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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

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.

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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 is the same information that will be presented at fall Regional Conferences and state workshops.

View the Town Hall videoconference »

Proposed Amendments

Related News

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.

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.