Proposed Amendments to the Constitution

The Committee on Amendments to the Constitution received five proposals for amendments this year from the Delegate Assembly. Four of the proposals grew out of recommendations that the assembly received from the MLA Elections Committee on how to deal with the effects that the implementation of the new convention forum structure would have on the size and composition of the assembly. The first of these proposals called for an amendment to provide for the election of a forum delegate by that forum’s membership instead of the forum’s executive committee (see art. 10.A.1). The next proposal called for an amendment that would give an equal number of assembly seats to each of the seven electoral regions, the number to be determined by the assembly (see art. 10.A.2). The third proposal called for an amendment that would eliminate the requirement for proportional representation of graduate students within the seven electoral regions (see art. 10.A.3). The final proposal that was based on an Elections Committee recommendation called for representation in the assembly for professional issues instead of special interests (see art. 10.A.4). The fifth proposal for a constitutional amendment was put forward in a motion that the assembly approved. The motion called on the assembly to “initiate an amendment to create a dedicated slot on the Executive Council” for a part-time faculty member.

All the proposals for amendments were forwarded to the Committee on Amendments to the Constitution in late spring. The committee completed its work on the first four proposals but determined that it could not formulate an amendment based on the fifth proposal without additional information from the assembly. The committee’s request for information will be forwarded to the 2016 Delegate Assembly. The amendments that the committee formulated, including conforming amendments necessitated by the second, third, and fourth proposals outlined above, will be forwarded to the Delegate Assembly for action at the assembly’s regular meeting on 9 January 2016. So that members may be fully informed of such matters, the MLA constitution (art. 13.B) requires that all amendments to be brought before the Delegate Assembly be “published in an appropriate publication of the association at least ninety days before the meeting at which they are to be voted on.” This Web page provides the required notice. If approved by the assembly, the amendments will be submitted to the membership of the association in 2016 for ratification.

The present and proposed versions of the articles subject to amendment appear below. The current language that is subject to change and the proposed new language appear in boldface.

Election of Delegates Representing Areas of Study

Amendment 1 (to article 10, Delegate Assembly—Composition and Election)

Present constitution

  1. The assembly shall represent the following:
    • 1. Areas of study. One delegate shall be elected by the executive committee of each officially constituted forum.

Proposed revision

  1. The assembly shall represent the following:
    • 1. Areas of study. One delegate shall be elected by the membership of each officially constituted forum.

Changes to Regional Representation in the Delegate Assembly

Amendment 2 (to article 10, Delegate Assembly—Composition and Election)

Present constitution

  1. The assembly shall represent the following:
    • [1.]
    • 2. Electoral regionsA total of 108 delegates shall be elected from seven geographic regions within the United States and Canada. Each of these regions shall represent approximately one-seventh of the total membership of the association residing in the United States and Canada, with the number of delegates from each region proportional to that region’s membership as a percentage of the total membership of the association. Members may vote in all contests in any one region.
    • [3.–4.]

Proposed revisions

  1. The assembly shall represent the following:
    • [1.]
    • 2. Electoral regionsEach of seven geographic regions within the United States and Canada shall be represented by an equal number of delegates, the number to be determined by the Delegate Assembly. Each of these regions shall represent approximately one-seventh of the total membership of the association residing in the United States and Canada. Members may vote in all contests in any one region.
    • [3.–4.]

Amendment 3 (to article 10, Delegate Assembly—Composition and Election)

Present constitution

  1. The assembly shall represent the following:
    • [1.–2.]
    • 3. StudentsThe number of graduate students elected from each region shall be as nearly as possible in proportion to the student membership in the region, but each region shall elect at least one student member.
    • [4.]

Proposed revision

  1. The assembly shall represent the following:
    • [1.–2.]
    • 3. StudentsEach region shall elect at least one student member.
    • [4.]

Amendment 4 (to article 10, Delegate Assembly—Composition and Election)

Present constitution

  1. All elections for the assembly shall be supervised by the Elections Committee, which shall strive to secure a fair distribution of delegates among various constituencies of the association. On a regular basis, but at least every three years, the Elections Committee shall examine the allocations within the various categories of membership in the Delegate Assembly and propose necessary changes to the assembly. The Elections Committee shall have the following responsibilities:
    • 1. Apportionment of the membership of the United States and Canada into seven approximately equal electoral regions, apportionment of delegates among the seven regions, and apportionment between student and regular members within each region. These apportionments shall be reexamined every three years.
    • [2.–6.]

Proposed revision

  1. All elections for the assembly shall be supervised by the Elections Committee, which shall strive to secure a fair distribution of delegates among various constituencies of the association. On a regular basis, but at least every three years, the Elections Committee shall examine the allocations within the various categories of membership in the Delegate Assembly and propose necessary changes to the assembly. The Elections Committee shall have the following responsibilities:
    • 1. Apportionment of the membership of the United States and Canada into seven approximately equal electoral regions. This apportionment shall be reexamined every three years.
    • [2.–6.]

Providing Representation for Professional Issues in the Delegate Assembly

Amendment 5 (to article 10, Delegate Assembly—Composition and Election)

Present constitution

  1. The assembly shall represent the following:
    • [1.–3.]
    • 4. Special interests. To secure representation responsive to various other constituencies in the association, as many as fifty-five but no fewer than thirty-nine special-interest delegates shall be elected. Candidates shall be elected by a plurality vote of the entire membership of the association.

Proposed revisions

  1. The assembly shall represent the following:
    • [1.–3.]
    • 4. Professional issues. To secure representation responsive to the professional concerns of the members of the association, professional-issues delegates shall be elected. Their number and the concerns to be addressed shall be determined by the Delegate Assembly. Candidates shall be elected by a plurality vote of the entire membership of the association.

Amendment 6 (to article 10, Delegate Assembly—Composition and Election)

Present constitution

  1. All elections for the assembly shall be supervised by the Elections Committee, which shall strive to secure a fair distribution of delegates among various constituencies of the association. On a regular basis, but at least every three years, the Elections Committee shall examine the allocations within the various categories of membership in the Delegate Assembly and propose necessary changes to the assembly. The Elections Committee shall have the following responsibilities:
    • [1.–2.]
    • 3. Determination of constituencies to be represented by special-interest delegates.
    • 4. Nomination of special-interest delegates, with at least two names for each contest.
    • [5.–6.]
  1. Any member of the association may initiate a petition proposing an additional candidate for regional and special-interest contests. The petition must include the written consent of the candidate, the signatures of at least twenty-five members of the association, and specification of the contest involved. The Elections Committee shall have final authority for assigning candidates to particular contests. A notice of the right to petition, together with the deadline therefor, shall be printed in an appropriate publication of the association along with the announcement of the candidates selected by the Elections Committee.

Proposed revisions

  1. All elections for the assembly shall be supervised by the Elections Committee, which shall strive to secure a fair distribution of delegates among various constituencies of the association. On a regular basis, but at least every three years, the Elections Committee shall examine the allocations within the various categories of membership in the Delegate Assembly and propose necessary changes to the assembly. The Elections Committee shall have the following responsibilities:
    • [1.–2.]
    • 3. Determination of constituencies to be represented by professional-issues delegates.
    • 4. Nomination of professional-issues delegates, with at least two names for each contest.
    • [5.–6.]
  1. Any member of the association may initiate a petition proposing an additional candidate for regional and professional-issues contests. The petition must include the written consent of the candidate, the signatures of at least twenty-five members of the association, and specification of the contest involved. The Elections Committee shall have final authority for assigning candidates to particular contests. A notice of the right to petition, together with the deadline therefor, shall be printed in an appropriate publication of the association along with the announcement of the candidates selected by the Elections Committee.