ByLaws

Section I: Annual Dues

Annual dues shall be established at the General Business Meeting. Dues may vary from year to year and between membership categories.

Section II: Membership

  • Regular memberships – 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 section.
  • Life memberships –  Life membership shall be available to any person supporting the purposes of this association upon payment of a onetime 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 section.
  • Student memberships – 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 section.
  • Institutional memberships – 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 section.
  • Emeritus memberships – 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.

Section III: Election of Officers

Nominations

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.

Conduct of Election

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.

Vacancies

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.

  • President  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.
  • Vice-President  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 held 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.
  • Special Elections  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.

Section IV: Duties of the Officers

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.

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.

The Vice-President.

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

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

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

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.

Two-Year College Representative

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.

Reports of Officers

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 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.

Section V: Bonded Officers

The Executive Secretary shall be bonded.

Section VI: Caucuses

Forming Caucuses

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.

Officers

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.

Annual Report

Each caucus shall submit a report to the National Council and to the membership at the General Business Meeting.

Caucus Dues

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.

Section VII: Committees

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

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.

  • Finance  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.
  • Professional Development and Support  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.
  • Educational Development and Practices   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.
  • Research  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.
  • Publications  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

Chartered Committees shall be created for special, on-going activities by approval of a specific Charter by the Association\’s voting members.

Subsection i: Formation

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.

Subsection ii: Chartered Committees

The following are Chartered Committees of this Association:

  • National Debate Tournament  The National Debate Tournament Committee shall have the responsibility for planning and conducting the National Debate Tournament.
  • National Debate Tournament Board of Trustees  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.
  • National Individual Events Tournament  The National Individual Events Tournament Committee shall have the responsibility for planning and conducting the National Individual Events Tournament.
  • National Individual Events Tournament Board of Trustees  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.

Nominating Committee

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.

  • Membership  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.
  • Election  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.
  • Vacancies  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. \r\n

Special Committees

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. \r\n’,’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.

Section VIII: Affiliates

Negotiating Affiliation

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.

Representation on National Council

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 Memorandum of Affiliation

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.

Section IX: Editors of American Forensic Association Publications

Selection

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.

Term

The editor of Argumentation and Advocacy: The Journal of the American Forensics Association shall serve a three-year term.

Section X: Agenda for General Business Meetings

Preparation

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.

Additions to Agenda

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.

Sections XI – XIII

Section XI. Quorums for General business and National Council Meetings

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.

Section XII. Rules of Procedure

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).

Section XIII. Amendment

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.

Section XII. Rules of Procedure

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).

 

ByLaws

    1. Charge of the Committee and Agenda.
      1. Each Presidential term the committee shall receive a charge from the President.
      2. In addition, in September of each year the chair of the committee shall solicit from all members any items to be placed on the agenda of the annual meeting as part of the committee’s charge.
    2.  Chair.
      1. Selection. The election of a new chair shall be an agenda item at each year\’s annual meeting. All members of the committee whose terms continue past June 30 of the following year and who wish to stand for election shall be placed on a ballot. All members of the committee, regardless of term, are eligible to vote. In the event that all members are present, voting shall occur at the annual meeting; in the event that any member is absent, the outgoing chair shall prepare an email or mail ballot for distribution immediately following the annual meeting. In either event, the outgoing chair shall tally the vote and announce the winner. Previous chairs are eligible for re-election as long as their term on the committee continues.
      2. Term of office. The chair shall assume office upon the conclusion of the annual meeting (in the vent that voting occurs at the meeting, per above) or upon the completion of voting (if by mail or email, per above).
      3. Vacancy. In the case of vacancy in the chair, a convener appointed by the President will conduct the election of a replacement.
      4. Duties of the chair. The chair shall preside at the annual meeting, report for the committee to the National Council and Annual Meeting of the Association, direct the ongoing activities of the committee and serve as the committee\’s liaison with the President.
    3.  Annual Meeting and Voting.
      1. The date and time of the annual meeting of the committee shall be set by the Vice-President of AFA as Convention planner.
      2. Quorum. A quorum shall be three members of the committee.
      3. Voting. Each member of the committee present shall have a vote. Proxies shall be specific to particular issues and must be submitted to the chair over the signature of the member. Votes on issues also may be taken at any time during the year between annual meetings via email or conference call.Selection of Editor.
    4. Selection of Editor.
      1. The committee shall complete selection of the editor of Argumentation and Advocacy (and other publications as assigned by the chair) at least one year before the final issue of the outgoing editor.
      2. At the annual meeting prior to the selection, the committee shall approve a timetable and interview procedure for reviewing candidates.
      3. At least three months before the deadline for selection above, the chair of the committee shall propagate broadly a call for nomination and self-nomination for editor. After an appropriate interview the committee shall vote by email or conference call for their recommendation for editor. The committee shall report its choice to the President for approval by the National Council.
    5. Amendment
      1. Amendments to these bylaws may be submitted by any member by submitting it in writing at least one month prior to the annual meeting. The chair shall notify all members of the proposed amendment.
        1. Following discussion at the annual meeting, the amendment shall be in force if approved by a majority of the full committee at the meeting (if all members are present) or in an email or mail ballot (if any member is absent).

Adopted November 3, 1999

  1. Charge of the Committee and Agenda for Committee Functions.
    1. The Research Committee shall be responsible for the development and encouragement of research in argumentation and forensics primarily through the Brockreide Memorial Research Grant and the Daniel Rohrer Research Award and the AFA Outstanding Dissertation Award.
      1. Brockreide Memorial Research Grant. The purpose of this award is to support and facilitate research in forensics, debate, and argumentation. The committee awards this research grant from among competitive grant proposals submitted in accordance with the submission guidelines established by the committee. The Brockreide Memorial Research Grant is awarded every two years at the annual AFA Business Meeting (in years ending in an odd number) and the amount of the monetary award can be up to a maximum amount of $1000 (paid in installments if necessary).
      2. The Daniel Rohrer AFA Research Award recognizes outstanding scholarship in argumentation and forensics published in the previous calendar year. Any published article, text, or book in the field of argumentation and/or forensics is eligible for nomination. The committee will annually publish a call for nominations submitted in accordance with the submission guidelines established by the committee. The committee reserves the right to internally nominate any publication deemed appropriate and meeting other criteria. That is, that an external to the committee nomination is desirable but not a requirement for consideration.
      3. The AFA Outstanding Dissertation or Thesis award recognizes the best thesis or dissertation in the theory and practice of argumentation and forensics completed in the previous calendar year. The candidate must be a member of AFA. The committee will annually publish a call for nominations submitted in accordance with the submission guidelines established by the committee.
    2.  Any official research conducted or research awards presented in the name of the AFA shall have the approval of this committee.
    3. This committee shall receive a specific call and/or specific charge from the AFA President each AFA Presidential term.
    4. Two months prior to the annual meeting of this committee, the committee chair should distribute to committee members a tentative agenda for the annual meeting. The committee chair should issue a call for review and other proposed agenda items from committee members that should be added to the meeting agenda at the annual meeting of this committee.
  2. Appointment and Selection & Duties of Committee Chairperson.
    1. The AFA President shall annually appoint at least 2 members for terms of service of three academic years following the by-laws of the AFA.  The normal number of committee members shall be six with one of the six serving as chair of the committee.
    2. Terms of service shall alternative with approximately one-third (2 members) of the committee membership being appointed each year such that the consistent membership of the committee should be comprised of first, second, and third year members.
    3. Committee members should at the annual meeting elect a chair for a one-year term of service from among the first or second year members. All first and second year members all eligible for election as committee chairperson.
    4. In the event that the chairperson is unable to complete the appointed term of service, the AFA President may appoint a replacement chair to complete that term from among the second year members after consultation with committee members.
    5. The Chair should annually distribute a call for nominations and submissions for the awards by February.  The chair shall poll the members for internal nominations.
    6. The Chair should compile a list of nominations, create and distribute a ballot to the committee membership by October, and coordinate the annual award recipient selections.
      1. The selection of award recipients should be conducted by asking each of the committee members to rank order their preferences for each of the award categories and to rate the relative strength of each nominee.
      2. The chair shall conduct the tabulation of this balloted ranking and rating. The average rating scores should be used in the case of a tie in rankings.
      3. The rankings and ratings of nominations and submissions should not be publicized and should only be revealed in the event of a tie in both rankings and ratings in such case the award is to be shared by the tied nominees.
    7. Miscellaneous additional duties of the committee chair shall include:
      1. preside at all meetings of the committee,
      2. report on behalf of the committee to the AFA National Council and the Annual general Business Meeting of the association,
      3. coordinate the fulfillment of the charge and mission of the committee,
      4. serve as the committee’s liaison with the AFA President, and
      5. coordinate all other tasks associated with the function of the committee.
  3.  Annual Meeting and Voting Procedures
    1.  The Vice President of AFA as Convention Planner shall set the date and time of the annual meeting of the committee.
    2. A quorum shall be the chair and 2 members of the committee.
    3. Each committee member present at the annual meeting shall have a vote. Proxies shall be specific to particular issues and are due to the chair  prior to the meeting.
    4. Issues may arise at times other than the annual meeting. Each committee member shall be polled and given the opportunity to vote on such issues.
    5. At the annual meeting a recorder should be designated and a written record of the committee meeting should be taken and made available.
  4.  Amendments to the By-laws of the Research Committee of the American Forensic Association.
    1. Any member may move amendments to these by-laws.
    2. Amendments should be moved in writing to the chair at least two months prior to the annual meeting. The chair should notify and distribute copies of amendments to all committee members at least one month prior to the annual meeting.
    3. Amendments are to be debated at the annual meeting and shall be considered adopted if approved by a majority of the total membership of the committee. If a majority of the committee is not present at the annual meeting – the chair may conduct a poll of the members to effect a vote on the amendment no later than December 31st following the annual meeting.
  5. Conformity with the AFA governing documents. The standing research committee shall abide with all procedures and policies of the American Forensic Association that supercede and guide the interpretation of the charge and procedures of this committee.

Approved by the Committee, November 1999
Amended by the Committee, November 2000