Amendments to IUPS Constitution and By-Laws Ratified

Dec. 6, 2016

The General Assembly (GA) of the IUPS has ratified the proposed amendments to the IUPS Constitution and By-Laws, with 50 votes in favor versus 0 against as of the close of voting on December 6, 2016. A total of 76 GA members were eligible to cast ballots, 50% of which constitutes a quorum (i.e., 38 votes), with two-thirds required for ratification. In fact, nearly two-thirds of all eligible voters cast a positive vote.

The most substantial difference in the Constitution is make-up of the IUPS Council. Under the new system, Council would be comprised of:

  • ExCo (5 members) … no change here.
  • Chairs of the IUPS Commissions and select committees (11 members). This provision, by itself, would increase the size of Council by 1. The wording in the proposed revisions to the Constitution is intentionally vague regarding which Commissions and Committees, and refers to the By-Laws. The By-Laws state that that Council will decide which 3 Committee chairs would be on Council … as it stands now, 8 Commission chairs and the chairs of 3 Committees (Physiome, Ethics, and Education committees) would be on Council.
  • Regional representatives (4). Again, the proposed amendments to the Constitution and By-Laws are intentionally vague here, and give to the BGA the authority to decide how to apportion the 4 regional representatives. We are presuming that the initial plan will be for 3 to represent specific regions (Pan-America, Europe/Africa, and Asia/Oceania) with a 4th to be an at-large regional representative, chosen to balance geography on Council as effectively as possible.

Another important proposed change is the addition of a provision to allow Council members—under extraordinary circumstances—to serve one additional term for the purpose of preserving continuity on the IUPS Council. The extraordinary circumstances could include this election cycle because of the major changes that the proposed amendments would bring about for Council. Regarding Checks and Balances, approval for an additional term would have to come from the Board of the General Assembly (BGA).

Finally, at its most recent meeting, the ExCo recognized that one unaltered passage of the Constitution would place a potentially harmful restriction on the Nominations Committee as it attempts to assemble a well-balanced slate of candidates for the election to be held in Rio in 2017. We propose to edit Article VI-Clause 1 as follows: “No more than two officers, nor more than two chairpersons of Commissions and Committees shall be from any one Adhering Body”. In other words, no more than 2 ExCo members could come from any one country. No more than 2 of the 11 chairs could be from any one country. It is thus possible that as many as 4 members of the expanded Council could come from 1 country. It would be the job of the Nominations Committee to ensure that none of the countries heavily represented in the rest of Council would be among the 4 regional representatives on Council.

In anticipation of the passage of the new Constitution, the IUPS Nominations Committee has already begun considering nominees to fill the new Council positions. It will release the names of the nominees as soon as the entire slate of nominees has agreed to serve.