Wednesday, July 16, 2008

By-Laws Changes Considered During Annual Meeting

Mel DeSart opened the discussion concerning By-Laws changes that will be voted on later this summer. Four copies of the proposed changes have been placed at each table and copies were distributed to the ELD membership 30 days prior to this meeting.

  • Two of the three changes are mandates from the ASEE Board of Directors. Article XI, Sections 4 and 5, provide language required by the ASEE Board. “Amendments approved by the Division (in section 4)/Executive Committee (in section 5) shall be submitted through the PIC IV Chair for approval by majority vote of the ASEE Board of Directors and shall take effect only upon such approval.”
  • Article XI, Section 3 includes language regarding the distribution of proposed amendments to the ELD membership. Current wording ties any consideration of these amendments to this Annual Meeting and ties the distribution to the ELD electronic discussion list, ELD-L, and the mail. These proposed changes would permit the ELD Executive Committee more flexibility and simplify the language.
  • Addendum 1, Section 11: Liaisons: Language has been adopted by the Executive Committee to place the Liaisons chair on track with the other Committee Chairs.
  • The first question from the floor addressed the need for ASEE approval. Does this not take away some autonomy we have as a Division? As the question was being asked, Mary Anderson-Rowland, outgoing PIC IV Chair and representative to the ASEE Board of Directors, arrived and Mel turned the podium over to her for her answer. Mary explained that all Divisions of ASEE have been required to include such language in their By-Laws. ELD is not being singled out. The ASEE Board believes that this consistency of language will strengthen the Society as a whole and not weaken any Division.

After answering this one question, we then went out of the normal order of business to allow Mary Anderson-Rowland to proceed with her PIC IV Chair Report (not listed here).

Having completed her PIC IV report, Mary Anderson Rowland excused herself to attend another Division Annual Meeting. We then resumed the normal order of business and Mel DeSart continued our By-Laws discussion.

  • Concern was reiterated regarding By-Laws changes being forced on Divisions by ASEE. One member will vote against the changes on principle and concern that such action leads to homogeneity within the Society. The irony is that they just established a Diversity Board. Mel responded that the main reason for the language added to our By-Laws (and all Division By-Laws) is to ensure that Division By-Laws do not violate the Society’s By-Laws.
  • Another member asked how often the ASEE Board meets? The ASEE Board meets twice a year, at this conference and in February. They met Sunday and approved By-Laws then and will meet Wednesday. Like ELD, they are looking at ways to streamline the By-Laws voting process (electronic voting).
  • Another member questioned the wording in section three – why was “distributed” changed to “made available?” Mel responded that the language was “fuzzed up” on purpose. The new language permits consideration of By-Laws changes at times other than the Annual Meeting. Thirty days notice would still be required before consideration. Consideration would still be necessary before a vote. “Distributed” ties the hands of the EC to the ELD Discussion list. The new language permits distribution or notification of proposed amendments through means not yet dreamed of without having to change the By-Laws to accommodate every future means of communication.

Voting on these By-Laws was not held at this meeting. Look for details about the voting to be sent out in the near future over ELD-L.