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Financial and related information relevant to the ASA member vote on Council’s new dues structure proposal

On May 12, 2011, the ASA Annual Election will open to eligible members. It will remain open until June 23. On the ballot for your approval will be Council’s proposed changes to the ASA membership dues structure.

The March 2011 Footnotes reported that ASA Council voted unanimously at its February 2011 meeting to bring this revised dues structure to the membership for approval. The Council recommendation came after two years of discussion with the ASA Committee on the Executive Office and Budget (EOB). During that time, they considered how and when to both address the lost progressivity of the current dues structure and meet the challenge of decreasing Association revenues that began in 2008 with the national economic decline. Council also recognized the need for a new dues category for unemployed sociologists and reaffirmed the need to keep the current low dues of students and emeriti, while expanding and renaming the latter category to encompass all retirees.

In the first of two articles in the March Footnotes, http://www.asanet.org/footnotes/mar11/dues_0311.html, the ASA President, President-elect, and Past President as well as the current and immediate past ASA Secretaries addressed the progressivity issue. In the second March article. http://www.asanet.org/footnotes/mar11/ask_0311.html, I addressed the overall financial stability of the Association.

I have written three additional articles for the April 2011 Footnotes that focus on a series of financial issues relevant to eligible voting members’ decisions about the proposed dues changes:

1. The sources and amounts of ASA revenues and expenditures: http://www.asanet.org/footnotes/apr11/revenues_0411.html
2. The revenue needs of the Association, actions taken in the face of declining revenues, and the impact of the proposed dues structure on both revenues and the cost of membership to various member groups: http://www.asanet.org/footnotes/apr11/duesstructure_0411.html
3. A comparison of the cost of ASA membership with comparable organizations: http://www.asanet.org/footnotes/apr11/dues_0411.html

To get the information to members as quickly as possible, I am circulating these articles in advance of their publication in the forthcoming April 2011 Footnotes.

A vibrant discussion about the proposed dues changes has begun online and in sociology departments. To expand this discussion, a new topic—ASA Finances and Member Dues Proposal—has been added to the ASA Forums page on the Association’s website: http://members.asanet.org/forums/. Please note that discussion on ASA Forums is available for viewing without registration, but users must register and log in to post a comment. (Regular ASA IDs and passwords are not valid on ASA Forums.)

I hope you will carefully consider this dues proposal, ask questions on ASA Forums, and vote beginning May 12. ASA has always had exceptionally high voter participation for a scholarly society, and engaged members are crucial to continuing the success that the Association has experienced since its establishment in 1905.

If you have additional questions regarding ASA finances that you would like me to address, please send them directly to me at cberheid@skidmore.edu. I am committed to providing access to information about the Association and its operations to ASA members.

Thank you for your membership and your dedication to our discipline.

Catherine White Berheide, ASA Secretary