NOTE: This is a draft document incorporating suggested revisions. Earlier versions of the bylaws appear on the Governance page of the society’s website. https://litsciarts.org/2005-bylaws/
Society for Literature, Science, and the Arts Bylaws (2023 draft)
The name of the corporation is The Society for Literature, Science, and the Arts Inc.
The Society for Literature, Science, and the Arts Inc. is a multidisciplinary organization founded to encourage the study of the relationships among literature, science, technology, and the arts. The Society is a non-profit educational organization dedicated to fostering interdisciplinary studies in literature, science, and the arts through publishing a journal (Configurations), a newsletter (Decodings), and a website (litsciarts.org); sponsoring meetings and symposia; and encouraging publications in its areas of interest.
Upon application to the Johns Hopkins University Press Journals Division and payment of current annual SLSA dues collected by the press, any person supporting the purpose stated above shall be a member of the society. The Johns Hopkins University Press reports membership monthly to the SLSA Executive Director. Only members in good standing have the right to vote, hold office, or serve on the committees of the Society.
Amounts of annual dues (by calendar year) are subject to change by majority vote; a vote may be conducted during an annual meeting or as an element of an electronic ballot. Categories of membership may be established by the Executive Committee to encourage members strongly interested in the organization to make tax-deductible contributions beyond basic dues. However, no greater privileges or voting power in connection with the business of the Society shall be afforded by such categories of members so established. Membership categories and dues are set by the society in conjunction with the Johns Hopkins University Press Journals Division. See https://litsciarts.org/join-renew-membership/
Officers include a President, first and second Vice-Presidents, at least two elected members-at-large, and an Executive Director. Candidates for the second Vice-President post are nominated by the Nomination Committee and Executive Committee in consultation with members and are elected by a majority vote of members conducted via electronic ballot. Each second Vice-President serves two years in that post before moving up to the office of first Vice-President and then the post of President, serving successive two-year terms. Officers’ terms begin at the Executive Committee meeting at the annual meeting. The Electronic Resources Coordinator, and Executive Director serve at the appointment of the Executive Committee and receive stipends for their work. The Publications Committee nominates a member to serve as an editor or members to serve as an editorial team producing the society’s journal. Nominations of journal editors must then be approved by the Executive Committee.
The President presides at meetings, conducts necessary business throughout the year, convenes a meeting of the Executive Committee preceding the annual meeting, and generally oversees the functions of the Society. The two Vice-Presidents assist the President, preside at meetings in the President’s absence, and help plan the programs of annual and special meetings. The First Vice-President is responsible for the annual conferences held during their tenure.
Appointed by the executive committee, the Executive Director communicates with the Johns Hopkins University Press Journals Division regarding membership and the society’s website http://slsa.press.jhu.edu, handles normal correspondence, records and presents minutes of meetings, manages the treasury (including collecting and depositing dues, and paying bills), offers an annual financial report, and as Newsletter Editor prepares and distributes the Society’s newsletter Decodings, which is published electronically, posted on the society website and emailed to subscribers on the SLSA listserv sponsored by Duke University: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Appointed by the executive committee and working with volunteer social media liaisons, the Electronic Resources Coordinator coordinates electronic communications regarding the website, conference, and other society needs.
The Journal Editors manage Configurations, advised as necessary by the Publications Committee and society officers.
b) THE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE
The Executive Committee consists of current officers, past Presidents, at least two members elected for two-year terms by the membership at large, and the following who serve ex officio: the Executive Director, Journal Editors, and the Electronic Resources Coordinator. The Executive Committee meets or consults at the call of the President to manage Society business. The Committee, coordinated by the Executive Director, prepares the agenda for the annual business meeting. Arts, Social Media, and Graduate Student Liaisons are invited to attend Executive Committee meetings as ex officio members.
All current officers (President, First and Second Vice-Presidents, Members-at-Large), the immediate past presidents, and ex officio members and liaisons may vote on Executive Committee motions.
i. CONFIGURATIONS JOURNAL EDITORS: Journal editors report directly to the Executive Committee at least once a year, usually during the annual conference’s executive meeting, on matters of operating budget, publication schedule, submission/acceptance ratio, outreach, advertising, and any pending personnel changes. Editors can also present reports at any of the quarterly meetings of the Executive Committee.
The Executive Committee will organize and renew appointments/re-appointments of the General and other editors of Configurations. Each editor shall serve a five-year term and can be considered for renewal.
ii. PUBLICATIONS LIAISONS
Two members of the society shall be appointed by the Executive Committee to serve as publications liaisons for four-year terms.
As of 2007, As current members begin to rotate out, the Executive Committee will annually appoint a new liaison to serve a four-year term. Liaisons might be appointed to successive terms. Criteria for becoming a publications liaison should include a candidate’s expertise, experience in academic publishing, and vision of science studies scholarship.
The liaison’s role will include, but will not be limited to, advising on the following initiatives:
JOURNAL: If requested by the journal editors, the publications liaisons may advise, although without power to direct editorial decisions, which remain the exclusive prerogative of the editors. The publications liaisons will also consult with the Executive Committee and the journal editors regarding institutional sponsorship if necessary. If a change of institutional sponsorship is needed, the publications liaisons and the Executive Committee will together present the rationale for the change and a description of qualifications for institutions to supply regarding the editor and editorial team
BOOK SERIES: The society has also cosponsored book series, which are identified with sponsoring presses on the organization’s website: https://litsciarts.org/publications/. Prior to the executive committee agreeing to sponsor a book series, Publications Liaisons may advise the executive on the establishment of series with presses.
BOOK PANELS: Consulting with the conference organizers, Publications liaisons may organize one or two book panels to take place during the annual society meeting. Books could be those from an SLSA series or those “new to SLSA.”
d) NOMINATIONS COMMITTEE
The members of the Nominations Committee recruit candidates to run for second Vice President and member-at-large and student members who wish to volunteer service as Graduate Student Liaisons. The Nominations Committee consists of three members: a past president serving as chair, one member-at-large (or another member of the society), and a graduate student liaison (or a graduate student member of the society).
e) LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD COMMITTEE
The Lifetime Achievement Award Committee consists of three members: a past president serving as chair, one member-at-large (or another member of the society), and a graduate student liaison (or a graduate student member of the society). The members of this committee solicit and review nominations for the society’s Lifetime Achievement Award and select the winner, reporting the result and any nominations to the Executive Director.
f) OTHER AWARDS COMMITTEES
Each year the society considers nominations for the Bruns, Schachterle, and Kendrick awards. The executive director consults with members and past presidents who review nominations and select annual winners of these prizes. The Bruns prize is awarded for an essay by a graduate student and the Schachterle prize for an essay on literature and science by an untenured scholar. The Kendrick prize is awarded to the best academic book on literature, science, and the arts published by an SLSA member.
g) ARTS LIAISONS, SOCIAL MEDIA LIAISONS, GRADUATE STUDENT LIAISONS
The Executive Committee and Nominations Committee recruit members to volunteer service as arts liaisons, social media liaisons, and graduate student liaisons. Arts liaisons advise conference organizers. Social Media liaisons manage the society’s Twitter, Facebook, and other media channels. Graduate Student liaisons serve as needed on the Nominations Committee and the Executive Committee.
h) OMBUDSPERSONS AND RELATED POLICIES REGARDING RESPECT AND FREEDOM
If an individual or group of individuals believes that they have experienced any violation of the SLSA Respectful Behavior policy (Appendix A) at a Society meeting or event, the person or group should report the incident immediately to the Society Ombudspersons named on the society’s website or to the identified proxy. Anyone may seek advice from the Ombudsperson, regardless of whether an official complaint is filed; however, only the individual or individuals alleging that they have been harassed may file a complaint. The Ombudsperson shall listen to the grievance, describe the policy and procedures, outline issues of privacy and confidentiality, and discuss possible courses of action regarding the filing or non-filing of a formal complaint. The Ombudsperson shall take all reasonable efforts to maintain in strict confidence the identity of individuals reporting an incident and the person or persons implicated in an incident. The Ombudsperson shall annually prepare for the Executive Committee an aggregate, anonymized summary of all such reported incidents. If an individual elects to file a formal complaint, that person must describe the incident in a nonconfidential written statement delivered to the Ombudsperson within sixty (60) calendar days of the alleged conduct and preferably immediately following the incident. The Ombudsperson will provide the statement concurrently to the accused party or parties and to the three-person Respectful Behavior Review Committee. The accused party may elect to file a written response, and if so, the written response must be filed with the Ombudsperson within sixty (60) calendar days of receipt of the initial written complaint. The Chair of the Respectful Behavior Review Committee (RBRC) shall contact both parties to discuss the incident and determine whether there is a mutually acceptable resolution. If no such resolution can be found, the RBRC shall determine whether the incident constituted harassment under the terms of this Policy. If the RBRC Committee determines the incident constitutes harassment, it shall furnish a report of the incident, the RBRC Committee’s findings, and a recommended sanction, if any, to the Executive Director within sixty (60) days.
SLSA is committed to protecting freedom of speech as noted in its July 2019 statement (Appendix B).
i) OTHER POSITIONS
To benefit the Society, the Executive Committee may create other kinds of positions and appoint an incumbent. An example of such a position would be corresponding secretaries or conference coordinators who will help organize the work of the Society abroad. Such positions will not, however, make the incumbent automatically a member of the Executive Committee.
j) RESIGNATIONS FROM OFFICES
Members of the Executive Committee may resign by submitting written notice to both the President and the Executive Director. The President, in consultation with remaining members of the Executive Committee, will appoint an acting replacement until the time of the next annual meeting, when a successor shall be nominated and voted upon. Should the President resign, the first Vice President will become President, and the second Vice-President will become President. The Executive Committee may determine another means of filling vacancies.
The Society meets at least once a year either in conjunction with other meetings or independently, to conduct an annual business meeting in the United States or virtually. In addition, the officers may schedule meetings or sessions at other times abroad and/or with related organizations.
The Society publishes an electronic newsletter four times each year. The Executive Director is responsible for managing the Newsletter, working in conjunction with the Electronic Resources Coordinator, the Publications Committee, and the Executive Committee. The Newsletter is sponsored by dues from the Society and contributions from educational and other institutions. The newsletter shall be named Decodings.
8. ADOPTION OF BYLAWS
Adoption of the original bylaws was by two-thirds majority of those present at the inaugural meeting of the Society at the International Congress of the History of Science, Berkeley, California, 7 August 1985.[Current bylaws need 2023 date of adoption]
9. AMENDMENTS TO BYLAWS
Amendments concerning the nature, purpose, and basic organization and structure of the Society will be submitted by electronic mail to the entire membership and will require approval by two-thirds of the current members who return ballots. All amendments must be circulated among the entire membership at least 49 days before the annual meeting or before the special mail ballot deadline. Amendments of a minor nature in these bylaws may be adopted at the annual meeting of two-thirds vote of members present.
10. DISSOLUTION OF THE SOCIETY
Should the Society be dissolved, all assets belonging to the Society remaining after the discharge of any and all outstanding obligations shall be devoted to one or more non-profit institutions dedicated to similar purposes and complying to IRS 510 (c) (3), as determined jointly by the Executive Committee.
APPENDIX A: RESPECTFUL BEHAVIOR POLICY
Freedom of expression and vigorous debate are crucial to scholarly exchange. The Society for Literature, Science, and the Arts strongly values mutual respect and strives to provide an environment for exchange that is free from bias and intimidation. The Society is dedicated to securing a safe, hospitable, and productive environment for everyone. Accordingly, the Society deplores all harassment and is sensitive to the harm suffered by persons who experience it. We expect speakers and questioners at our meetings to demonstrate self-control and civility, even in the midst of strong disagreement, and not to engage in ad hominem attacks. Furthermore, we expect those participating in the Society’s meetings and events to treat others with respect and not to engage in behavior that is discriminatory, intimidating, threatening, or harassing. This expectation applies to our speakers, staff, volunteers, and attendees. This policy will be revisited annually by the Executive Committee in conjunction with receiving an Ombudsperson’s report of complaints filed.
Nondiscrimination and Anti-Harassment Standards
The Society prohibits any unwelcome conduct that is based on an individual’s sex (including pregnancy), sexual orientation, gender identity, race, color, religion, national origin, age, marital status, disability, or employment status and that creates an environment that a reasonable person would consider intimidating, hostile, or abusive. Harassment may include such actions as: (1) inappropriate physical contact; (2) inappropriate jokes or verbal kidding or teasing; (3) verbal abuse and epithets; (4) degrading comments; (5) the unwarranted display of offensive or sexually suggestive objects or pictures; (6) conduct or comments of a lewd or lascivious nature, including subtle pressure for sexual activity; (7) repeated offensive sexual flirtations, advances, or propositions; and (8) any other conduct that an individual (or group of individuals) might reasonably find to be intimidating, hostile, offensive, coercive, or threatening. Sexual harassment does not refer to occasional compliments of a socially acceptable nature or consensual personal and social relationships.
If an individual or group of individuals believes that they have experienced any violation of this policy at a Society meeting or event, the person or group should report the incident immediately to the Society Ombudspersons named on the society website (litsciarts.org). Anyone may seek advice from the Ombudsperson, regardless of whether an official complaint is filed; however, only the individual or individuals alleging that they have been harassed may file a complaint. The Ombudsperson shall listen to the grievance, describe the policy and procedures, outline issues of privacy and confidentiality, and discuss possible courses of action regarding the filing or non-filing of a formal complaint. The Ombudsperson shall take all reasonable efforts to maintain in strict confidence the identity of individuals reporting an incident and the person or persons implicated in an incident. The Ombudsperson shall annually prepare for the Executive Committee an aggregate, anonymized summary of all such reported incidents. If an individual elects to file a formal complaint, that person must describe the incident in a nonconfidential written statement delivered to the Ombudsperson within sixty (60) calendar days of the alleged conduct and preferably immediately following the incident. The Ombudsperson will provide the statement concurrently to the accused party or parties and to the three-person Respectful Behavior Review Committee. The accused party may elect to file a written response, and if so, the written response must be filed with the Ombudsperson within sixty (60) calendar days of receipt of the initial written complaint. The Chair of the Respectful Behavior Review Committee (RBRC) shall contact both parties to discuss the incident and determine whether there is a mutually acceptable resolution. If no such resolution can be found, the RBRC shall determine whether the incident constituted harassment under the terms of this Policy. If the RBRC Committee determines the incident constitutes harassment, it shall furnish a report of the incident, the RBRC Committee’s findings, and a recommended sanction, if any, to the Executive Director within sixty (60) days.
The SLSA Executive Director will consult with the Executive Committee’s current officers to consider the case. If a majority of the Executive Committee’s current officers/members-at-large/liaisons concur with the recommendations of the Respectful Behavior Review Committee, the Executive Committee shall issue a written reprimand including any sanctions banning the individual from future meetings and/or revoking the individual’s membership. The Executive Director will report the outcome to all parties involved, which is final.
[Adapted from the History of Science Society Respectful Behavior Policy]
Approved by SLSA Board (current officers and past presidents) at SLSA Annual Meeting 2019
APPENDIX B: FREEDOM OF SPEECH COMMITMENT
Freedom of speech is the foundation of our communities and our nation. In sessions or in exhibits, members of the SLSA may present visual or verbal work designed to awe, illuminate, challenge, unsettle, confound, provoke, and, at times, offend. We defend the freedom to create content and exhibit such work anywhere in the world, and, as a non-profit society based in the United States, we recognize the privilege of living in a country where creating, exhibiting, and experiencing such work is a constitutional right. Scholarship on art and the exhibition of works of art do not, of course, constitute endorsement of those works or the artists. If and when controversies arise from a work of art or its accompanying scholarship, we welcome public discussion and debate with the belief that such discussion is integral to the humanities. Consistent with our fundamental commitment to freedom of speech, however, we will not censor presentations or exhibitions in response to political or ideological pressure.
[Adapted from National Coalition against Censorship’s “Museum Best Practices for Managing Controversy” https://ncac.org/resource/museum-best-practices-for-managing-controversy]
Approved by SLSA Board (current officers and past presidents) at SLSA Annual Meeting 2019