Adopted 1992; Amended 1998, 2004.
Revised by action of the National Debate Tournament Committee, February 6, 1993, Evanston, Illinois, and the National Debate Tournament Board of Trustees, November 18, 1993, Miami, Florida. Approved by membership of the American Forensic Association, November 19, 1993, Miami, Florida. Ratified by American Forensic Association members voting via mail ballot, March 1994. Revisions incorporated by Arnie Madsen, NDT parliamentarian. Revisions to take effect for the 1995 NDT.
Annual dues shall be established at the General Business Meeting. Dues may vary from year to year and between membership categories.
Regular membership shall be available to any person supporting the purposes of this Association, and shall include all privileges including voting, receipt of all Association publications, and the opportunity to serve as an officer and on committees.
Life membership shall be available to any person supporting the purposes of this association upon payment of a one-time fee that will entitle that person to all privileges of the Association including voting, receipt of all Association, publications, and the opportunity to serve as an officer and on committees.
Student membership shall be available to any person supporting the purpose of this Association who is enrolled at an institution of higher education and pursing a degree, whether undergraduate or graduate. Student membership shall include the privileges of voting, receiving all Association publications, and serving on committees.
Institutional and Library memberships shall be available to any educational institution, department, library, or other organization, and shall include the privilege of receiving all Association publications.
Emeritus memberships shall be granted to members who have retired from their institutions, who have either continuous Regular membership for fifteen years of noncontinuous membership for twenty years, or who have been nominated by the National Council and approved by a vote of the Association in recognition of distinguished service to the profession. Emeritus members shall have all privileges including voting, receipt of all Association publications and the opportunity to serve as an officer and on committees.
The Nominating Committee shall present the names of two Regular, Life or Emeritus members of the Association for each position to be elected not later than thirty days prior to the General Business Meeting at which nominations for officers shall be received. The Committee shall ascertain that each nominee has received a Bachelors degree and will serve if elected. This slate of nominees shall be distributed to the membership at the same time as the Preliminary Agenda for the General Business Meeting. An opportunity shall exist for additional nominations to be made by the membership at the General Business Meeting.
Election of officers shall then be determined by a mail ballot sent to all Regular, Life, Student, and Emeritus members of the Association, with a deadline for returning ballots to be determined by the Executive Secretary. Newly-elected officers shall assume office and their respective duties on July 1 immediately following the election. They shall hold office until their terms expire and their successor are elected. To be elected, a candidate must receive a majority vote by secret ballot. In the event no candidate received a majority of the first ballot, a second ballot shall be conducted with only the names of the two candidates receiving the highest number of votes in the first balloting included.
In the event of a vacancy for any elected office because of death, resignation, or other cause, the President, with the consent of the National Council, shall appoint any eligible Regular, Life, or Emeritus member to complete the unexpired portion of that term, or until a special election is held, whichever comes first.
In the event that the office of President is vacated, the Vice-President shall assume that office and complete the remaining portion of that term. Following completion of the unexpired term, the person serving as President shall proceed to fill her or his regular two-year term in the office.
In the event that the office of Vice-President is vacated, and interim appointment may be made according to the procedures stated I this section, or in accordance with Subsection iii. If the latter alternative is selected, a Special Election may be held for the office of Vice-President, the winner of which shall succeed to the Presidency. A Special Election for the office of President may also be hald concurrent with the next General Election. Under no circumstances, however, shall the interim Vice-President succeed to the Presidency by virtue of the interim appointment.
A Special Election may be held if the National Council determines such action to be in the best interest of the Association, and consistent with the Association's Constitution and By-laws, Insofar as possible, a Special Election shall be held in accordance with the provisions of Sections III, 1 and 2.
The National council, under the leadership of the President and with the aid of Standing and Special Committees, shall be responsible for planning policy, utilizing personnel, and executing policy once adopted.
The President shall be required to perform the usual duties of such an officer including the power to call meetings of the National Council, the power to appoint members of Standing Committees with the advice and consent of the National council, and the power to appoint members of Special Committees unless the original motion formulating the Special Committee shall designate another method of appointment.
Besides those duties assigned by the President or National Council, the Vice-President shall be responsible for developing all Association sponsored programs and meetings at the Annual Convention.
The Vice-President for High School Affairs shall have the special responsibility for representing the needs and concerns of high school forensics professionals to the Association, for representing the Association to high school forensics professionals, and for fulfilling other responsibilities assigned by the President or National Council.
The Executive Secretary shall be responsible for the general operations of this Association. The duties assigned by the National Council shall include, but not be limited to, soliciting and maintaining memberships; collecting dues and other revenues; paying financial obligations in a timely manner; organizing and distributing Association publications such as the Tournament Calendar, Directory, and AFA Newsletter; serving as liaison to other professional organizations; coordinating the Job Clearing House; implementing, monitoring and administering programs and policies of the Association; assisting committees with duties and responsibilities; distributing all mail ballots and chairing a "teller's" committee; and gathering, maintaining and distributing information appropriate to the Association and forensic professionals.
The Recording Secretary shall be responsible for recording minutes of all General Business Meetings of the Association, and of all meetings of the National Council. The Recording Secretary also serves as editor of the AFA Newsletter.
It shall be the special responsibility of the two-year college representative to the National Council to discover the needs, and make plans for the development and implementation of policies designed to promote the purposes of this Association for and in this specific constituency.
Each officer shall make a report outlining her or his responsibilities and actions during the preceding year to the membership at the General Business Meeting.
The Executive Secretary shall be bonded.
Caucuses may be formed through the following procedures: A petition requesting establishment that includes the names of at least twenty-five Regular, Life, Student, or Emeritus members of the Association shall be submitted to the National Council stating the purpose and justification for the proposed caucus. The petition shall then be presented to a General Business Meeting accompanied by a statement from the National Council of endorsement or opposition. If approved by a vote at the General Business Meeting, the caucus shall be established.
Each caucus shall be responsible for determining the nature and selection of officers and their respective duties, and its individual projects so long as they are complementary to the purposes of this Association and to the policies and programs enacted through the National Council, committees and members. When membership of a caucus reaches fifty, it shall be granted representation to the National Council, and shall select its own representative.
Each caucus shall submit a report to the National Council and to the membership at the General Business Meeting.
Caucus shall be permitted to collect dues from members provided that all collections and disbursements are processed by the Executive Secretary. Any disagreements that may arise between a Caucus and the Executive Secretary over collections or disbursements shall be resolved by the National Council.
Committees shall be of the following types: Standing, Chartered, Nominating, and Special. All committees shall report to the General Business Meeting and, upon request of the President, to the National Council.
Standing Committees shall be appointed by the President with the advise and consent of the National Council Efforts shall be taken to assure appropriate representation of membership interests, constituencies, and geographic distribution. Standing Committees shall consist of six members serving for three-year, staggered terms, and shall select their own chair, who shall vote on Committee business only in the case of a tie. In the event of death or resignation of a member from any Standing Committee, the President shall appoint a person to fill the unexpired term with the advice and consent of the National Council. Members of Standing Committees shall not serve more than two complete, consecutive terms on the same committee. At the beginning of each Presidential term, the President shall, with the advice and consent of the National Council, present a specific charge to each Committee consistent with the responsibilities identified in this section. The following shall be Standing Committees of the Association.
The Finance Committee shall be responsible for planning and overseeing the Association's fiscal affairs including creating an annual budget and presenting it to the General Business Meeting, monitoring on a regular basis the collection and expenditure of funds by the Executive Secretary, assuring timely and complete audits are conducted as necessary, and recommending policy to ensure the financial health of the Association.
The Professional Development and Support Committee shall be responsible for developing and supporting the highest standards of professional conduct within forensics, and for representing the professional interests of this Association's members to all appropriate constituencies. Included within the responsibilities of this Committee will be the following: develop and promote standards concerning the duties, evaluation, and tenure of forensic educators; and development and maintain a consulting program to assist in the development and support of forensics professionals at all educational levels. Additional responsibilities may be assigned as appropriate.
The Educational Development and Practices Committee shall be responsible for developing, reporting, and promoting practices that strengthen forensic pedagogy, whether in classrooms, forums, competition, or other circumstances. Included within the responsibilities of this committee will be the following: develop, maintain and distribute information on establishing and promoting argumentation and forensics within curricula; develop and promote ways of increasing broad participation in forensic activities; examine, assess, and evaluate forensic practices in light of the purpose of this Association; and maintain and interpret the AFA Code of Ethics as it relates to educational practices. Additional responsibilities may be assigned as appropriate.
The Research Committee shall be responsible for the encouragement, development, and evaluation of research activity throughout the profession. Any official research conducted or awards presented in the name of this Association shall have the approval of this Committee.
The Publications Committee shall have primary responsibility for planning, supervising, and monitoring all publications sponsored by this Association, and shall have the additional responsibility of conducting a search for and nominating to the National Council editors of AFA sponsored publications.
Chartered Committees shall be created for special, on-going activities by approval of a specific Charter by the Association's voting members.
Members of this Association desiring that such a Committee be established shall submit a proposed Charter to the National Council stating the purpose and justification for the proposed Committee, and procedures for conducting the proposed Committee's business. The petition shall then be presented to a General Business Meeting accompanied by a statement from the National Council of endorsement or opposition. Upon approval by a vote at the General Business Meeting, the Charter shall then be submitted on a mail ballot to all eligible voting members of the Association. This ballot shall include a summary of the pro and con arguments from the discussion at the General Business Meeting, and shall include a deadline for return to be established by the Executive Secretary. The Charter shall be granted if supported by a majority of those members eligible and voting. The size of these Committees, selection of members, and duties and responsibilities shall be delineated within the approved Charter. Each Chartered Committee shall present a report of its activities at the General Business Meeting.
The following are Chartered Committees of this Association:
The National Debate Tournament Committee shall have the responsibility for planning and conducting the National Debate Tournament.
The National Debate Tournament Board of Trustees shall be responsible for all financial matters pertaining to the National Debate Tournament including establishing a budget for each Tournament, establishing assessments and fees for subscribing schools, and negotiating and approving any agreements with hosting or sponsoring institutions contingent upon approval by the National Debate Tournament Committee. The Board shall have sole responsibility for all negotiations with any agent(s) financing the National Debate Tournament, and for establishing the legal framework appropriate for the execution of its duties. This Board shall consist of five members appointed by the President of this Association for five-year, staggered terms.
The National Individual Events Tournament Committee shall have the responsibility for planning and conducting the National Individual Events Tournament.
The National Individual Events Tournament Board of Trustees shall be responsible for all financial matters pertaining to the National Individual Events Tournament including establishing a budget for each Tournament, establishing assessments and fees for subscribing schools, and negotiating and approving any agreements with hosting or sponsoring institutions contingent upon approval by the National Individual Events Tournament Committee. The Board shall have sole responsibility for all negotiations with any agent(s) financing the National Individual Events Tournament, and for establishing the legal framework appropriate for the execution of its duties. This Board shall consist of five members appointed by the President of this Association for five-year, staggered terms.
A Nominating Committee shall have the responsibility for submitting a list of nominees for all elected officers in accordance with the provisions of Section III: Election of Officers.
This Committee shall consist of five members who shall serve a two-year term concurrent with those of national officers, and shall be elected by mail ballot. No one who has served as a member of the immediately preceding Nominating Committee shall be eligible for membership.
The Executive Secretary shall issue a call to the membership for nominations to this Committee not later than thirty days prior to the General Business Meeting. These individuals, up to five, receiving the greatest number of nominations from the call, and who are eligible and willing to serve, shall be announced at the Meeting, and shall be included on the mail ballot. Additional nominees for the Committee shall be obtained from the floor at the General Business Meeting such that a total number of nominations to be included on the mail ballot shall equal at least ten. The ballot shall be mailed to all eligible voting members, and each may vote for up to five. The five individuals receiving the greatest number of votes on the mail ballot shall constitute the Committee In the event of a tie for the final position, all those involved in the tie shall be appointed to the Committee.
In the event of a vacancy occurring on the Nominating Committee, the President, with the advice and consent of the National Council, shall appoint an eligible member to complete the unexpired portion of that term.
Special Committees may be appointed by the President, except where the motion creating the Committee shall designate an alternative method of appointment. Special Committees shall be appointed for two years or until their assignment is completed, whichever is shorter.
When an organization with objectives consistent with those of the AFA requests affiliation, the President of the AFA or his/her representative(s) shall enter into discussions to prepare a Memorandum of Affiliation that outlines the mutual obligations and basis of agreement for affiliation. The Memorandum may be as simple or as complex as agreed to by the negotiators. Upon approval of the Memorandum by the National Council and by the appropriate agency of the organization seeking affiliation, the affiliation shall be submitted to the AFA Business Meeting. Upon approval by the Business Meeting, the organization shall be recognized as an Affiliate.
Upon petition of fifty members of AFA who also certify that they are members of the Affiliate, the Affiliate may select a non-voting representative to the AFA National Council.
Changes in the Memorandum of Affiliation must be presented to the Business Meeting of the AFA accompanied by a statement of endorsement or opposition from the National Council. Organizations will cease to be Affiliates when disaffiliation is requested by the Affiliate or by action of the AFA Business Meeting, if an AFA initiated disaffiliation. A motion for disaffiliation at the Business Meeting must be accompanied by a statement of endorsement or opposition from the National Council.
The editors of American Forensics Association publications shall be nominated by the Publications Committee and appointed by the National Council. Editors shall have the authority to appoint such associate editors as are necessary to complete their responsibilities. The terms of associate editors shall be concurrent with that of the editor. In the event of death or resignation of an editor or associate editor, the appropriate authority as designated herein may appoint a replacement to complete the unexpired term.
The editor of Argumentation and Advocacy: The Journal of the American Forensics Association shall serve a three-year term.
It shall be the responsibility of the President, in conjunction with the National Council and Executive Secretary, to prepare and distribute a preliminary agenda to every member at least thirty days prior to a General Business Meeting. The first item on the preliminary agenda shall be approval of a complete agenda for the General Business Meeting.
Any member having items to be considered at the General Business Meeting that are not included in the published, preliminary agenda should so inform the President or Executive Secretary at least one week prior to the Meeting. All items submitted should be presented in writing, and should include specific wording of the actionable item supported by a brief justification. A complete agenda, including all additional items, shall be prepared by the President and the National Council, and shall be presented for approval as the first item of business at the General Business Meeting. Approval of the complete agenda by those attending the General Business Meeting shall constitute the order of business. Any modification to the approved complete agenda shall be governed by Section XI rules of procedure.
A quorum for a General Business Meeting shall exist when twenty members with voting privileges are present. A quorum for a National Council meeting shall exist when a majority of the officially designated and recognized members are present.
General Business Meetings and National Council Meetings shall be conducted according to the procedures prescribed in Robert's Rules of Order, Newly Revised (1990 edition).
These By-Laws may be amended by a majority vote at any General Business Meeting, provided that the proposed amendment shall be mailed to those members with voting privileges at least thirty days prior to the date of the General Business Meeting; or without prior notice by a two-third majority of those present and voting at the General Business Meeting.