Constitution of the International Rural Sociology Association
(as amended by IRSA General Assembly, Trondheim Norway 29 July 2004)
Article 1: Name and Objectives
Article 2: General Structure
Article 3: Membership
Article 4: General Assembly
Article 5: Voting: General Assembly
Article 6: Council
Article 7: Executive Committee
Article 8: Executive Officers
Article 9: Finance
Article 10: By-Laws and Regulations
Article 11: Provision for Organization of New Regional or National Societies or Associations
Article 12: Standing and Ad Hoc Committees
Article 13: Amendments and Dissolution
Article 14: Incorporation/Organization
- The name of the organization shall be the International Rural Sociology Association (IRSA).
- The objectives of the Association are to: foster the development of rural sociology; further the application of sociological inquiry to the improvement of the quality of rural life; and provide a mechanism whereby rural sociologists can generate dialogue and useful exchange.
- IRSA is organized exclusively for educational and scientific purposes.
- IRSA is primarily an association of constituent associations.
- The organization shall have the following statutory bodies:
(1) General Assembly
(3) Executive Committee
(4) Executive Officers.
- Membership in the organization shall be open to fee-paying organizations and/or individuals, that promote the objectives of the Association, and that are approved by the IRSA Council.
- There shall be four categories of membership:
(1) Regional (multi-nation) rural sociology organisations shall be entitled to join as an organisational member and be represented on the IRSA Council by three individuals.
(2) Associate organizational membership is open to national rural sociology organizations. They shall not be formally represented on Council, but shall nominate a single individual who shall have observer status at Council meetings.
(3) Special interest group membership is open to multi-nation associations which have a specific interest in some topic relevant to rural sociology and who wish to participate in the activities of IRSA or otherwise be affiliated with IRSA. They shall not be formally represented on Council, but may nominate a single individual who may have observed status at Council meetings.
(4) Affiliate membership is open to individual rural sociologists who wish to be associated with IRSA but who are not resident in areas serviced by any association as identified in Article 3 b(1) or Article 3 b(2) above, or who are not a member by virtue of their membership in an association as identified in Article 3 b(3). they shall have no representation on the IRSA Council.
- Individual membership is automatically extended to members of the rural sociology organizations identified in Article 3 b(1), 3 b(2), and 3 b(3) above.
- The General Assembly, which is open to all members as defined in Article 3, shall meet approximately every four years, normally in conjunction with each World Congress. The General Assembly may meet in special session if at least one-third of the members so request or the Council so decides.
- The place of the General Assembly shall be set by the Council and announced at least two years in advance. The date and time of the General Assembly shall be set by the Executive Committee at least 90 days in advance. The agenda shall be prepared and distributed by the Secretary-Treasurer.
- The General Assembly if called in accordance with other Articles shall be competent to take decisions which have not been delegated to other statutory bodies in accordance with provisions in this Constitution.
- No two successive World Congresses shall be held in any one country.
- The voting membership shall comprise those individuals who are in good standing as indicated by their financial membership of those organizations accepted under Article 3 b(1) and b(2) and those who qualify under Article 3 b(4) and have paid their annual dues.
- All decisions calling for votes except as noted elsewhere shall be taken by a simple majority. Whenever a vote is evenly divided, the vote of the Chairperson of the meeting shall be decisive.
- No proxies shall be accepted.
- The Council shall consist of the representatives as defined in Article 3, along with the President, the Program Chair of the past World Congress, and the Program Chair and Local Arrangements Chair of the current congress and the Secretary-Treasurer.
- Each regional organization as specified in Article 3 shall nominate their representatives to the Council. This shall be done in accordance with their own chosen procedure.
- Council may appoint individuals to represent major regions of the world not covered by the current member associations as defined in Article 3. These individuals shall have a non-voting status on Council.
- The term of membership shall be for one Congress period, normally four years, starting from the end of one World Congress and finishing at the end of the next World Congress. The same individual may be reappointed by a member association to the Council for a second term, but may not serve more than two terms without an interval of at least one term. The IRSA Secretary-Treasurer shall determine the eligibility of association nominees and shall advise an association of any person who is not eligible, thereby giving the association an opportunity to make a substitute nomination. Individuals appointed to represent major regions of the world as defined in Article 6c above may not serve more than two terms.
- The Council shall be convened by the President as circumstances, resources and Association affairs may dictate.
- The Council shall be responsible for the functioning of the organization.
- The quorum for a meeting shall be half plus one of eligible voting Council members. Meetings that are without quorum may propose resolutions which are to be voted upon by the next meeting which has a quorum of voting members.
- No proxies shall be accepted.
- All decisions of the Council shall be taken by a majority of the eligible votes. In the event of a tie, the Chairperson of the meeting shall cast the deciding vote.
- The Executive Committee shall consist of the President, a First Vice President, a Second Vice President, the Secretary-Treasurer, the Program Chair of the past World Congress, and the Program Chair and Local Arrangements Chair of the current Congress.
- The offices of President, First Vice President, and Second Vice President shall be elected for a term of four years.
- Members of the Executive Committee, other than the Secretary-Treasurer, are eligible for only one term in the same office.
- Nominees for the position of President will be drawn from individuals who have previously served (in a voting capacity) on the IRSA Council, currently serve on Council, or are voting members of the incoming IRSA Council. An individual may not be nominated for the position of President if they are from the same member association as the outgoing President. Individuals may fill an office only once in their lifetime.
- Nominees for the positions of Vice President will be drawn from individuals who currently serve on Council.
- The President, First Vice President and Second Vice President shall be from three different member associations.
- The Executive Committee shall be responsible for implementing the decisions of the Council, shall account for its functions to the Council, and shall seek Council approval for emergency action taken between meetings of the Council.
- Should a position on the Executive Committee become vacant between elections, the Council shall elect a Council member to serve for the unexpired period.
- The President and two Vice Presidents shall be official members of all bodies of the Association. One of them or a designate shall preside at all meetings of the Association.
- The Secretary-Treasurer shall be selected by the Council and serve at their pleasure. The Secretary-Treasurer shall be charged with general and financial administration of the Association and shall receive instructions from the Executive Committee through the President. The Secretary-Treasurer shall be accountable for their actions to the Executive Committee. The Secretary-Treasurer shall be a voting member of the Executive Committee.
- The Association shall be financed by:
(1) Member subscriptions
(2) Surplusses from world congresses
(3) Sale of Association publications
(5) Other lawful means.
- Members of the Council, the Executive Committee, and the Secretary-Treasurer shall serve in an honorary capacity.
- The Executive Committee shall decide reimbursement for any reasonable expenses incurred by officers, Council, Secretary-Treasurer or other members who carry out work for the Association.
- The Association is a non-profit organization – any profits or capital shall be used solely in accordance with the provisions of Article 1 of the Constitution.
- Sponsoring member organizations shall be called upon to support and underwrite the establishment and successful functioning of the International Rural Sociology Association. All matters pertinent to IRSA’s programs, congress meetings, balloting, etc., shall be included in notifications to sponsoring organizations.
- Membership dues shall be established by the Council as detailed in the By-laws.
- Any subjects under the provisions of the Constitution calling for more detailed rules shall be set forth by By-laws and regulations. Such rules shall be decided upon by the Council and must not be at variance with the Constitution.
- Proposed amendments to the By-laws and regulations may be initiated by members of the Executive Committee, the Council, or any five voting members representing at least two of the sponsoring organizations. Such amendments must be approved by the Council.
- By-laws and regulations approved by the Council may be considered valid until such time as they are duly ratified or rejected by the next General Assembly. The Council must fully advertise proposed amendments for all members 90 days in advance of General Assembly meetings.
- Where no regional or national rural sociology society or association has been constituted, the Executive Committee may appoint a representative or a committee to canvass for members and to assist in making arrangements for the organization of a society or association commensurate with the objectives of the Constitution. Acceptance of new sponsoring or associate organizations is dependent upon Council approval.
- The Executive Committee may, subject to Council approval, establish such Standing and Ad Hoc Committees as may be deemed necessary for the effective functioning of IRSA. An Ad Hoc Congress Committee and Local Arrangements Committee shall be appointed by the Executive Committee at least three years before a Congress.
- Past Presidents of IRSA will serve as an advisory group, and will advise the President on constitutional and other matters.
- The Constitution may be amended or the Association be dissolved by a two-thirds majority of the individual members present at a General Assembly. Amendments or a proposal to dissolve must be advertised to all members six months in advance of General Assembly meetings. Such notification must contain the full written text of the amendment being proposed. Such dissolutions would be valid only if at least three-fourths of all voting members of the Association take part in a voting procedure. Should this latter requirement not be fulfilled, a postal ballot shall be sent to all voting members within three months and a two-thirds majority of those voting shall be sufficient for the dissolution of the Association.
- A resolution to dissolve the Association shall name those persons who will be charged with the liquidation of the Association’s assets and properties. Such assets and properties shall be used for the public benefit in accordance with the provisions of Article 1 of the Constitution.
- IRSA is organized exclusively for educational and scientific purposes, including for such purpose, the making of distributions to organizations under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code (or the corresponding section of any future Federal tax code) of the United States of America.
- No part of the net earnings of IRSA shall inure to the benefit of, or be distributed to its members, trustees, directors, officers or other private persons, except that the Association shall be authorized and empowered to pay reasonable compensation for services rendered and to make payments and distributions in furtherance of Section 501(c)(3) of the United States of America Internal Revenue Code purposes. No substantial part of the activities of IRSA shall be the carrying on of propaganda, or otherwise attempting to influence legislation, and IRSA shall not participate in, or intervene in (including the publishing or distribution of statements) any political campaign on behalf of or in opposition to any candidate for public office.
- Notwithstanding any other provision of these articles, IRSA shall not carry on any other activities not permitted to be carried on (a) by a corporation/organization exempt from Federal income tax under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code (or corresponding section of any future Federal tax code) or (b) by a corporation/organization, contributions to which are deductible under section 170(c)(2) of the Internal Revenue Code (or corresponding section of any future Federal tax code) of the United States of America.
- Upon the dissolution of IRSA, assets shall be distributed for one or more exempt purposes within the meaning of section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of the United States of America, or corresponding section of any future Federal tax code, or shall be distributed to the Federal government or to a state or local government for a public purpose.