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NIRSA Elections

Considerations for Amendment

Proposed Amendments to NIRSA’s Bylaws 

Proposed Amendments to NIRSA’s Bylaws for the January 2020 elections

On December 10, the full NIRSA Board approved the proposed amendments to NIRSA’s governing documents; the proposed amendments are now being submitted to the NIRSA membership for consideration and adoption, as part of the 2020 NIRSA online voting and elections process.

“Amended” Bylaws are for the current proposed amendments and all previous versions of Amended and Approved Bylaws are kept on file at the NIRSA Headquarters. NIRSA’s current bylaws can always be viewed from the links on the NIRSA Governing Documents website.

For the 2020 elections, there are two proposed amendments. Each section contains a redlined draft of the proposed amendment, a clean draft of the proposed amendment and a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section that addresses the rationale for the proposed amendment. Red font denotes new language, and red strikethrough font denotes deleted language.

Per the bylaws, adoption of each proposed bylaw amendment shall require the approval by 2/3 of the ballots cast.

Proposed Amendments

FAQ/Rationale for Proposal #1: Article II. Members. Section 4a. Dues and Assessments

In 2018, the Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI) stopped tracking a CPI for Portland, Oregon, which is specifically referenced in the bylaws as the CPI Index NIRSA must use when considering dues increases. As a result, NIRSA member dues cannot be modified without a change to the language of the Dues and Assessments section of the bylaws.

  • NIRSA’s history of dues increases over the last 10 years.
  • How our peer associations manage dues increases in the Bylaws.
  • The dollar impact of the various percentages proposed.
  • The effects of rounding to the nearest whole dollar vs. rounding down in all cases.
  • The pros and cons of tying the parameter to the U.S. Consumer Price Index (CPI)
  • Parameters the members might be comfortable with to allow the Board to make decisions on behalf of the membership.

Historically, indexes have been unpredictable, limited the Leadership to plan strategically, and in some instances the maximum was chosen just because of the irregularity.  In addition, the relevant index numbers were announced after the annual budget process and also prevented multi-year budgeting and strategic plan implementation.

The Board considered numerous factors, including member feedback solicited through the regional conferences, some state workshops, a webinar, and an online feedback submission form. The Board and Finance Committee considered options in the 0-5% range, taking into consideration the impact on the operating budget, NIRSA’s ability to deliver high quality and timely products and services, and the impact on Members.  Additionally, many Members who attended the Town Hall at the 2019 Annual Conference indicated they would support a 0-3.5% range as long as it eliminated any reference to CPI.

The Board initially solicited feedback from Members on a 0-3.5% range.  This range balanced NIRSA’s needs to continue to produce high quality and timely member benefits through time with a reasonable parameter Members could plan on when designing their own budgets. There was a variety of feedback about the rationale for this range.

After hearing member feedback through regional conferences, some state workshops, a webinar, an online feedback submission form, and taking into consideration that seven out of the past 10 years have seen dues increases below 3.0%, the Board reduced the range to 0-3%. While this may reduce the Board’s ability to be as nimble, the Board still has the option to present a vote to Members for a larger increase if needed.

2002. At the time, the Association was experiencing a significant financial challenge due to over-reliance on so-called ‘soft money’ or sponsorship money. To put the Association on more stable footing, the members voted on a 23% increase for professionals, a 13% increase for students, and a 50-75% increase for institutions (depending on enrollment); the institutional increase was implemented over a three year period.

Yes, since at least 1997, the Bylaws have provided authority to the Board of Directors to implement dues increases within a parameter. Increases in excess of the parameter requires a Member vote.

For over two decades, dues increases were tied to the Consumer Price Index for Portland, Oregon (CPI-Portland). For the past 10 years the change in this index has ranged from 0–3.9%.

When CPI-Portland was low or 0% it put pressure on other fees (primarily registration fees) to make up the difference since NIRSA’s costs (salaries & benefits, event expenses, travel, building maintenance, software, etc.) don’t necessarily track with the consumer price indexes.

With a fixed range to work within, the Finance Committee can develop multi-year budgets for the Board for better planning. A known range, rather than an unpredictable index, allows the Board to be more nimble and better respond to emerging Member needs.

Annually, the NIRSA Board and NIRSA Finance Committee consider a variety of factors and inputs. They review trends and strategic plans in NIRSA’s three main revenue sources: dues, education events, and sponsorship/exposition. They consider the financial environment that members are operating in. They consider trends in the overall economy and in higher education. They consider the strategic plan, strategic priorities, member benefits, the cost of education offerings, administration, and overhead. Dues increases are considered in the context of all of these factors and as such, may also be lower than 3%.

The Association has a long-standing strategy to increase dues and fees by a little each year, rather than surprise Members with periodic and larger increases. This provides a more stable structure for Members and NIRSA.

Amounts below are based on professionals and students from member institutions. To illustrate impact on institutional dues, two of the ten enrollment categories were selected.

Current 1% rounded down
(effective rate)
2% rounded down
(effective rate)
3% rounded down
(effective rate)
Professional $146 $147
+$1 (0.68%)
$148
+$2 (1.4%)
$150
+$4 (2.7%)
Student $68 $68
+$0 (0.0%)
$69
+$1 (1.5%)
$70
+$2 (2.9%)
Institution
(2,500-5,000 enrollment)
$739 $746
+$7 (0.95%)
$753
+$14 (1.9%)
$761
+$22 (2.98%)
Institution
(25,000-30,000 enrollment)
$1,547 $1,562
+$15 (0.97%)
$1,578
+$30 (1.9%)
$1,593
+$46 (2.97%)

In 2019 staffing was restructured resulting in a 1.175 reduction in FTE. Additionally, travel for networking, advocacy, the NIRSA Board and the Member Network was reduced.

In the recently approved 2020 operating budget, the Finance Committee and staff worked together to make choices to balance the budget. Because expenses are increasing at a faster rate than revenue, decisions were made to cut benefits for NIRSA Staff, reduce staff travel for advocacy and networking, and eliminate staff professional development other than local opportunities. Sales and business development travel was also reduced.

Increases in membership dues allow NIRSA to keep pace with the rising costs for programs, products, services, resources, etc. NIRSA, as an association, has to provide its own IT support, HR support, building maintenance, etc., and is unable to rely on other entities to provide that support. To help provide consistent and quality member services, association management best practices recommend smaller regular dues increases as opposed to larger increases that are sporadic or inconsistent.

  • Curate content and research for the profession to stay informed of best practices and emerging trends.
  • Facilitate networking among students and professionals
  • Advocate for the profession – within Higher Education and legislatively
  • Provide an avenue for recognizing achievements within the profession
  • Coordinate Extramural and Sport Club Tournaments
  • Provide a job board for campus recreation professionals and employers looking for similar talent
  • Assist campus recreation departments in generating revenue through campus activations

Professional and Student members enjoy the following benefits:

  • Online networking and access to resources in NIRSA Connect
  • Access to research and benchmarking tools
  • The Recreational Sports Journal
  • Timely legislative and policy updates
  • Eligibility to present at NIRSA education events
  • Eligibility for NIRSA Awards
  • Eligibility for NIRSA Foundation Scholarships
  • Eligibility to grow competencies though NIRSA leadership positions
  • Discounts from our partners
  • Discounts on NIRSA education events and resources

Institutional Members enjoy the following benefits:

  • Early access to all NIRSA research reports
  • Full access to all NIRSA benchmarking tools
  • Discounts on NIRSA custom benchmarking reports
  • Discounts on bluefishjobs.com job postings
  • First consideration for NIRSA media coverage
  • Eligibility for NIRSA Awards
  • Free access to the CAS Standards for Collegiate Recreation and Health Promotions
  • Discounts on NIRSA education and sport events
  • Discounts on NIRSA resources
  • One free individual membership

NIRSA has three primary drivers of revenue in the operating budget: dues, registration fees and exposition/sponsorship. The mix of these revenue sources are considered each year in the budget process. Limitations on one revenue source shifts revenue expectations to other sources or requires decreases in expenses.

Dues increases generally take effect on July 1 each year.

Members have indicated that they didn’t understand the rationale for the proposal and wanted more of an opportunity for input. The Board worked with the Bylaws Committee and Member Network in spring 2019 to create significantly enhanced communication and feedback pathways. This included regional conference presentations, some state workshop presentations, a webinar (live and recorded) and an online feedback submission form.

As a result of this feedback process, the Board in consultation with the Bylaws Committee, Finance Committee and Member Network decided to lower the cap to 3.0%. This adjustment balances the nimbleness of Board decision-making with the financial realities being experienced by many members.

Through attendance at the regional and state events, webinar participants and views, and use of the online feedback form, around 500 members engaged in this process and many provided feedback through these forums.

NIRSA leaders present a “NIRSA Financial Year in Review” every spring.  Recently, this has been presented as a webinar in March.

FAQ/Rationale for Proposal #2: Article VII. Assembly

When NIRSA created the Assembly as part of the Governance Transition in 2009, language was created to describe what the Assembly was and did. At the time, the word “national” implied a broad reach for professionals and students in the collegiate recreation profession. When NIRSA adopted its six strategic values in 2012, one of which was “Global Perspectives,” the Global Perspectives Commission and other leaders in the Association recognized that the word “national” could be interpreted as limited to attendees only from the United States.

Yes, as a nod to our growing outreach to Canada and other professional and institutional members and nonmembers from countries outside of the United States, NIRSA instituted a series of changes between 2012-2014 that included:

  • Changing “National Student Leader” to “NIRSA Student Leader”
  • Changing “NIRSA National Center” to “NIRSA Headquarters”
  • Where appropriate, changing the word “National” to “NIRSA” (National School of Recreational Sports Management” to the “NIRSA School of Collegiate Recreation”).

Removing the word “national” from the description of the Assembly created an opportunity to incorporate the broader role of the Assembly. Based on the current work of the Assembly as the “Think Tank for the Profession” and being open to both members and non-members, the Assembly recommended that the definition of the Assembly in the Bylaws, specifically reflect its role within the profession of collegiate recreation.

Proposed Amendments to NIRSA’s Bylaws for the January 2020 elections are coming soon.

NIRSA’s current bylaws  can always be viewed from the links on the NIRSA Governing Documents website.

Proposed Amendments to NIRSA’s Bylaws for the January 2020 elections

NIRSA’s current bylaws can always be viewed from the links on the NIRSA Governing Documents website.

For the 2020 elections, there are two proposed amendments. Final proposed amendments to NIRSA’s bylaws will be presented to the membership in mid-December.

Provide Your Feedback by November 1

Each section contains the Proposed amendment, followed by supporting rationale. The proposed amendments are shown in a boxed section. Red font denotes new language, and red strikethrough font denotes deleted language.

Town Hall Videoconference

A Town Hall videoconference was recorded on Wednesday, October 9.

This was also presented at fall Regional Conferences and state workshops.

View the Town Hall videoconference »

The 2018-2019 NIRSA Bylaws Committee has worked closely with the Team at NIRSA Headquarters and NIRSA Legal Counsel in preparing proposed amendments to the Bylaws for NIRSA Board of Directors review and approval. On December 4, the full NIRSA Board approved the proposed amendments to NIRSA’s governing documents; the proposed amendments are now being submitted to the NIRSA membership for consideration and adoption, as part of the 2019 NIRSA online voting and elections process.

“Amended” Bylaws are for the current proposed amendments and all previous versions of Amended and Approved Bylaws are kept on file at the NIRSA Headquarters. NIRSA’s current bylaws can always be viewed from the links on the NIRSA Governing Documents website.

For the 2019 elections, there are six (6) proposed amendments. Each section contains Rationale that precedes the proposed amendment. The Rationale was created by the Bylaws Committee using information provided by the leadership group(s) that initially proposed the amendment change. The proposed amendments are shown in a boxed section following the rationale. Red font denotes new language, and red strikethrough font denotes deleted language.

Additionally, in the spirit of transparency, the Board supports each of these proposed amendments to appear as separate voting options on the 2019 ballot. Per the bylaws, adoption of each proposed bylaw amendment shall require the approval by 2/3 of the ballots cast.

1. Preamble. Mission Statement.

During the 2018-2021 Strategic Plan development process, the task force recommended that an abbreviated Mission Statement be used that focused on the “what,” without the “how” and changed the word “wellness” to “wellbeing.” After the approval of the Strategic Plan, which included the abbreviated Mission Statement, the NIRSA Board of Directors agreed that it would be in the best interests of the Association to maintain one Mission Statement, and not have multiple versions.

Mission Statement: NIRSA is a leader in higher education and the advocate for the advancement of recreation, sport, and wellbeing.ness by providing educational and developmental opportunities, generating and sharing knowledge, and promoting networking and growth for our members.

2. Article II. Members.
Section 2. Admission.

Current bylaws state that the Board of Directors or the Executive Director can determine if an applicant qualifies for admission to any class of membership (meets the qualifications of the membership class). This section has been broadened to allow for the board of directors or executive director to have the same authority for membership renewals (members continue to meet the qualifications of the membership class).

Admission and Renewal. The board of directors as provided for in these Bylaws shall admit members in the event that the board of directors has not designated this function to the executive director. The board of directors or the executive director, as the case may be, shall has the authority to determine: (i) whether an applicant qualifies for admission and/or renewal and (ii) the most appropriate to any class of membership for such member. and, if so, the class of membership for which the applicant may qualify.

3. Article II. Members.
Section 4A. Dues and Assessments.

As stated in the current bylaws, the NIRSA Board of Directors determines the annual dues for Institutional, Professional and Student Member categories and any increases may not exceed the Portland, Oregon CPI without a 2/3 majority vote of the members.

In 2018, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) eliminated the Portland, Oregon CPI calculation which is currently referenced in the Bylaws.  As a result, the Finance Committee recommended to amend the Bylaws to replace the “CPI for Portland, Oregon,” with the “US City average (CPI).”

The Finance Committee also discussed additional methods for determining member dues when CPI was flat or very small (less than 2%). A flat or small CPI makes it difficult to meet the financial needs of the association and grow the profession within higher education.  Given these constraints, the Finance Committee recommended that in addition to being able to raise dues by the CPI without a 2/3 majority vote, that the Board should also be able to increase member dues by up to 3.5% without a 2/3 majority vote.

The proposed amendment allows the Board, when determining membership dues, to utilize the US City average CPI or adopt, (up to) a 3.5% rate increase.

A. Payment of dues will be in advance and shall be a condition precedent to membership in good standing. The membership year for all classes of membership shall be based on an anniversary date system. The board of directors shall determine annual dues for institutional, professional, professional life, and student membership categories. Dues increases for these categories may not exceed the cumulative increase of the United States Consumer Price Index (CPI) as of January 1 from the date of the most recent dues increase or 3.5%, whichever is higher, unless approved by a two-thirds (2/3) majority vote of members present and eligible to vote at an annual meeting or, in the event of written or electronic ballot, two-thirds (2/3) majority vote of valid ballots returned. The CPI used shall be the CPI for Portland, Oregon. the US City average from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The board of directors shall set the annual dues for associate members.

4. Article V. Committees and Volunteer Groups.
Section 2A. Standing Committees.

In 2010, as part of the Governance Transition Team recommendations, primary duties were outlined for the Past Presidents’ Representatives when serving on the Member Network and the Assembly. These duties included the Past Presidents’ Representative – Member Network being appointed as a non-voting member of the Finance Committee and the Past Presidents’ Representative-Assembly being appointed as a non-voting member of the Nominations & Appointments Committee to provide historical perspective and serve as a resource to those committees.

Currently, neither of the standing committees list the Past Presidents’ Representative as a member and in practice, everyone listed as a member is able to vote. Over the past nine years, not only have the Past Presidents’ Representatives brought valuable insight and perspective to the discussions of these standing committees, but their opinion is valued as well. It is the recommendation of the NIRSA Board of Directors, that the Past Presidents’ Representative be made formal, voting members of NIRSA Standing Committees.

Section 2. Standing Committees

A. Nominations and Appointments Committee. The Nominations and Appointments Committee shall be a standing committee of the Association comprised of two members of the board of directors (one serving as Chair), the Past Presidents’ Representative (Assembly), two voting members from each region, and the NIRSA Student Leader. The Regional Representative shall recommend a Nominations & Appointments Committee Member from his or her region to the Member Network. The Member Network shall then appoint the regional members. The two voting members from each region shall serve staggered two-year terms on the Nominations and Appointments Committee. The Chair of the Committee may seek information on specific appointments from additional professional and student members, who will not be members of the Committee. The NIRSA Student Leader shall serve a one-year term on the committee.

B. Audit and Finance Committee. The Audit and Finance Committee shall be a standing committee of the Association, comprised of two members of the board of directors (one serving as chair), the Past Presidents’ Representative (Member Network) and three professional members serving staggered three year terms.

5. Article VII. Assembly.

The Assembly recommends a Bylaw change to provide nimbleness within its own operation and make-up by reducing regional membership requirement from 3 to 2 and allowing the Convener position to have been a previous member of the Assembly within the last two years or a Past Presidents’ Representative or NIRSA Board Member.

Regional Representation
Since its inception, the Assembly Selection Work Team has followed the outlined procedures and guidelines to recommend the Assembly members. In addition to the years of service guidelines ensuring engagement at all levels within NIRSA, there is an additional requirement that there must be a minimum of three (3) Assembly members from each region to serve on the Assembly. This has proven challenging for several reasons and at times dictate candidates selected for the Assembly due to the following reasons.

  • Insufficient applications from any one region
  • Disproportionate membership numbers by region impact likelihood of selection
  • Quality applicants not selected because must meet regional requirement in another region

Reducing the regional requirement from 3 to 2, still accounts for regional representation, but provides increased flexibility to weigh other factors when populating the Assembly. These factors may include, but are not limited to, written question responses, professional work experience and NIRSA engagement, institutional descriptors, and topic interest.

Convener
Other than the NIRSA Board of Directors, the Assembly is the only Leadership Group that is facilitated by a board member as outlined in the bylaws. The initial “think tank for NIRSA” concept was extremely innovative and the designers framed it with a board member as Convener to keep a strong tie to the board to help guide the direction. Because the board member appointed as Convener has changed regularly, this has led to inconsistent direction over the years. Now almost ten years later and similar to the Member Network, the Assembly serves as a pipeline for other leadership positions. The Assembly wishes to follow the Member Network’s revised model, where the chair has an additional year to facilitate the internal operations and communication. A year serving as an Assembly member would provide continuity and knowledge for the Convener to guide the Assembly’s valuable think work. The board member and Past Presidents’ Representative would then serve as council to the Convener.

A. The Assembly facilitates national discussion, the germination of ideas and ensures contemporary relevance.

B. The Assembly shall be comprised of a broad constituency of the Association’s members, including, but not limited to:

  1. Members of the Association with expertise in strategic areas and a broad working knowledge of the profession;
  2. Student members and young professionals in the first five years of their professional membership in the Association;
  3. The Past Presidents’ Assembly Representative serving a two-year term (elected by Past Presidents); and
  4. One member of the Board of Directors as appointed by the President, will serve as the Board Representative to the Assembly;
  5. The Convener of the Assembly

C. One member of the Board of Directors, as appointed by the President, will serve as Convener of the Assembly The Convener of the Assembly must be the Board Representative to the Assembly, current Past Presidents’ Assembly Representative , or have been a previous member of the Assembly within the last two years. The nomination of the Convener shall be in accordance with Association policy as determined by resolution of the Board of Directors.

    1. The NIRSA Board of Directors retains the right to approve the appointment of the Convener to the Assembly

D. The board of directors shall fix by resolution the number of representatives in the Assembly, except as otherwise provided in this Article VII and the schedule for meetings. The process for appointments shall be in accordance with Association policy and these Bylaws, except that representative membership in the Assembly is limited to not more than one member from any institution and a minimum of three two members from each region, provided, however, that a representative’s term shall not be shortened by virtue of any change in the representative’s employment situation or geographic region. The NIRSA Foundation Board of Directors, the NIRSA Services Corporation Board of Directors, the Member Network, any member of a standing committee of the Association and any member of the board of directors, excluding the Chair of the Assembly or Past Presidents’ Representatives, are ineligible to serve in the Assembly. Exceptions to this include the Past Presidents’ Representative and the Board of Directors Representative.

6. Article XIV. Robert’s Rules of Order Revised.

NIRSA legal counsel recommended to NIRSA Leadership Groups that if they are not consistently following Robert’s Rules of Order, that they remove or reword that article in their bylaws to reflect how they conduct business. The proposed language was provided by NIRSA’s Legal Counsel.

Article XIV. Robert’s Rules of Order Revised
Unless otherwise provided by the Oregon Nonprofit Corporation Act or these Bylaws, all meetings and proceedings of the Association and its local chapters shall be governed by, and in accordance with, Robert’s Rules of Order Revised.

Article XIV. Rules of Order
All meetings and proceedings of the Association and its local chapters shall be governed by, and in accordance with, applicable law and their respective governing documents and internal policies; provided, however, that in the event that a procedural question arises that cannot be resolved looking only to applicable law and internal policies, Robert’s Rules of Order Revised shall control.