From the AHA Activities column of the December 2006 Perspectives
Business Meeting Resolutions
AHA Staff, December 2006
This article has been modified from how it appeared in the print version of the December Perspectives. The third resolution was added and the article was adjusted to include it.
Article VII of the AHA constitution states that the Association's Council shall call a business meeting, open to all members of the Association in good standing, to convene at the time of the annual meeting. The business meeting of the 121st annual meeting is scheduled for Saturday, January 6, in the Hilton Atlanta's Fulton/Cobb Rooms, beginning at 4:45 p.m.
At the business meeting, AHA members can consider resolutions, deal with proposals of any kind concerning the affairs of the Association, receive reports of officers and committees, and instruct officers and the Council. All measures adopted by the business meeting come before the Council for acceptance, nonconcurrence, or veto. If accepted by the Council, they shall be binding on the Association. The Council may veto any measure adopted by the business meeting that it believes to be in violation of the Association's constitution or which, on advice of counsel, it judges to be in violation of law. The Council shall publish an explanation for each such veto. The Council may vote not to concur in any measure adopted by the business meeting. Within 90 days of the Council meeting following the business meeting, the Council shall publish its opinion of each measure with which it does not concur and submit the measure to a mail ballot of the entire membership. If approved by a majority of the members in the mail ballot, the measure shall be binding on the Association. The Council may postpone implementation of any measure adopted by the business meeting or approved by mail ballot that in its judgment is financially or administratively unfeasible. The Council shall publish an explanation of each such decision and justify it at the subsequent business meeting.
Bylaw 9(4), which provides procedures to carry out the provisions of Article VII regarding the business meeting, states that any member of the Association may present resolutions or other motions that introduce new business to the agenda of the annual business meeting. Such resolutions must be:
- Received in the office of the AHA executive director not later than December 15 prior to the annual meeting,
- In proper parliamentary form,
- Signed by at least 25 members of the Association in good standing,
- Not more than 300 words in length including any introductory material, and
- Deal with a matter of concern to the Association, to the profession of history, or to the academic profession.
Resolutions are placed on the agenda for consideration in the order in which they are received, but resolutions received on or before November 1 are published in the December newsletter and can—subject to the discretion of the Council—take precedence over other resolutions. Bylaw 9(5) states that no motion, resolution, or other business shall be passed by a division of the members at the annual business meeting unless there is present a quorum of 100 members in good standing.
- Resolution Opposing the Use of Speech Codes to Restrict Academic Freedom
- Resolution to Subscribe to the Informed Meetings Exchange
- Resolution on United States Government Practices Inimical to the Values of the Historical Profession (this resolution did not appear in the print version of the December Perspectives)
Whereas, The American Historical Association has already gone on record against the threat to academic freedom posed by the Academic Bill of Rights;
Whereas, Free and open discourse is essential to the success of research and learning on campus;
Whereas, Administrators and others have used campus speech codes and associated non-academic criteria to improperly restrict faculty choices on curriculum, course content, and personnel decisions; and
Whereas, Administrators and others have also used speech codes to restrict free and open discourse for students and faculty alike through such methods as “free speech zones” and censorship of campus publications; therefore be it
Resolved, That the American Historical Association opposes the use of speech codes to restrict academic freedom.
Whereas, The success of the meetings and conventions of the American Historical Association are critical to the success of the wider organization;
Whereas, The AHA has an interest in avoiding the effects of a labor dispute upon its meetings;
Whereas, The Informed Meetings Exchange (INMEX) has recently been created to grant subscribing organizations access to information that will help avoid labor disputes at future meetings;
Whereas, Subscribing to INMEX does not entail a commitment to take any specific action with respect to any particular hotel, but would better equip the AHA to implement the resolution passed at its 119th Business Meeting, held on January 8, 2005, regarding hotel workers and AHA conventions;
Whereas, The American Historical Association endorses the principles* that are affirmed by subscribing to INMEX; and
Whereas, Over 150 organizations holding conventions spending over $250 million annually have subscribed to INMEX, including the Organization of American Historians, the American Anthropological Association, the American Sociological Association, the American Academy of Religion, the Society for Biblical Literature, the American Studies Association, American Association for Applied Linguistics, the American Public Health Association and the American Chemical Society; therefore, be it
Resolved, That the AHA shall subscribe to the Informed Meetings Exchange (INMEX).
*The principles can be found at www.inmex.org/media/fckeditor/inmex_pledgesheet.pdf.
Resolution on United States Government Practices Inimical to the Values of the Historical Profession
Whereas, The American Historical Association’s Statement on Standards of Professional Conduct emphasize the importance of open inquiry to the pursuit of historical knowledge;
Whereas, the American Historical Association adopted a resolution in January 2004 re-affirming the principles of free speech, open debate of foreign policy, and open access to government records in furthering the work of the historical profession;
Whereas during the war in Iraq and the so-called war on terror, the current Administration has violated the above-mentioned standards and principles through the following practices:
*excluding well-recognized foreign scholars;
*condemning as “revisionism” the search for truth about pre-war intelligence;
*re-classifying previously unclassified government documents;
*suspending in certain cases the centuries-old writ of habeas corpus and substituting indefinite administrative detention without specified criminal charges or access to a court of law;
*using interrogation techniques at Guantanamo, Abu-Ghraib, Bagram, and other locations incompatible with respect for the dignity of all persons required by a civilized society;
Whereas a free society and the unfettered intellectual inquiry essential to the practice of historical research, writing, and teaching are imperiled by the practices described above; and
Whereas, the foregoing practices are inextricably linked to the war in which the United States is presently engaged in Iraq; now, therefore, be it
Resolved, That the American Historical Association urges its members through publication of this resolution in Perspectives and other appropriate outlets:
- To take a public stand as citizens on behalf of the values necessary to the practice of our profession; and
- To do whatever they can to bring the Iraq war to a speedy conclusion.