily in such capacities.
Section 13. All terms of office shall begin at the close of the Fall annual meetings *except for the Chair(s) of the Nominations Committee, whose terms begin upon official determination of the election results. A person may serve only once as President-Elect, President, and Past President, except in the case of a premature vacancy of the President office, as specified in Article IV, Section 12. A person may be elected to no more than two terms in each of the Vice President positions; in the event of a premature vacancy, a person who held a Vice President position previously could be appointed by the Board for the interim period until the position is filled by a special election.
Section 14: All officers of the Association, editors and editorial board members, and all members of committees or other constituent bodies shall be voting members of the Association in good standing.
Section 15. No officer or member of the Association shall give the impression of speaking for the Association without the express authorization of the membership. Allegation of such a violation is to be referred to the Board of Directors for investigation and possible action. Actions which the officers and the Board of Directors may take without further authorization from the membership are outlined in the following sections and articles.
Article V. Board of Directors.
Section 1.The Board of Directors shall consist of seven voting members: the President, Vice-President/Membership, the Vice-President/Publications, President-Elect, Immediate Past President, Secretary, and Treasurer. Non-voting members of the Board shall include all other officers, and regional representatives provided for in Article IV, Section 1 and 11. The Board will supervise the affairs of the Association. Board actions shall be reported promptly to the membership in The Humanist Sociologist, on the website, and using other electronic media. The membership shall review, at the regular annual business meeting, the actions of the Board of Directors and, by a majority vote of those present, can call for a membership referendum of any decision made by the Board or any issue pending. The decision of the membership in a mail referendum shall be final.
Section 2. Regular meetings of the Board of Directors shall be held at such times as fixed by resolution of the Board of Directors. A majority of the Board shall be necessary for a quorum. No action shall be taken by the Board of Directors except upon the affirmative vote of a majority either in person or by proxy. Special meetings of the Board of Directors shall be held at any time on the call of the President or on the written notice of not less than a majority of the Directors. Notice of at least thirty days of any such meeting must be given to the membership of the Board by the person or persons calling a special meeting.
Section 3. All meetings of the Board of Directors shall be open to Association members as spectators. Association members may present suggestions to the Board at any meeting. The Board welcomes input from members as part of the participatory process toward decision making.
Section 4. Any Director may give his or her written proxy to any other Director to be exercised at any one meeting of the Board of Directors.
Article VI. Committees.
The Association shall have the following committees: Program, Nominations, Elections, Editorial and Publications, Membership, Book Award Committee, and Budget and Finance.
Section 1. The Program Committee shall have charge of planning and administering the annual conference for which it is established. This committee shall operate under the direction of the President or a person appointed by the President with the approval of the Board of Directors.
Section 2. The Nominations Committee shall consist of five members elected by the voting membership. The Nominations Committee shall have co-chairs. The President-Elect shall appoint a co-chair at the time of the election during her/his term from among those newly elected to a two-year term. This co-chair will share responsibilities with the current co-chair, and continue co-chair responsibilities during his/her second year. Election shall be for two-year staggered terms. No more than three persons shall be elected in any year to two-year terms; if there are more than three vacancies, those receiving the most votes shall be elected to two-year terms, with the remainder elected to one-year terms. The term for newly elected members shall begin upon official determination of the election results. An elected member of this Committee must make every effort to attend the annual meeting.
The Committee shall, by majority vote, name one candidate for President-Elect, and two candidates for each other office to be filled at the forthcoming election. The candidate for President Elect will be submitted to the Board of Directors, for review and approval. If the Board disagrees with a proposed candidate, the slate will be returned to the Nominations Committee for further nomination(s), until approval is reached. The ballot will always offer the option of a write-in candidate in place of the nominee. A nominee must be approved by a simple majority of those voting in order to assume the office. If a specific nominee is not approved, a follow-up election will be held for the President-Elect. The Nominations Committee shall be charged with making every effort to contact the membership to solicit names of people who are willing to serve in elected positions, with attention to seeking representation from all sectors of AHS membership.
Section 3. The Elections Committee shall consist of three members in one geographic area. The chair and the members shall be appointed by the Board of Directors. In an election, the Secretary shall send out ballots to the paid-up membership. Return envelopes or secure electronic response mechanisms will be provided which are addressed to the chair of the Elections Committee.[i] The Elections Committee will provide the members of the Board, Secretary, and the Treasurer with a report of all results, which shall then be reproduced and sent to all candidates. Candidates for the Nominations Committee receiving the most votes for the two or three positions shall be declared elected. Candidates for all other elected positions receiving a plurality of at least thirty-five percent of the votes cast for a given office shall be declared elected. If no one receives as many as thirty-five percent of the votes for any one office, the two candidates receiving the greatest number of votes for that office will be submitted to the membership in a run-off election.
Section 4. On the basis of nominations made by the Vice-President/Membership, the President may appoint each year a Membership Committee of as many members as seem useful, to be chaired by the Vice-President. Each year, this Committee shall be advisory to the Board on all matters concerned with membership activities.
Section 5. On the basis of nominations made by the Vice-President/Publications, the President may appoint each year an Editorial and Publications Committee of as many as five members, to be chaired by the Vice-President. This Committee shall be advisory to the Board on all matters concerned with publication activities.
Section 6. The Book Award Committee shall consist of no fewer than three and no more than four members appointed by the President Elect in consultation with the Vice President for Publications. The Book Award Committee is charged with selecting the recipient for the AHS Book Award and conveying that selection to the Vice-President for Publications.
Section 7. The Budget and Finance Committee shall be chaired by the Treasurer, and consist of the VP of Publications, the Secretary, and the President. This Committee shall be advisory to the Board on all financial and budgetary matters of the Association.
Article VII. Meetings.
Section 1. The Association shall have at least one membership meeting and conference each year. A quorum at any business meeting of the Association shall consist of not less than ten percent of the members of the Association in good standing. Adequate time is to be scheduled at each annual business meeting so that the membership may consider all issues and concerns before the Association. On issues of policy, the business meeting can only submit its recommendation to a mail referendum. On other matters, the actions of the business meeting by a simple vote, shall determine whether or not a change in policy is involved and thus requires a referendum.
Article VIII. Elections.
Section 1. No persons may hold more than one office or appointive position of any kind in the Association at one time.
Section 2. All terms of office are to begin at the close of the annual fall meeting, except where designated otherwise in this Constitution and for replacement appointive positions—which shall begin immediately.
Section 3. Elections will be held in the Spring, before June, by mail ballots, and/or secure electronic means, which guarantee full membership participation. In The Humanist Sociologist prior to the annual meeting, and during the annual meeting, the Nominations Committee shall invite interested AHS members to send nominations and self-nominations to the Committee for consideration.
Section 4. Petitions for nomination or self-nomination may be presented at the annual business meetings before the election.The candidate must be in attendance at the annual meeting, or the annual meeting just previous, or the nomination shall not be accepted. If an accepted petition candidate does not become one of the two candidates proposed by the Nominations Committee, she or he shall be additionally listed on the mail ballot without distinction from the candidates of the Nominations Committee.
Section 5. Ballots for elective posts must be accompanied by a written statement from each candidate on personal/professional history, and a statement of program if elected.
Article IX. Finance.
Section 1. The Association shall be operated as a non-profit voluntary organization. No part of its income shall inure to the private benefit of any individual.
Section 2. Non payment of dues for six months past their due date shall be considered as equivalent to resignation from the Association. Only whose dues are paid-up shall have voting privileges.
Section 3. The Budget and Finance Committee shall prepare a proposed budget for each forthcoming calendar year prior to the annual business meeting of the Association. It shall be reviewed by the Board and then submitted to the annual membership business meeting for approval. Necessary interim changes in the adopted budget shall be made subject to guidelines established by the Board of Directors and shall be approved in advance by the Budget and Finance Committee.
Section 4. The budget, as adopted by the membership, shall be binding upon all officers and other members of the Association.
Section 5. The accounts of the Association shall be audited each year by the Budget and Finance Committee and shall be reported, in detail, to the membership through the newsletter.
Article X. Relations With Other Societies.
Section 1. The Association may affiliate itself, when appropriate, with other professional, research, and education bodies. It shall not affiliate itself with bodies related to political parties, commercial projects, or religious organizations.
Section 2. Regional and local groups of Association members may establish local branches upon application to the Board of Directors and with the approval of the Board of their plan of organization. Such recognition may be withdrawn by the Board of Directors and/or membership upon a vote at any time. No branch is empowered to speak for the Association or to contract financial obligations in the name of the Association. Each branch must be governed by the Constitution and by other rules and regulations of the Association.
Article XI. Amendments and Referenda.
Section 1. When referenda of the membership are held for the purpose of amending this Constitution or for any other purpose, said referenda shall take place from the beginning of September to the end of June.
Section 2. In connection with such referenda, full opportunity for the expression of opposing views shall be provided well in advance of the date on which the actual vote on the referendum is to be recorded. Referenda and amendments shall be passed by a simple majority of the membership voting in the mail ballot. In other respects, the rules outlines for the conducting of other elections shall be followed.
Section 3. Amendments to this Constitution may be proposed by any member. Such proposals shall be submitted to the membership if they are in the form of a petition, signed at least 20 voting members or if they have the approval of the Board of Directors.
Article XII. Miscellaneous.
Section 1. Upon the dissolution of the Association, the Board of Directors may, after paying or making provision for the payment of all the liabilities of the organization, dispose of all of the assets of the Association exclusively for the purposes of the Association or to such organization organized and operated exclusively for charitable, education, or scientific purposes which have qualified as such under the Federal Revenue Code.
Section 2. No substantial part of the activities of the organization shall be for the carrying on of propaganda, or otherwise attempting to influence legislation. The organization shall not participate in or intervene in (including the publishing and distribution of statements) any political campaign on behalf of any candidate or public office.
Section 3. Notwithstanding any other provision of these articles, the Association is organized exclusively for scientific and educational purposes, as specified in section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954, *was reclassified as a 501(c)(6) in 2009, and shall not carry on any activities not permitted to be carried on by this type of non-profit tax-exempt organization. . In the event of dissolution, all of the remaining assets and property of the organization shall, after necessary expenses thereof, be distributed to such non-profit tax-exempt organizations as shall qualify under section 501(c)(3) *and/or 501(c)(6) of the Internal Revenue Code, or to another organization to be used in such manner as in the judgment of a Justice of the Supreme Court of the State of New Jersey will best accomplish the general purposes for which this organization was formed.
Adopted by the General Meeting at Hofstra University, Hampstead, NY, November 12, 1977, amended by membership referendum February 9, 1979; March 1, 1980; January 30, 1985; March 1, 2000, October 30, 2003., and June 2012.
(For additional information on the operations and procedures of AHS, please consult the AHS Handbook).
[i] The change from two candidates to one candidate for the position of President Elect was ratified in 2000. The rationale for this change was as follows:
The Board of Directors currently conducts business through consensus, although there is a constitutional option to resolve conflicting issues through a majority vote of those present. Therefore, the Board serves the membership as a leadership team, with no one person making decisions or singularly conducting the business of the Association.
The President of AHS, as part of the consensual decision-making approach, does not assume the traditional hierarchical leadership roles/responsibilities generally associated with a president’s position. The primary roles of the President during her/his term are to: (1) set the theme for the annual meeting, (2) assist in selecting the meeting location, and (3) be a guide and facilitator of the actions of the Association.
Many AHS members have come to define the office of President as a position for honoring members who have served the Association over the years, and who have been exemplary humanist sociologists. In our most recent elections, persons who have been approached as candidates for President-Elect have been reticent to run against each other. They have been honored to be invited, but have felt that a person who has already agreed to be a candidate is the person they would support, and therefore do not wish to run as a contestant against them. In fact, the Nominations Committee could not find persons willing to run in a competitive-style election in 1996, 1998, and 1999.
Therefore, this proposal is being offered to formalize a procedure that has sometimes been real in practice, with the addition of organizational checks and balances through the Board approval process.