SALA Constitution


ARTICLE I: Name and Objectives

Section 1. The Association shall be known as The South Asian Literary Association (hereafter referred to as the Association and abbreviated as SALA).

Section 2. SALA shall be a non-profit, non-political, and non-religious literary organization, with its base of operations in the United States of America, but with an international reach.

Section 3. The principal aims and objectives of the Association shall be:
(1) To generate and foster scholarly interest in South Asian languages and literatures of India, Nepal, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and other countries of the South Asian region and in literatures of South Asians in diaspora.
(2) To promote and disseminate the scholarly activities of its members through its publications and its annual conference.
(3) To maintain an affiliation with the Modern Language Association of America as an allied organization and to abide by the MLA policies, rules, and regulations pertaining to that relation.
(4) To actively seek the support and patronage of academic institutions and libraries (both public and private) and individuals interested in South Asian languages and literatures.
(5) To recognize the importance and achievements of a scholar, writer, or combination of both by presenting a Distinguished Achievement Award at the annual SALA conference. Reasonable flexibility will be given to the Executive Committee to give special recognition to additional scholar(s) or writer(s) of special distinction.
(6) To mentor graduate students and young faculty members as they enter the academy. To encourage excellence in scholarship among graduate students, SALA will offer up to three prizes for “Best Graduate Student Paper,” selected by the Conference Co-chairs in consultation with the Vice President. The Conference Co-chairs will invite submissions of completed presentation/article length papers for this prize from graduate students whose abstracts have been accepted for presentation at the annual SALA conference. The prize shall consist of a certificate, a modest cash prize, and the waiving of the following year’s membership fee, and will be awarded at the SALA Awards Ceremony.

ARTICLE II: Membership

Section 1. Membership in the Association shall be open to all individuals, libraries/institutions/ organizations interested in South Asian culture, language, and literature, and who subscribe to its aims and objectives.

Section 2. No member or group of members of the Association shall initiate or continue any activity or activities in the name of the Association without the prior approval of the Executive Committee of SALA. Unsanctioned activity or communication will be dealt with according to the Code of Conduct (which has been affirmed by the organization but will be officially ratified after further legal review) [amendment made 01/03/2017 in Philadelphia, PA].

Section 3. All efforts and services of the members toward any of the SALA activities and goals shall be considered voluntary. No compensation shall be made to any member or officer or member of the Executive Committee for the labor and time donated. However, compensation shall be made only for the out-of-pocket expenses incurred by any member for the Association’s activities, in accordance with Article VI, Section 2.

Section 4. No financial commitment may be made on behalf of SALA by any Executive Committee member or officer without the prior approval of the Treasurer, who will consult with the President or the Vice-President when the President is not available. (Amendment adopted at the General Business Meeting on 12/27/2009 in Philadelphia.)

ARTICLE III: Membership Dues

Section 1. The membership dues in the Association shall be:
Student or Part-time Faculty: $35
Instructor, Independent Scholar, Retired Faculty, or Assistant Professor: $45
Associate Professor: $55
Full Professor: $65
Life Membership: $350 (until September 30, 2011); $400 (October 1, 2011 and onward).
Library Subscriptions for SAR (Vol. 31, Nos. 1, 2, and 3): $70
(These dues apply to the 2011 membership year; the dues structure has been amended several times.)

Section 2. The membership dues shall be for the calendar year (January 1 – December 31.)

Section 3. The membership dues shall include subscriptions to SALA publications: Newsletter and South Asian Review.

Section 4. Any change in the dues structure shall be made by the Executive Committee with a consensus and shall be made effective immediately after the Business Meeting, unless otherwise indicated.

ARTICLE IV: Officers of the Association and the Executive Committee

Section 1. The Officers of the Association include an elected President, a Vice President, a Secretary, and an appointed Treasurer. All Officers of the Association serve on the Executive Committee. The Executive Committee also includes six Councilors, an Editor of the Newsletter, the Editors of the journal, South Asian Review, a Website Manager, an Advisor, the ex-officio Past President, and co-Chairs of the Annual Convention. The six Councilors include one at-large non-US citizen/permanent resident Councilor, one South Asia based Councilor, and one graduate student. [The changes to the number of councilors and the adding of the non-US and the South Asia based councilors, and the Treasurer appointment process was adopted on 01/03/2017 in Philadelphia, PA]

Section 2. With the exception of the Treasurer, Newsletter Editor, Website Manager, South Asian Review Editors, and Advisor, no elected officer or councilor shall hold the office for more than two consecutive terms; each term shall comprise of two years; and thus a total of four years. The Editors shall serve at the pleasure of the Executive Committee as long as they receive institutional support for their respective publications and maintain high standards of editorial practice. The Advisor shall serve a three-year term [This time frame was adopted January 5, 2016 in Austin]. The Treasurer shall be appointed after a vetting process, and shall serve a 3-year term.

Section 3. The elections shall take place during the SALA business meeting at the MLA convention. The election shall be by a simple majority vote of the present membership. All members shall have a right to vote and to contest for the election of any office for which they meet the required conditions. Associate and honorary members shall not have such a right.

Section 4. The Past President shall be responsible to solicit nominees for the upcoming year’s elections, and then present to the Executive Committee a slate of possible candidates for the upcoming openings. [This amendment was adopted on 01/03/2017 in Philadelphia, PA] Nominations shall also be accepted from the floor during the business meeting.

Section 5. A person running for the SALA Executive Committee must have been a SALA member of continuous standing for at least 1 year. Officers must have been members for at least three consecutive years and must be US citizens or Resident Aliens of the USA (This amendment was adopted on 12/27/2009 in Philadelphia). [The additional requirement regarding citizenship of officers was adopted on 01/03/2017 in Philadelphia, PA, and will be removed if not required by law]

ARTICLE V: Duties and Responsibilities of the Officers

Section 1. President: The President of SALA shall preside over all the general body and Executive Committee meetings; present an agenda in consultation with the Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer of the Association, preferably two weeks earlier; and try to seek a consensus on major issues affecting the operation of the Association. Consensus shall be the norm, not an exception, in all its deliberations. In the event that a consensus does not appear possible, the issue shall be put to a vote by the President and a simple majority shall prevail. A three-fourth majority of the membership shall force the President to bring any matter to a vote. Above all, the President shall be responsible and accountable for the overall image, name, and prestige of the Association.

Section 2. Past President: The outgoing President shall be requested to serve as an ex-officio member of the Executive Committee following the completion of his or her term of office. The Past President shall be responsible to solicit nominees for the upcoming year’s elections, and then present to the Executive Committee a slate of possible candidates for the upcoming openings. Nominees shall present a bio, brief CV, and a Statement of Purpose for the position by December 1 before the conference, to be included in the newsletter. Elections for the positions will take place at the General Business meeting of the conference. [This amendment was adopted on 01/03/2017 in Philadelphia, PA]

Section 3. Vice President: The Vice President shall assist the President with the logistical details of leading the Association, running the annual conference, assisting with the Association’s publications and web presence, and will perform other duties as necessary. He or she will also assist conference co-chairs in preparing the annual conference program. The Vice President shall also chair the committee with the conference co-chairs, which decides the “Best Graduate Student Paper” prizes. [The Vice President’s roles and responsibilities were proposed by the Executive Committee and approved by the membership at the December 2002 Business Meeting; the graduate prize amendment was ratified in Chicago, December 2007]

Section 4. Secretary: The Secretary shall be responsible for conducting all the important correspondence with the members, non-members, the MLA, and any other organizations in the country and abroad. He or she shall pass on any valuable information pertaining to the members’ achievements and any professional announcements to the editor of the Newsletter for publication. He or she shall assist the President in conducting the annual business meeting and prepare minutes for the General Business and Executive Committee meetings. [The separation of the office of Secretary-Treasurer was proposed by the Executive Committee and approved by the membership at the December 2002 Business Meeting]

Section 5. Treasurer: The Treasurer shall be responsible for collecting annual membership dues; keeping the account of expenditure and revenues and related files up to date; maintaining a savings or checking account in a local bank of his/her town in the name of SALA; and shall inform the individual members about the non-payment of their dues. He/she shall present the annual report relating to the financial state of the Association and make proper recommendations about its amelioration. The Treasurer will provide the Newsletter editor and the editor of SAR with updated membership lists for the distribution of these publications. The Treasurer is responsible for collecting conference registration and dinner dues and for making payments to conference hotels, publishers, and other vendors. Any nominees shall go through a rigorous vetting process by the President, VP, and former Treasurer, before a new 3-year term begins, before being announced to the general membership. [This amendment was adopted on 01/03/2017 in Philadelphia, PA]

Section 6. Editor of the Newsletter: The editor of SALA’s Newsletter shall compose the text, collect all the relevant information about the members’ achievements, and have the Newsletter printed at his/her campus. He/she shall strive to seek full financial support from the affiliated institution for the cost of printing. Two half-yearly issues shall be published (the Summer edition online, and the Winter edition online and in print) and furnished to paid members as well as to the members of the audience in the two SALA-sponsored sessions at the MLA convention, in order to invite them to join the Association. The Newsletter shall also announce the topics for sessions to be held at the MLA meeting. The Newsletter may have a co-editor (non-voting member). [This amendment was adopted on 01/03/2017 in Philadelphia, PA]

Section 7. Editor of South Asian Review: (See Article IV, Sec. 2, for the appointment of the Editor of SAR). Carefully revised versions of the papers presented at the SALA/MLA sessions and at the annual conference shall be considered for publication after they have been critically reviewed by two readers, who shall be selected by the editor. SAR, being a refereed journal, shall maintain the highest scholarly standards for its publications. It shall follow the MLA Handbook for its bibliographical style. Besides papers from MLA and SALA conferences, the editor shall consider other submissions as well and apply the same evaluative standards to all of them. The editor shall periodically recommend the nominees to serve on the Editorial Board and on the Board of Consultants and Advisors to the Executive Committee of the Association. The appointed members of the Boards will be regularly consulted by the Editor and shall endeavor to meet at the MLA meeting to offer their input regarding the journal’s reception in the academy. To facilitate editorial work, the Editor may appoint Associate Editors in consultation with the Executive Committee. The journal shall also be listed prominent directories of periodicals, e.g., the MLA Directory of Periodicals, Ulrich’s International Periodical Directory, and others and indexed in appropriate forums. Unless decided otherwise by the Executive Committee, the journal will be published three times a year. The editor shall be responsible for mailing the journal to the SALA members, contributors, and other subscribers.

Section 8. Executive Council: The six members of the Council shall hold the office for a term of two years, but not more than two consecutive terms. They shall be nominated from the floor and be elected by a simple majority, on the basis of staggered term in order to retain continuity of service and experience, and to avoid a gap in the transitional process. They shall review, deliberate, and vote on all the issues and policies affecting the operation of the Association. One of the five councilors shall be a graduate student. [Adopted in Vancouver, January 7, 2015]

Section 9. Web Manager: The Web Manager will create and maintain a website for the Association. He or she will actively update the site to maintain the accuracy of its information. He or she will ensure an attractive and professional design which will reflect the scholarly nature of the Association. The Web Manager will publish the Conference Abstracts on the SALA website. The Web Manager is a voting member of the executive committee. [Voting power was adopted in Chicago on 1/9/2014]

Section 10. The SALA Advisor: He or she will serve for a 3-year term. This appointment is ex-officio. [The term limit of this position was adopted on 1/8/2011 in Los Angeles and then amended in Austin, January 5. The Advisor was made a voting member of the Executive Committee by an amendment adopted on 01/03/2017 in Philadelphia, PA] He or she will advise the officers and Executive Committee on all aspects of the organization, from organizing the annual conference to maintaining the solvency of the Association via fundraising.

Section 11. Conference Co-chairs: The Conference Co-chairs (up to three per year) [Amendment approved in Austin, January 5, 2016] will be appointed by the Executive Committee itself in advance of the General Business Meeting. The Secretary will advertise that any interested parties should contact the Secretary for details about the responsibilities of the co-chair position. Once that person has understood and agreed to the responsibilities, the Committee will vet this person’s qualifications to be Co-Chair and then appoint the best qualified candidate. If there are more than three interested persons, the Executive Committee will start a list for coming years. If no one expresses interest, the Executive Committee will solicit responsible people for the position. A person does not need to be at the current year’s conference to co-chair the next year’s conference, but the person must be a SALA member. (This procedure was adopted on 1/8/2011 in Los Angeles) Co-chair teams may be chosen up to two years in advance. [Amendment approved in Austin, January 5, 2016] The Co-Chairs are voting members of the executive committee during their term. [This amendment was adopted on 01/03/2017 in Philadelphia, PA]

ARTICLE VI: Meetings

Section 1. The Association shall hold its annual general body/business meetings during the same week as the MLA conventions. Such meeting shall be presided over by the President of the Association. Members present shall constitute the required quorum. Meetings shall be conducted in accordance with Robert’s Rules of Order. Executive committee business shall be executed throughout the year via email, and will also be conducted in accordance with Robert’s Rules of Order.

Section 2. The Association shall attempt to have at least two scholarly sessions during each MLA convention, by virtue of being an allied organization. One of these sessions shall be a “guaranteed” session, and the other shall be a “non-guaranteed” session, plus a possible third “non-guaranteed collaborative” session with a Group. As of 12/27/2009, nobody may read at a SALA MLA panel for two consecutive years. The Secretary must keep track of readers and relay this info to the chairs for the following years. [This policy was adopted on 12/27/2009 in Philadelphia.] The moderator of a SALA-sponsored MLA panel may choose to read in the session and help choose another moderator. The moderator will coordinate the panel and work closely with the Secretary who must submit the session information to the MLA. In cases where there is an exception, the deliberations will be opened to the Executive Committee Officers. [This amendment was adopted on 1/8/2011 in Los Angeles, with amendments to reflect MLA practice on 1/9/2014 in Chicago. Moderator duties were amended on 01/05/2016 in Austin and again on 01/02/2017 in Philadelphia]

ARTICLE VII: Amendment of the Constitution

Section 1. Any amendment, addition, or deletion of this Constitution shall first be approved by three-fourths of the members of the Executive Committee and then by two-thirds of the general membership.

Section 2. A prior notice regarding the above shall be mailed to the members several weeks in advance of the meeting.

Adopted with amendments: December 29, 1993, MLA, Toronto, December 2007 (Chicago), December 2009 (Philadelphia), January 2011 (Los Angeles), January 2014 (Chicago), January 2015 (Vancouver), January 2016 (Austin), January 2017 (Philadelphia)