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EASA governing document

Dear EASA members
As we mentioned in the last newsletter we were advised to seek legal advice regarding our Constitution. As you may know, as a 'limited company' registered in the UK, we have to comply with both Company and Charity Law and both have changed since the document was written. Our constitution has served us well, but with tweaks over the years and a confusing amalgamation of the memorandum of agreement and the articles it is no longer clear or coherent.

A solicitor specialising in charity law has reworked the document as we instructed to comply with both current Charity and Company law and to bring it up to date and inline with our current practice.

Summary of changes
1. The memorandum has been incorporated into the Articles (with no substantive changes)
2. The interpretation section has been moved up front and includes additional definitions
3. Anomalies in the ability of Members to attend speak, vote and hold office are removed by distinguishing voting Members from Members in general throughout the draft Articles (no changes have been made to the classes of members or criteria - however we would urge the next executive committee to look at the status of Associate Members now that the regulations have been clarified in the document)
4. Use of electronic communication and e-voting is permitted (what we do already, for example when electing a new executive committee)
5. The number and manner in which Trustees are appointed has been clarified (again in line with current practice and with no changes to number or manner of appointment)
6. The manner in which general meetings are held has been clarified and brought into line with what is required of us (e.g. specifying quorum for trustee meetings, means of notifying members, and the fact that the Member's Forum is also an AGM)

The changes summarised above (1-6) address ambiguities and contradictions in the current document, and add things that need to be in there (according to current legislation). They do not represent any substantive change to the way in which EASA currently operates.

Objects
As you may also know, the Objects of EASA were changed by special resolution at the Member's forum in Maynooth, in 2010. The changes agreed were as follows:

From:

The Objects of the Association (“the Objects”) are to advance the education of the public in social anthropology in particular but not exclusively by:
(a) promoting undertaking and supporting research and publishing the useful results therof
(b) organising conferences symposia workshops and other like events and
(c) supporting and funding networks of scholars ( known as scholarly networks) who are advancing the education of the public in social anthropology

Anthropology is the study of the origins of human beings and their cultures worldwide. Social anthropology is that branch of anthropology that deals with human culture and society

To:

The Objects of the Association are to improve understanding of world societies by promoting professional communication and cooperation between European social anthropologists.

Unfortunately, the Charity Commission (CC) were not sent a notification of the changes to the Objects at the time. When we sent the revised document to them in 2014, noting the changes that had been approved by the membership in 2010, the CC informed us that these Objects do not fulfil the aims of a charity and cannot be approved. We have now had the following approved by them:

The objects of the Association are to promote education and research in social anthropology by improving understanding of world societies and encouraging professional communication and cooperation between anthropologists, especially those working in and on Europe.

Note:
We have made available the following on the website:
1. revised document with new objects (PDF)
2. revised document with old objects (PDF)
3. the version with track changes (Word)

You will also find our current constitution on the website for comparison. We aim to put forward two resolutions at the AGM in Tallinn: the first for approval of the amendments to the document (summarised above in 1-6) and the second for the change to the Objects. We are obliged to give formal notice of these and of the AGM, and to inform you that you can send a proxy to vote (please excuse the legalese in these notices). The notices can be found here: The appendix to the notices also contains links to the relevant documents. We hope that this is clear and welcome any comments or questions you may have in advance.

EASA executive committee
July 2014