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Proposed Bylaws Amendment 2018
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At its November 2018 meeting, the board of officers proposed the following amendments to the association bylaws. View the current APA bylaws.

Amendment 1: Strike Reference to Membership List

Current Bylaws

3.1. Purposes.

...

C. The purposes the association shall be served by:

  1. The holding of regular meetings at which addresses, symposia, papers, and discussions of philosophical significance are presented;
  2. The publication of the Proceedings and Addresses, the presidential addresses, and the membership list of the association, as well as such additional items as may be germane to the purpose of the association;
  3. The work of the standing and special committees of the association;
  4. Such other means as may be deemed appropriate by the regular members and the board.

Proposed Amendment

3.1. Purposes.

...

C. The purposes the association shall be served by:

  1. The holding of regular meetings at which addresses, symposia, papers, and discussions of philosophical significance are presented;
  2. The publication of the Proceedings and Addresses, the presidential addresses, and the membership list of the association, as well as such additional items as may be germane to the purpose of the association;
  3. The work of the standing and special committees of the association;
  4. Such other means as may be deemed appropriate by the regular members and the board.

Explanation

Historically, the APA has always published, either in the Proceedings and Addresses or on the APA website, a list of APA members, indicating name, contact information, member type, and divisional affiliation. Since the adoption of technology that provides a searchable member database with this and other information, the published member list is no longer necessary.

However, because it is stated in the bylaws that such a list must be published, the APA staff has continued to produce such a list on at least an annual basis. This process of preparing this list requires significant amounts of staff time for little value, so we propose that the reference to the published member list be stricken from the bylaws.

Amendment 2: Revise Qualifications for Regular Membership

Current Bylaws

4.2. Qualifications for Regular Membership.

A. Regular membership in the American Philosophical Association shall be limited to:

  1. Persons whose training in philosophy has been advanced and systematic enough to make them competent to teach the subject at the college or university level;
  2. Persons whose achievements in philosophy are sufficient to warrant their affiliation with the association.

B. The authority to pass on an individual's qualifications for regular membership in the association rests with the board, which shall normally delegate it to the executive director.

Proposed Amendment

4.2. Qualifications for Regular Membership.

A. Regular membership in the American Philosophical Association shall be open to persons professionally interested in the scholarly study of philosophy.

B. The authority to approve an individual’s application for regular membership in the association rests with the board of officers, which shall normally delegate it to the executive director.

Explanation

The APA’s current qualifications for regular membership are unnecessarily and unhelpfully restrictive. The current bylaws language appears to date back to the APA’s origins within the American Psychological Association, which has similar language in its bylaws. While this may make sense for an association aiming to serve credentialed medical practitioners, we do not believe it is suited to the APA as it exists today.

Almost no other scholarly society serving humanities disciplines has the strict requirements similar to the ones currently in the APA’s bylaws. Overwhelmingly, these societies require only that a potential member be interested in the relevant scholarly discipline, and we propose the APA adopt a similar approach.

At a time when gaining and retaining members is increasingly challenging, we do not feel the current bylaws serve the APA’s best interests. The proposed changes will open full membership to more people, while retaining the focus on the “discipline and profession of philosophy” as stated in the APA’s mission.

Amendment 3: Voting by Associate Members

Current Bylaws

4.5. Associate Membership.

Associate memberships are offered in categories defined by the board of officers, with annual dues set by the board of officers. Associate members are not affiliated with any division and may not vote at meetings of the members or of the divisions. Associate members may serve on APA committees but cannot hold any position that would require them to have voting rights within the divisions or the association. Associate members may attend and appear on the program of all regular meetings and receive all publications of the association.

Proposed Amendment

4.5. Associate Membership.

Associate memberships are offered in categories defined by the board of officers, with annual dues set by the board of officers. Associate members are not affiliated with any division and may not vote at meetings of the members or of the divisions. Associate members may serve on APA committees but cannot hold any position that would require them to have voting rights within the divisions or the association, with the exception of elections to APA groups representing their associate membership category. Associate members may attend and appear on the program of all regular meetings and receive all publications of the association.

Explanation

The APA bylaws currently specify that associate members do not have voting rights within the association. However, members of the Graduate Student Council are elected by student associate members, and the bylaws should be updated accordingly.

Amendment 4: Change to Rolling Membership

Current Bylaws

4.7. Membership.

A. The APA membership year begins on July 1 and ends the following June 30.

B. A person is considered to be a member of the APA if that person has paid the current year’s membership dues. Any person who was a member in the previous year who has not paid membership dues by September 1 will be removed from the membership rolls.

Proposed Amendment

4.7. Membership.

A. A person may become a member of the APA upon payment of one year’s dues.

B. Any member whose dues are in arrears shall be removed from membership. Those who have been removed from membership for failure to pay dues may be reinstated at any time by the payment in advance of one year’s dues. Only current members shall have the right to vote or hold office in the association.

Explanation

Though the APA has long operated on a fiscal/academic year membership, this set membership year is no longer common among scholarly societies and has become difficult to justify. Under current policies, the APA membership year runs from July through June, and dues are not prorated. This means that a member paying dues in March pays the same rate and has the same membership expiration date as someone who pays dues the previous July, but holds membership for a much shorter time. This amendment would shift the APA to a rolling membership year, with members receiving a full year of benefits no matter when they join or renew. If approved, this amendment would be effective July 1, 2020.

The American Philosophical Association
University of Delaware
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Phone: 302.831.1112 | Fax: 302.831.8690
Email: info@apaonline.org