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Constitutional Amendment Defines New Associate Membership

Board unanimously endorses amendment.

The qualifications for membership in the MIT Alumni Association are defined by the Association’s constitution. Alumni/ae members are those who earned undergraduate or graduate degrees; those who were enrolled full-time in an undergraduate degree-granting program for at least one term, effective when their class graduates; and those who were enrolled full-time in a graduate degree-granting program for at least two terms. With such membership comes an array of lifelong rights and benefits that range from e-mail forwarding to leadership opportunities through service on the Association Board, the National Selection Committee, and the MIT Corporation.

In recent years, new special programs and joint programs with other universities in which students do not earn MIT degrees have prompted questions about the eligibility of these students for membership in the Alumni Association. For example, the constitution extends regular membership to students in special programs but does not specify which programs are eligible.

A new constitutional amendment, passed unanimously by the Board of Directors in March, creates a new associate-member status, clarifies the qualifications for eligible programs, and makes the Board of Directors responsible for decisions on membership status.

This story is part of the July/August 2006 Issue of the MIT News Magazine
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Under the amendment, all postdoctoral fellows and students from the following programs can become associate members: the Special Program in Urban Studies and Planning, the Singapore MIT Alliance, the Cambridge-MIT Institute, and the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology. Scholars in these programs meet the rigorous standards of both MIT and its partner institutions.

The new amendment, which is based on an in-depth examination of the issues by the Board of Directors Committee on Membership, recognizes the strong connections of these scholars to MIT and, at the same time, preserves the unique value of alumni/ae membership. This amendment does not alter the status of anyone who has already been granted alumni/ae membership, nor does it affect the procedures for the election of honorary members.

Associate membership, which becomes effective September 15, carries a limited number of benefits: listing in and access to the Online Alumni Directory, alumni/ae discounts, and eligibility for an MIT ID card and for library and athletics benefits. Associate members do not participate in the governance of the association.

“The new policy clears up a confusing situation,” says former association president Scott Marks ‘68. “The amendment clarifies membership in an evenhanded way to sustain alumni and alumnae members’ rights, but it acknowledges the MIT experience of our colleagues in special programs.”

The members of the Committee on Membership are Henry Houh ‘89, chair; Claude Brenner ‘47; Kim Hunter ‘86; and Fred Lam, PhD ‘89.

Article III, as amended

In accordance with Article XI, Section 1, of the Articles of Organization and Constitution of the Association of Alumni and Alumnae of MIT (the “Constitution”), the Board of Directors of the MIT Alumni Association by the act of more than three-quarters of the director members adopts the following amendments to the Constitution:

Article III is replaced in its entirety by the following:

ARTICLE III. MEMBERSHIP

Section 1. Alumni and Alumnae Members

The following persons are Alumni/ae Members of the Association:

(a) All persons who have received a degree from the Institute; and

(b) All persons who have been registered as students in a degree-granting program at the Institute for (i) at least one full term in any undergraduate class which has already graduated; or (ii) for at least two full terms as graduate students.

Alumni/ae Members shall be entitled to vote for members of the National Selection Committee and for amendments to this Constitution, shall be eligible for any position selected by the National Selection Committee, and shall be entitled to such other privileges, if any, as may be provided for in this Constitution or the Bylaws.

Section 2. Associate Members

The following persons are Associate Members of the Association:

(a) All persons who have completed at least one term of a full-time, non-degree-granting undergraduate-level program, provided (i) that admission to such program was determined by the Institute or an academic department in accordance with relevant standards and (ii) that the program has been approved for Associate Member status by the Board of Directors;

(b) All persons who have completed at least two terms of a full-time, non-degree-granting graduate-level program, provided (i) that admission to such program was determined by the Institute or an academic department in accordance with relevant standards and (ii) that the program has been approved for Associate Member status by the Board of Directors; and

(c) A person who has been registered in a degree-granting program at the Institute but who does not meet the criteria set forth in Section 1 above and who has either (i) made application for membership or (ii) been nominated for membership by an Alumni/ae Member of the Association and who is then duly elected as an Associate Member by the Board of Directors.

Associate Members shall be entitled to such of the privileges of Alumni/ae Members as shall be determined by the Board of Directors from time to time, except the rights to: (A) serve as directors of the Association; (B) hold any office in the Association expressly reserved for Alumni/ae Members; (C) vote for members of the National Selection Committee; and (D) vote for amendments to this Constitution; provided that the prohibitions of (A) and (B) may be waived by a specific vote of the Board of Directors after nomination of an Associate Member by an Alumni/ae Member.

Section 3. Honorary Members

Honorary Members shall be persons who, after nomination by an Alumni/ae Member, are determined by the Board of Directors to have rendered outstanding service to the Association or the Institute and are then elected Honorary Members by the Board of Directors.

Honorary Members shall be entitled to such of the privileges of Alumni/ae Members as shall be determined by the Board of Directors from time to time, except the rights to: (A) serve as directors of the Association; (B) hold any office in the Association expressly reserved for Alumni/ae Members; (C) vote for members of the National Selection Committee; and (D) vote for amendments to this Constitution.

Section 4

Alumni/ae Members, Associate Members and Honorary Members shall collectively be referred to as “Members”.

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