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Constitution of the American Association of Geographers

(updated Summer 2020)

Article I - Name

The name of the organization shall be the American Association of Geographers.

Article II - Objectives

The objectives of the Association shall be to further professional investigations in geography and to encourage the application of geographic findings in education, government, and business. The Association shall support these objectives by promoting acquaintance and discussion among its members and with scholars in related fields by stimulating research and scientific exploration, by encouraging the publication of scholarly studies, and by performing services to aid the advancement of its members and the field of geography. The Association shall receive and administer funds in support of research and publication in the field of geography.

Article III - Membership

Section 1. Individual Members. Persons who are interested in the objectives of the Association are eligible for membership and may become Members upon payment of dues and satisfaction of the Association’s Member eligibility policies. Membership in the Association may be conditioned on continued payment of dues and on compliance with the Association's policies and rules applicable to Members.

Section 2. Institutional Members. Corporations, firms, institutions, libraries, departments, and other scientific, education, and/or business associations interested in the objectives of the Association may become Institutional Members. The Council at its discretion shall determine the types, classes, or categories of such membership.

Section 3. Individual Membership Rights.Unless such rights are restricted, suspended, or revoked in accordance with Association rules, policies and procedures, Members shall have full rights to nominate candidates for the Association and its regional officers, vote thereon, and hold such offices if duly elected, and shall be entitled to participate, under applicable rules, in meetings, programs, and other activities and services of the Association and its regional divisions.

Section 4. Associate Members. Associate memberships are available to members of kindred scholarly associations and societies with which the Association has agreements for reciprocal privileges and services. Associate Members have all the rights of Individual Members except those limited by a specific agreement.

Section 5. Non-Discrimination. The Association shall not discriminate in the execution of its purposes on grounds unrelated to professional competence or to Association values, as expressed in the rules and policies adopted by the Association.

Article IV - Officers, Council, and Committees

Section 1. Officers, Councilors, and Elected Committees. The officers of the Association shall be a President, a Vice-President, a Secretary, and a Treasurer. The President and Vice-President shall be elected at-large. The Secretary and Treasurer shall be elected by Council from among its own members. The Councilors shall be six elected at-large, one elected from and by each regional division, and one elected from and by the student members of the association. Voting shall be conducted in a format and manner determined by the Council, including but not limited to mailed or electronic ballot, or by any other means authorized under applicable District of Columbia law. The duties of the President, Vice-President, and Treasurer shall be those normally pertaining to their posts. The Secretary shall serve as Secretary of the Council and the Executive Committee. A Nominating Committee and an Honors Committee shall be elected at-large annually. Terms of office shall begin on July 1 following the Annual Meeting of the Association. The terms of office shall be one year for President, Vice-President, and members of the Nominating Committee; two years for Secretary and Treasurer, or for the duration of his/her term on Council, and the Honors Committee, three years both for National and for Regional Councilors, and two years for the Student Councilor. The President, Vice‑President, and those Councilors serving full terms shall not be eligible for reelection for a term not to exceed their Council term. The terms of office of the Councilors shall be arranged so that, except for the Student Councilor, one‑third of those elected at-large and one-third of those elected by the Divisions shall be retired each year.

Section 2. Executive Director. An Executive Director appointed by the Council shall manage the affairs of the Association, maintain its Central Office, and serve as an ex officio, non‑voting member of all administrative committees and on other committees as Council may approve.

Section 3. Council. The Council shall consist of the officers and councilors elected under Section 1, the most recent Past President, and ex officio, the Executive Director. The Council shall be the governing body of the Association, establish committees and determine Association policies and procedures; it may assign specific responsibilities to the various officers and committees of the Association. The Council may delegate to officers and to the Executive Director authority to sign contracts.

The Council shall appoint Editors, Assistant Editors, Editorial Boards, and project directors as appropriate. Council shall appoint a parliamentarian to assist the Association at Council meetings and the Annual Business and Special Awards Meeting.

Except as otherwise provided in this Constitution, member(s) of committees may be appointed by the President, subject to the approval of the Council, and shall act according to procedures established by the Council.

The Council shall meet at least once each year at the call of the President. A majority of the voting members of the Council shall constitute a quorum. The Minutes of the Council shall be published as promptly as practicable.

Section 4. Executive Committee. The Executive Committee shall consist of the President, Vice‑President, Secretary, Treasurer, and the most recent Past President. The Executive Committee may invite other members to participate in discussion of matters within their special competence. The Executive Committee shall meet when necessary to facilitate the operations of the Association between Council meetings and prepare policy statements for consideration by Council. Actions of the Executive Committee shall be subject to approval by the Council. The Minutes of the Executive Committee shall be published as promptly as practicable.

Article V - Meetings

Section 1. Annual Meetings. The Annual Meeting of the Association shall be held at such time and place as the Council may designate. The Council may arrange other meetings in addition to the Annual Meeting.

Section 2. Business Meeting. A Business and Special Awards Meeting shall be held during the Annual Meeting. During the Business Meeting there shall be reports of the officers, and such other business as has been placed on the Agenda by the Council or as proposed by the membership under pertinent rules established by the Council within the scope of Article IV, Section 3, of this Constitution. The Agenda shall be posted during the opening day at the annual meeting. All resolutions adopted by the Council or by an Annual Business Meeting must fall within the scope of the objectives of the Association of American Geographers as stated in Article II of the Constitution; those outside the scope of these objectives are to be ruled out of order. Petitions and resolutions must be submitted in writing or by email to the Executive Director. Petitions and resolutions may be submitted at any time, but if the petitioners would like a resolution considered at the Business Meeting, the petition and resolutions must be submitted in writing to the Executive Director at least 24 hours in advance of the Annual Business Meeting, and must be prominently posted by the same deadline at the Meeting.

Article VI - Regional Divisions

Section 1. Establishment of Regional Divisions. The Association by vote of the Council may establish Regional Divisions in specific areas and may contribute toward the operation of these divisions. Such divisions shall promote the objectives of the Association in their respective areas and report annually their activities, income, and expenditures to the AAG Office. Upon the establishment of a Division, a Chair and a Secretary‑Treasurer shall be appointed by the Council. After an initial term of the appointed officers, not to exceed two years, all officers shall be elected by the Members of the Division. The Council shall determine the boundaries of the Division. On recommendation of the Council and by majority vote of Members voting at the Business Meeting of the Association, a Division may be disbanded for inactivity or other cause.

Section 2. Officers and Duties. Each Division shall have a Chair and such other officers and committees as the Division may authorize. All officers and the Regional Councilors shall be Members of the Association. The Chair shall serve for not more than two consecutive years.

Section 3. Local Chapters. Subject to approval by the Council, the Divisions may authorize local chapters.

Article VII - Specialty Groups

Groups with special interest in specific subfields of geography may be formed by the Association, under such rules and procedures and with such support as the Council may prescribe, to sponsor professional activities designed to advance the collective state of knowledge in those subfields.

Article VIII - Changes in the Constitution

Changes in the Constitution proposed either by the Council or by petition of 100 Members may be made by affirmative vote of a majority of Members voting in either of two ways; first, at any regular meeting by mailed or electronic ballot or handed to the Secretary, provided that printed notice of the proposed change was mailed or emailed to all Members with the meeting notice; second, by mailed or electronic ballot, or by any other means authorized under applicable District of Columbia law at any time, provided that 60 days notice of the proposed change has been mailed or emailed to all Members.

Bylaws of the American Association of Geographers

Section 1. Dues. All members shall pay an annual fee as set by Council and the membership. Any increase in dues shall be made in accordance with the restrictions outlined in the Standing Rules of the Association which have been adopted by Council and which have been ratified by the majority of Members voting either in person at the Business Meeting, by mailed or electronic ballot, or by any other means authorized under applicable District of Columbia law. The Council may waive the fee in individual cases that warrant special consideration. Members may obtain a waiver of further payment of the annual fee by making a single payment equal to twenty times the current annual fee (i.e., "life" membership); payments thus made shall be invested in the name of the Association. Institutional Members shall pay an annual fee determined by the Council as appropriate for the type of class represented. Members in arrears shall be dropped from the Association after due notice, according to the procedures established and announced by the Council.

Section 2. Methods of Nomination and Election

a) Officers: The Secretary and Treasurer shall be elected by the Council from among its own members. The Nominating Committee shall make two or more nominations for each other office except that the Vice-President may be named as a single candidate for the Presidency; if the Vice-President is not able to accept this candidacy, the Nominating Committee must nominate at least two candidates for the Presidency. The Nominating Committee shall submit its slate of candidates to the AAG Office in accordance with the timetable designated by Council in the Standing Rules. The membership shall be promptly notified of these nominations. Additional nominations may be made in writing by any 50 members of the Association if received in the AAG Office within the time frame established by Council and outlined in the Association's Standing Rules. The Council shall have power to fill vacancies until the next election.

b) Elective Committees: A Nominating Committee of three members and an Honors Committee of three members shall be elected by mailed or electronic ballot or by any other means authorized under applicable District of Columbia law at the same time and in the same manner as officers and at-large Councilors. The Council shall make at least six nominations each for members of the Nominating Committee and of the Honors Committee. Nominations by Council to these committees shall be sent to the Members with the nominations for Officers and Councilors; additional nominations may be made in the manner prescribed for Officers and Councilors. Five years must elapse before a Past President can be a member of the Nominating Committee.

c) Voting By Members: All members of the Association shall have a single vote to cast in all matters. Member voting shall be conducted in a format and manner determined by the Council and as set forth in these Bylaws, including but not limited to mailed or electronic ballot, or by any other means authorized under applicable District of Columbia law. Members unable to vote by electronic means shall have the option by request to vote by other appropriate means.

d) Officers, Councilors, and Committee members must be Members with unrestricted rights to be eligible for those positions, and shall automatically be removed from those positions upon loss of Membership for any reason.

Section 3. Honors. The Association shall encourage meritorious achievements in geography by awarding honors in special recognition of outstanding contributions toward the advancement or welfare of the profession. The contributions may be in research, applied research, writing, teaching, committee work, administrative work, collaborative work with non-geographers, or other aspects of professional geographic work. The Honors Committee shall submit to the Council nominations for awards at least two weeks before the Council fall meeting, accompanied by a statement indicating the contribution which forms the basis of the proposed award. At the Annual Meeting the President shall announce the award of such honors as the Council may have approved.The Association may adopt policies setting criteria for awarding of honors and providing procedures for revocation of honors.

Section 4. Past President. It shall be the responsibility of the Past President to address the Annual Meeting.

Section 5. Committees. The Council of the Association shall from time to time designate standing committees.

Section 6. Petition and Resolutions.
a) Fifty (50) or more members of the Association may formally petition the Council to initiate an action or to reconsider an action previously taken by the Council or at a Business Meeting.

b) The Council may choose to submit petitions and other matters of concern to the Association Membership for a mail or electronic vote at any time if it so chooses. If the Council submits a petition to the membership, the issue to be voted upon may be accompanied by brief statements from the original petitioners and by those holding opposing views. The Council may also provide a statement from the Council regarding its recommendation for the issue.

c) The Council (or the Executive Committee acting on behalf of the Council) will consider each petition in as timely a manner as possible, and the petitioners will be informed of Council (or Executive Committee) action as soon as is feasible. Such actions will be reported to the Association membership through the Council meeting minutes.

d) If a petition results in a resolution that is passed by the Council or passed by a majority of Association members present at a Business Meeting, a petition of fifty (50) or more members may request that the resolution be voted on by the Association membership as a whole. If the petition is deemed by the Secretary to be in good order, the Council must submit the resolution to a vote of the membership.

e) If a petition requests the Association to make a public statement on behalf of the Association membership, the public statement must fall within the scope of the objectives of the Association as specified in Article II of the Constitution, and it must be in accordance with the guidelines for public statements as outlined in the Standing Rules. The Council shall determine whether petitions fall within the scope of the Association objectives.

Section 7. Publications. The Association shall issue such publications as the Council may determine.

Section 8. Affirmative Action. In accordance to Article III, Section 5, of the Constitution, the Association shall not discriminate on grounds unrelated to professional competence such as race, religion, sex, age, national origin, or physical handicap, and shall promote policies of affirmative action among its members and the institutions with which they are affiliated with respect to hiring, admission to graduate studies, promotion and tenure, research funding, publication, and other professional activities.

Section 9. Signatures. The Council of the Association has sole authority to designate persons eligible to issue checks, sign other financial documents, or otherwise represent, the Association as its agent. Each signatory must be bonded.

Section 10. Amendments. The Bylaws may be amended by a majority of the Members voting at the Business Meeting of the Association, such vote to be followed by, and to take effect upon, ratification by a mailed or electronic vote of all Members if the Council shall so determine.

Section 11. Standing Rules. Additional information on the policies concerning the operation and administration of the Association is found in the Standing Rules as adopted by Council. The Standing Rules may establish policies and procedures for eligibility for membership, for the conduct of members, volunteers, Committee members, officers, and Council members, and for disciplinary action, suspension, or revocation of membership, as well as removal of an officer, volunteer, Committee member, or Council member. A file of current Standing Rules shall be maintained by the Executive Director and Secretary of the AAG. Additional Standing Rules will appear in the published minutes of the Council as they are adopted.