American Sociological Association

Section on Animals and Society

Section Bylaws


The purpose of the Section on Animals and Society is to encourage and support the development of theory, research and teaching about the complex relationships that exist between humans and other animals. In the process, it is anticipated that the light we shed on these issues will increase the well-being of both humans and other animals.

Officers of the Section: The officers of the Section shall be a Chair, a Chair-Elect, a Past-Chair (the immediately preceding Chair) and a Secretary-Treasurer. The Secretary-Treasurer shall serve for a period of three years, and the other three officers shall serve for a period of one year. The Council shall consist of ten members: six elected council members, among whom should be at least two student representatives, and the four officers. Neither the officers nor the council members shall succeed themselves. Each of the six elected council members shall serve for three years, with two council seats being vacated each year. The Chair shall preside over meetings of the Council and the Section Business Meeting. The Secretary-Treasurer shall present to each new council member the current draft of the By-laws, and also the current draft of the ASA Manual on Sections. The Chair shall plan the program for Animals and Society for the Annual Meeting of the ASA. The Chair-Elect shall assume the duties of the Chair in the latter's absence or incapacity.

Powers of the Officers: The Council is vested in principle with the power to carry out all the necessary business of the Section, acting as the representative of the membership of the Section. Any action of the section, including proposed changes of the bylaws, may be brought to the vote of the section by the council, by a petition of 10 percent of the members of the section or by 25 members of the section, whichever is less. Changes in the bylaws are valid when approved by a majority of the section members voting in a mail ballot. Questions that are interpreted by the council to be matters of major program development or policy shall be brought before the membership for approval.

In the event of death, resignation, incapacity or inactivity of the Chair, Chair-Elect or Secretary-Treasurer, the council acting on the initiative of any member thereof may designate an interim officer to perform the functions of that office for a period of at most one year. Such action shall require the approval of two-thirds of the council members. The interim officer so designated may be any member of the section, including a member already holding another office or membership on the council. In case of death or resignation, or in the case of the continued incapacity or inactivity of an officer for a period longer than the one year permitted for an interim officer, the council shall call for the election of a replacement at the time of the regular annual election, and the elected replacement shall fill the remainder of the term of office.

Elections and Voting: The elections of the section shall be carried out by mail ballot in accordance with the American Sociological Association's procedures and schedule for sections. Two persons shall be nominated for each vacant position by April 15 of each year. Newly elected officers shall assume their offices during the annual business meeting held each year at the American Sociological Association meeting, or the section council meeting if it occurs after the business meeting.

Committees: All committees of the section shall be appointed as specified below and approved by the council at the Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association. All committee members must be members in good standing of the section. The membership of committees shall be non-overlapping from year to year unless approved by a majority vote of the section council. Additional ad hoc committees may be established by a majority vote of the council.

The Committee on Nominations shall be chaired by the Past-Chair and consist of three additional members appointed by the Past-Chair. Each year the Committee on Nominations shall solicit suggestions for nominations from the members via an announcement in the section newsletter or by a direct mailing to the membership. It shall nominate two candidates who are section members in good standing for each office to be filled. These candidates shall not be announced until they have consented to serve. The Committee on Nominations may also recommend to the council the names of persons to be considered for appointment to the other regular committees.

The Program Committee shall be chaired by the Section Chair and consist of at least two additional members appointed by the Section Chair. It shall prepare the program for the Annual Meetings of the ASA in the field of interest of the section and cooperate with the ASA Program Committee in its planning.

Membership: The membership of the section shall be drawn from the members of the American Sociological Association. Elected officers and Committee members shall be members of the American Sociological Association who have voting privileges.

Dues: Dues shall be set by the Council to cover the operation of the section in accord with the requirements of the American Sociological Association.

Amendment of By-Laws: These By-Laws may be amended through a favorable majority vote of those voting at a Business Meeting, provided this action is subsequently confirmed through a favorable majority of the members of the section who have voted by mail ballot.