The Caucus on LGBTQ Concerns of the National Communication Association, which is the association’s advocacy arm with respect to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender issues and represents over 1000 members of the association recommends that NCA members reject the proposed major change to the association and vote NO on the bylaw resolution during NCA’s annual election.
We believe that there are three primary issues with this wholesale change to the association governance. These three key issues should prevent NCA members from supporting the ballot measure. While the Caucus does believe that incremental changes are necessary to keep the association functioning smoothly, we also fervently believe that the proposed changes are not what our association needs right now.
1. NCA members have no provision to vote on final changes to the bylaws
We believe that the membership of the association should be given the right to review and approve final changes to the structure and function of NCA. According to the provisions of this bylaw change, the legislative assembly has the ability to change any provision during the 2014 meeting ; therefore, the document that the membership is voting on may not (and likely will not) be the finalized governance document of the association. Given the importance of this change, we firmly believe that NCA members should be given the ability to accept or reject the final governance document. Granting the 2014 Legislative Assembly discretion to make changes to the association’s legal, fiduciary, and policy-making abilities without approval of the membership violates the letter and spirit of NCA’s current constitution, which states; “after no less than 30 days following the distribution of a proposed amendment, a full membership ballot shall be distributed. A two-thirds majority of those voting shall be required for adoption of an amendment” . There is no provision for NCA members to review and approve any changes that the 2014 Legislative Assembly make to the proposed bylaws. NCA members are being asked to vote on a draft of the association’s most important governance document. We find this unacceptable.
Therefore, we ask that NCA members reject this bylaw change and grant the 2014 legislative assembly the ability to present a finalized set of documents to the membership for ratification in 2015.
2. The proposed change removes the legislative powers of the Legislative Assembly.
While we understand that the association may need to consider changes to fiduciary policy, we believe that this proposed change in the structure of the association goes too far. Currently, the Legislative Assembly is the body charged with the duty to adopt and enforce the governance and public policies of NCA. In fact, our association’s current constitution clearly outlines this: “The legislative assembly shall be the principal policy making body of the association and shall be responsible for managing its resources and affairs” . The proposed revision to the bylaws explicitly grants this provision to the Board of Governors as one of the outlined duties: “Adopt and enforce the policies of NCA.” 
The proposed revision of the bylaws relegates the legislative assembly to non-legislative tasks including recommending and providing feedback to the Board of Governors. However, the Board of Governors is under no obligation to follow the direction of the Legislative Assembly. The current structure of the association clearly provides the legislative assembly with policy-making abilities and the executive committee with policy-enforcing ability. We feel that this distinction has served our association well and provided a necessary check-and-balance on the governance of the association. While we appreciate the fact that legislative assembly will still be charged with the explicit duty to adopt “public policies”, the proposed bylaw change removes the association-level legislative duties from the Legislative Assembly . We feel that this proposed change diminishes the ability for NCA members to have a voice in the regular functioning of the association. The Legislative Assembly is the direct voice of the membership. Without association-level policy-making powers, the Legislative Assembly serves nothing more than ceremonial functions.
We recommend that NCA members reject these proposed bylaws and grant the 2014 Legislative Assembly the ability to draft a modified structure that retains the association-level policy-making power of the Legislative Assembly.
3. The proposed policy-making “Board of Governors” would not be as diverse as the association at-large.
The authors of this proposed resolution were ostensibly concerned with diversity when they purposefully indicated that one person ought to explicitly represent diversity issues on the Board of Governors. That person would be given the title “Diversity Representative,” and would chair the association’s “diversity committee.” However, there was no consultation from the executive committee or any of the authors of this proposal with the association’s current Affirmative Action and Inter-caucus Committee (AAIC) in drafting this proposal. We assume that the AAIC would be renamed to the “diversity committee,” a name that is fraught with problems (again, that name was selected without consultation of the representative bodies). Importantly, since the “diversity chair” serves on the Board of Governors for a 3-year term, if that position were to rotate among the 6 caucuses equally, this means that each caucus would only have direct representation on the Board of Governors once every 18 years. Furthermore, under the proposal, members of the “diversity committee” do not pick their chairperson (the proposal indicates that the Committee on Committees would select the chair). Therefore, the “diversity representative” on the Board of Governors is not required to come from the membership of the caucuses. Additionally, caucuses are only able to appoint a member to the Diversity Committee for a one-year term, which directly violates many caucuses’ standing rules (for instance, the term for the Caucus on LGBTQ concerns is three years). These issues are of major concern to our caucus, as they represent a clear departure from the standard and very clearly-defined mechanisms for diversity enshrined in the current governance documents and policies of the association .
One of the valuable features of our current governance structure and function of the association is that each division, caucus, regional association, and group has explicit representation in the policy-making body of the association. Under the proposed structure, there would only be three at-large members appointed to the Board of Governors , thereby reducing the diversity of the policy-making board of the association.
We strongly encourage NCA members to reject this proposal and grant the AAIC the ability to provide specific policy recommendations about these changes to the 2014 Legislative Assembly for consideration.
We do believe that incremental change to the association’s governing documents and structure may be necessary to meet the needs of the association over the next 100 years. However, given these major objections, we encourage the association’s membership to reject this draft of the bylaws. If nothing more, the fact that NCA members are being asked to vote on an incomplete document should nullify any benefits suggested by members of the executive committee for such a wholesale change to our association’s governance.
 Page 148, 2013 Legislative Assembly Manual states “This means that the 2014 Legislative Assembly will retain the authority to make changes to the revision before it goes into effect.”
 NCA Constitution, Article X, Section 5.
 NCA Constitution, Article VI, Section 1
 Proposed Bylaws, Article III, Section 3 “Duties”
 see Proposed Bylaws, Article V, Section 3
 See NCA’s “Statement on Diversity” adopted 1995, reaffirmed 201.
 see Proposed Bylaws, Article III, Section 2