MAA News – Important Changes to MAA Election Procedures and Governance

To the Members of the Medieval Academy of America:

I am very pleased to announce the following important changes to the Medieval Academy of America By-Laws, as recommended by the Centennial Committee and recently approved by the Council:

Article 23. There shall be a Nominating Committee composed of six members and a chair. Of the six members, two will be elected each year to serve for three years. Each year the President will nominate four members of the Academy to stand for election to the Nominating Committee, and other members may be nominated by petition as specified below (Article 26). The chair of the Committee will be appointed by the President from among members of former Nominating Committees to serve for one year.

What this means: The Nominating Committee formerly consisted of four elected members serving in classes of two for two-year staggered terms, in addition to an appointed Chair. From now on, the Nominating Committee will be expanded to six elected members serving in classes of two for three-year staggered terms, in addition to an appointed Chair. The impending change to Article 24 (see below) will give the Nominating Committee more work to do, and so the Committee will be expanded accordingly.

Article 24. The Nominating Committee shall nominate at least two members of the Academy for each vacancy among the Councillors. It shall nominate one member of the Academy for vacancies in the offices of President and First Vice-President, and, as of 1 February 2020, three members for the office of Second Vice-President. Normally, the Second Vice-President will proceed to the first vice-presidency, and First Vice-President to the presidency. Should the office of Second or First Vice-President be vacant, the Nominating Committee shall nominate three members of the Academy for the office of First Vice-President or President respectively.

The Nominating Committee exercises its powers independent of the Officers and the Council. It may consult with anyone whom it chooses. The Executive Director shall provide the Nominating Committee with such information as it requires in advance of its deliberation and shall attend such portions of its meetings as he or she is invited to attend to provide further information about members. On completion of the Committee’s deliberation, the Executive Director, if asked to do so by the Committee, shall as promptly as possible ascertain potential candidates’ willingness to appear on the ballot and report back to the Committee. In making its choice of candidates the Committee shall take into consideration factors leading to diversity of nominees.

What this means: Beginning with the 2021 governance election – to be held in the fall of 2020 – the Second Vice-President will be selected from a slate of three nominees instead of running unopposed.

Article 27: The elected officers of the Academy, the Councillors, and the members of the Nominating Committee shall be elected by electronic or mail ballot by a majority vote of all members of the Academy who vote. Such ballot shall include all members nominated by the Nominating Committee and those nominated by petition as specified in Article 26. The ballot for positions with two or more candidates shall be conducted by ranked choice voting. Every non-institutional member of the Academy shall be entitled to one vote for each position on the election ballot and one vote in person upon each subject properly submitted to a vote of the members at the annual meeting or any special meeting. Institutional members are not entitled to vote. The terms of the newly-elected officers, Councillors, and members of the Nominating Committee shall begin at the end of the annual meeting.

What this means: This change asserts the validity of online voting and clarifies the process for determining the results of the online governance election.

Article 37:
These By-Laws may be amended by an affirmative vote of two-thirds of the members of the Council. Any amendment to the by-laws adopted by the Council shall be noticed to the members in the announcement of the next meeting of the members, and any amendment adopted by the Council may be amended or repealed by the members at that meeting.

What this means: It is no longer required that the Fellows be consulted regarding proposed changes to the By-Laws. To ensure compliance with the previous version of this Article, the Fellows were consulted at the recent Fellows’ Meeting and gave their assent.

The updated By-Laws are posted on our website.

Please consult our FAQ page for additional information about our governance and organizational structure. As always, please feel free to contact me with any questions about the Medieval Academy of America.

– Lisa

Lisa Fagin Davis
Executive Director
Medieval Academy of America

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