Constitution–1991 Version


I.1 NAME The name of the organization shall be THE AMERICAN HUMOR STUDIES ASSOCIATION.

II.1 PURPOSE The purpose of the Association shall be to foster and to promote study, criticism, and research in American humor in all its varied aspects.

III.1 FINANCES The Association shall be a not-for-profit organization whose revenues shall support the aforementioned purposes within the meaning of Section 501-(c)-(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Such sections of the Internal Revinue Code as bear on 501-(c)-(3) corporations, including 501-(c)-(3) (1954), 501 (h), 509 (a), 4942, 4941 (d), 4943 (c), 4944, 4945 (d) or corresponding provisions of any subsequent Federal tax laws shall be presumed to define the limits of activities by the Association.
III. 2 The Association shall be financed by annual membership dues. The amount of the dues shall be determined by the Governing Board.
III. 3 The finances of the organization shall be audited each year, and the result of the audit shall be included in the annual financial report of the Treasurer to the Association.

IV. 1 MEMBERSHIP Membership is open to all persons.
IV. 2 Active membership in the Association shall begin when the Treasurer receives the first payment of annual dues. Any member whose dues are in arrears one month after the mailing of a second notice to the last recorded address shall be dropped from membership rolls. Members who have been thus dropped may be reinstated upon payment of one year’s dues in advance. No retroactive dues, payments, or penalties shall be assessed. Only active members may vote or hold office in the Association.
IV. 3 Scholarly institutions and organizations may have institutional memberships in the Association. Universities and similar organizations interested in promoting the study of American humor may become institutional sponsors.
IV. 4 The Governing Board may designate one person each year as an Honorary Life Member. Such persons shall be exempt from paying dues but shall enjoy all the privileges and benefits of active members.

V. 1 OFFICERS The officers shall be a President, First Vice-President, Second Vice-President, Secretary, Treasurer, Executive Director, and editors of the publications of the Association. Offices other than the three Presidential successions and the editorships may be combined as best suits the smooth functioning of the organization. Terms of office shall be for one year with the exception of the Executive Director, which will be for five years. Upon expiration of the President’s term, the Vice-Presidents will advance one rank.

VI. 1 ADMINISTRATION The administration of the Association shall be in the hands of the Governing Board, which shall consist of the Officers of the Association, the past-President of the Association in the year following the term of office, the editors of the journal and newsletter of the Association and elected members up to a total of fifteen. Past Presidents may remain ex officio members of the Board, serving in an advisory capacity if they do not seek active membership on the Board.
VI. 2 The Governing Board shall be responsible for the general policy and conduct of the Association.
VI. 3 The President and Executive Director, or their designees, shall be responsible for implementing the policy of the Association and organizing professional programs for scholarly meetings. The President shall preside over at least one annual MLA convention program by virtue of the office. The Executive Director shall preside over the meetings of the Governing Board by virtue of the office and conduct the day-to-day business of the Association.
VI. 4 The Secretary shall maintain membership rolls and take minutes of meetings of the Governing Board and of the Association for publication in the newsletter or independently to the members of the Board. The Treasurer shall receive, disburse, and record funds and shall be responsible for making an annual financial report in writing to the Board. The Vice-Presidents shall assist the President as required, advancing one rank per year to that office. The editors of the journal and newsletter will be responsible for conducting those matters with the approval of the Board, in conformity with its broad policies.
VI. 5 By-laws for the governance of the Association shall be made by the Governing Board. The by-laws may be amended by a majority vote of the membership at a general meeting which has been announced by mail at least one month in advance and takes place at an annual meeting of the MLA or ALA.
VI. 6 Robert’s Rules of Order, current edition, governs the conduct of meetings.
VI. 7 The Governing Board shall meet at least once a year.

VII. 1 PUBLICATIONS The Association shall sponsor the publication of a scholarly journal and newsletter as official publications of the Association for the benefit of the general membership. A portion of each member’s dues shall be assigned to those publications to pay their costs. Each member shall receive such publications as are issued during the period of his membership.
VII. 2 The publications shall remain independent from the Association, affiliated by voluntary agreement, which may be terminated with one year’s notice by either party, or immediately by mutual consent, or upon the termination of publication of either entity or termination of the Association.
VII. 3 The editors shall make annual reports to the Association. Their files and records shall be open to the Governing Board.

VIII. 1 ELECTIONS A Nominating Committee made up of the present elected officers of the Association shall put forth the names of candidates for offices in the Association at the annual meeting of the Governing Board. Any member of the Association may be nominated for the offices of Second Vice-President, Treasurer, Secretary, or Executive Director upon presenting a petition containing the signatures of 10 members of the Association three months prior to the annual meeting. In such cases where more than a single candidate is nominated for an office, an election shall be held by mail ballot two months prior to the annual meeting with any run-off election occurring one month prior to the annual meeting.
VIII. 2 The Governing Board shall be elected by voluntary appearance up to the limit of 15 at the annual meeting of the Governing Board. Officers of the Association and editors of its publications shall be automatic members of the Governing Board. In the event that more than 15 people wish to participate in the governance of the Association, the Board may (a) expand its numbers, or (b) submit all the names of potential board members to mail vote by the full membership, suspending all business other than reports until the next meeting of the Board.
VIII. 3 Election results and the names of officers shall be announced in the newsletter.

IX. 1 MEETINGS An annual meeting of the Association and its Governing Board will be held at a suitable time and place, with preference given to the annual convention of the Modern Language Association or the American Literature Association, in order of length of time affiliated, as long as the American Humor Studies Association remains affiliated with them. This provision will be automatically altered to reflect changes in affiliate status as appropriate.

X. 1 AMENDMENTS Amendments to this Constitution may be proposed by a majority vote of the Governing Board or a majority vote at a general meeting that has been announced by mail at least one month in advance of an annual meeting. Such proposed amendments shall be submitted by mail, either separately or within the newsletter as a separate page, to the general membership. A majority of persons returning ballots shall determine approval or denial of the proposed amendment. VI.3, VI.5, and IX.1 will be altered automatically to reflect any change in affiliate status with cooperating scholarly organizations.

XI. 1 DISSOLUTION The Association may be dissolved upon recommendation of the Governing Board and a two-thirds majority vote of the members. A meeting called for the purpose of dissolution must be announced by mail at least one month in advance.
XI. 2 In the event of dissolution of the Association, all assets left after the liabilities have been met shall be disposed of in a way amenable to Section 501-(c)-(3) and other pertinent sections of the Internal Revenue Code.
This Constitution was adopted by the Association on December 26, 1975 and revised on December 29, 1991. A copy of this Constitution will be mailed to all new members upon joining the Association upon request.

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