Braille Monitor                 June 2022

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A Proposed Amendment to the Constitution of the National Federation of the Blind

From the Editor: We print here a proposed amendment to the Constitution of the National Federation of the Blind that will be considered by the 2022 National Convention. Here it is:

National Federation of the Blind
Proposed Constitutional Amendment 2022

The following proposed amendment to the constitution of the National Federation of the Blind (as amended 2014) was approved for recommendation to the 2022 Convention by the Federation’s Board of Directors on May 12, 2022.

Under Article III: Membership, the Current Constitution (as Amended 2014) Reads:

Section E. Any member, local chapter, state affiliate, or division of this organization may be suspended, expelled, or otherwise disciplined for misconduct or for activity unbecoming to a member or affiliate of this organization by a two-thirds vote of the board of directors or by a simple majority of the states present and voting at a National Convention. If the action is to be taken by the board, there must be good cause, and a good faith effort must have been made to try to resolve the problem by discussion and negotiation. If the action is to be taken by the Convention, notice must be given on the preceding day at an open board meeting or a session of the Convention. If a dispute arises as to whether there was "good cause," or whether the board made a "good faith effort," the National Convention (acting in its capacity as the supreme authority of the Federation) shall have the power to make final disposition of the matter; but until or unless the board's action is reversed by the National Convention, the ruling of the board shall continue in effect.

Proposed Amendments to Article III: Membership, Section E:

Remove the word “member”; this section will now pertain to local chapters, state affiliates, and divisions.

Section E Would Then Read as Follows:

Section E. Any local chapter, state affiliate, or division of this organization may be suspended, expelled, or otherwise disciplined for misconduct or for activity unbecoming to a local chapter, state affiliate, or division of this organization by a two-thirds vote of the board of directors or by a simple majority of the states present and voting at a National Convention. If the action is to be taken by the board, there must be good cause, and a good faith effort must have been made to try to resolve the problem by discussion and negotiation. If the action is to be taken by the Convention, notice must be given on the preceding day at an open board meeting or a session of the Convention. If a dispute arises as to whether there was "good cause," or whether the board made a "good faith effort," the National Convention (acting in its capacity as the supreme authority of the Federation) shall have the power to make final disposition of the matter; but until or unless the board's action is reversed by the National Convention, the ruling of the board shall continue in effect.

Proposed Addition of New Section F to Article III: Membership:

Section F. Any member of this organization may be suspended, expelled, or otherwise disciplined for misconduct or for activity unbecoming to a member of this organization, and any non-member may have their engagement in the organization restricted, through standards and procedures established, maintained, and regularly reviewed by the board of directors. These standards will be publicly available as a Code of Conduct for the organization and members will be provided with opportunities to give feedback on the Code on a periodic basis set by the board.

While considering disciplinary actions taken by the board either directly or through the procedures it establishes, there must be good cause, and a good faith effort must have been made to hear the concerns of all parties involved. With regard to handling reports of violations of the code, the board will establish policies and procedures on how such reports will be investigated and then resolved. Any person subject to a ruling under these policies and procedures may appeal that ruling to the board, which may elect to have a subcommittee of the board handle the appeal. However, any three members of the board may, through written request, initiate a full board review of any disciplinary decision issued under the Code of Conduct. The procedures maintained by the board must provide individuals with clear guidance regarding their right to an appeal, the process for requesting an appeal, and the standards used in the board’s review of the appeal.

Any person subject to disciplinary action by the board issued through the procedures and policies authorized by this section may appeal the board’s final decision to the National Convention. Such an appeal must be filed in writing and within thirty days of the board’s decision. The written request shall be submitted to the President and must be signed by five delegates to the next Convention who support hearing the appeal. Notice of the appeal hearing must be given on the preceding day at an open board meeting or a session of the Convention. Due to the sensitive nature of certain matters, any disciplinary action to be considered by the Convention will only be considered in a closed committee meeting consisting of the delegates present and voting and the Federation’s President. The committee shall be chaired by the President unless a conflict of interest prevents the President from chairing the committee, in which case the delegates shall elect one of the other delegates present who does not have a conflict to preside over the meeting. All efforts will be made in any disciplinary meeting to protect the identity of individuals who were harmed. A matter that has not been fully investigated shall never be considered by the Convention. If a dispute arises as to whether there was "good cause," or whether the board made a "good faith effort," the National Convention (acting in its capacity as the supreme authority of the Federation) shall have the power to make final disposition of the matter; but until or unless the board's action is reversed by the National Convention, the ruling of the board shall continue in effect.

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