At its April and September meetings, acting in response to ongoing conversations with and among the membership at large, the AMS Board of Directors voted to propose to the membership several amendments to our By-Laws. (The full text of the AMS’ current By-Laws can be found here https://www.amsmusicology.org/page/bylaws) These amendments address three matters:
- the Society's aspiration to be a community that recognizes, includes, and respects the many peoples, musical traditions, and points of view among us, and does its work with the utmost honesty and integrity;
- the Society’s desire to revise the editorial structure of JAMS, and to acknowledge and regularize in the By-Laws the relationship the Society of our three periodic publications, JAMS, the Journal of Music History Pedagogy, and Musicology Now; and
- the Society’s need in a time of rapid change to rebalance the relationship between continuity and flexibility on the Board of Directors, by lengthening the terms of Directors-at-large from two years to three.
Accordingly, we propose the following motions to amend. In the motions below, all new language is underlined; deleted language has been
Motion from the AMS Board to create an Ethics Committee as a standing committee of the American Musicological Society; approved by the board at its April 2020 meeting.
MOVED, to revise Article IV. Council and Article VII. Committees of the By-Laws:
ARTICLE IV. COUNCIL...
D. The Council shall advise the Board of Directors concerning the general policies of the Society.
E. The Council shall nominate the candidates for election to the Ethics Committee.
ARTICLE VII. COMMITTEES...
B. Standing committees shall be Executive, Publications,
and Finance, and Ethics.
4. The Ethics Committee shall be charged with advising the President, the Executive Director, the Board, and the Council on matters pertaining to ethical conduct within the spaces, events, and publications of the AMS. It shall be elected by the AMS membership from a roster nominated by the Council.
This motion responds to the report of an ad hoc Ethics Planning Committee appointed by the President in Fall 2019 in response to members’ concerns, and consisting of co-chairs Leonora Saavedra and Andrew Dell’Antonio, and members Lauron Kehrer, Imani Mosely, Matthew Leslie Santana, and Laurie Stras. In April 2020, the AMS Board of Directors voted in April 2020 to create a permanent Ethics Committee as a standing committee of the Society, to be elected by the membership from a slate of nominations provided by the Council. The purpose of the Ethics Committee is to serve as an advisory body that will
- protect the members of the Society at a time when the diversification of its members makes some of them particularly vulnerable, and simultaneously, when all members of the Society are feeling increasingly empowered to resist and denounce harassment, and expect support from the Society,
- protect the President of the Society from situations in which they have to intervene directly and from the outset in cases of alleged breaching of ethical conduct, by taking over the tasks of
- receiving complaints,
- in-taking and verifying information,
- devising and advising the President on a course of action (which can include no action) in consultation with the Society’s lawyers when needed, and
- implementing such course of action when deemed appropriate by the President,
- be recognized as widely as possible by the Society as a legitimate body by virtue of being an elected committee.
Motion from the AMS Board to change the editorial structure of JAMS; approved by the board at its April 2020 meeting.
MOVED, to revise Article VI.E.2. Board of Directors of the By-Laws:
ARTICLE VI. Board of Directors
The editor-in-chief of the Journal of the American Musicological Society, and the editor of the AMS Newsletter shall be appointed by the Board of Directors for specified terms of office not to exceed three years and shall be eligible for reappointment.
ARTICLE VI. Board of Directors
2. The Board shall appoint the editors of all official publications for the AMS for specified terms of office not to exceed three years and shall be eligible for reappointment. The Board of Directors shall select an associate editor of the Journal of the American Musicological Society to serve for a period not to exceed two years, before becoming editor-in-chief for a period not to exceed two years.
At its October 2019 meeting, the Board appointed an ad hoc committee (consisting of Joy Calico, chair, Kevin Karnes, and Alejandro Madrid) to consider the urgent requests of two successive editors to add the position of associate editor of JAMS. In response to the committee’s report, in April 2020 the Board voted to establish the position of associate editor; to make the position a de facto apprenticeship for the position of editor-in-chief, for the sake of continuity; and to open the position to applications.
Motion from the AMS Board to include all current publications of the Society in the By-Laws; approved by the board at its April 2020 meeting.
MOVED, to revise Article VIII.A. Official Publications of the By-Laws:
ARTICLE VIII. Official Publications
A. The official publications of the Society shall include the Journal of the American Musicological Society, the AMS Newsletter, the Journal of Music History Pedagogy, Musicology Now, the Directory, and such publications as are controlled by the Board of Directors and the Publications Committee.
At its October 2019 meeting the Board appointed two task forces to study respectively the vaguely articulated relationships of the Journal of Music History Pedagogy and Musicology Now to the Society. Both task forces recommended that the publications they studied be named official publications of the Society.
Motion from the AMS Board to change the term of office of Directors-at-large from two years to three years; approved by the board at its April 2020 meeting.
MOVED, to revise Article VI.A. and B. Board of Directors of the By-Laws:
ARTICLE VI. Board of Directors
A. The Board of Directors shall consist of thirteen directors. Five directors shall be the officers of the Society. Six directors shall be directors-at-large and shall be elected,
three two each year, by the members of the Society from a double slate of six four nominees drawn by the Board of Directors from present or past regular members of the Council upon recommendation of the nominating committee. The slate of candidates for directors-at-large shall be provided to the voting members of the Society annually no later than 1 June, and directors-at-large shall be elected by a majority vote cast and tabulated as set forth in Article V.C. Directors-at-large may not be elected to succeed themselves. No person shall hold more than one national elective post in the Society at the same time. The Council Secretary and the Executive Director shall be ex officio directors.
B. The terms of directors-at-large shall overlap so that
three two will retire and three two will be added each year. Newly elected directors shall assume office at the first session of the Board of Directors after the annual business meeting of the Society. Any position of director-at-large that is vacated in the course of a term may be filled by the Board of Directors until the term expires.
Directors-at-large have routinely indicated at the end of their terms that, because of the growing complexities of the AMS, it is not until well into their second and last year of service that they feel well enough acquainted with board governance, AMS history, ongoing business, and future initiatives of the Society to make significant contributions in terms of discussion and activity. Some initiatives of the Society take years to implement (e.g., full funding for fellowships and awards, establishment of task forces and committees); other functions of the Society require an intimate knowledge of recent committee and board history and actions in order to provide guidance to the staff and the membership (e.g., emergency funding in response to the pandemic, past and future decisions about the annual meeting). The current rate of turnover limits the Board’s ability to respond flexibly to new challenges and to follow through with measurable goals on those challenges that take years to address. This By-Laws change does not change the size of the Board; it does slow down the rate of turnover on the Board, thus adding greater stability to the Board and to the Society. A schedule for implementing this change to the Board has been drafted; it would ensure that the Board will continue to have six directors-at-large at all times.