In Support of the Alternative Membership Class Solutions Proposal (MCSP)
Membership in AAPG in any class is a privilege, and something to be valued. Attainment of membership in its Active, Emeritus and Honorary classes is something to be respected by every member, and a goal for every member to attain. Currently, we have 5 classes of membership, Active, Honorary, Emeritus, Student, and Associate, and these have been our standard classes for many decades. To make a change to this proven and valued structure must have a justification of importance, so I offer my opposition to the Membership Simplification Amendment, and support for the Membership Class Solutions proposal instead. I only seek the addition of a class to correct a problem created in 1999, when we consolidated Juniors into the Associate class with non-degreed members. That was a simplification that created too much simplification, and left us with a major problem that was unforeseen by its proponents back then.
As a result, we have been substantially growing the Associate class with both geodegreed and non-geodegreed members since 1999. Many of us who spend time on such C&BL matters have recognized that this attempt at simplification back then created a new problem, due to a zeal to “simplify” classes by consolidating them into fewer numbers of classes. In order to correct this problem, I devised the MCSP to simply reclassify the geodegreed Associates into their own new membership class, to be called “Basic” (or a better descriptive noun that the HoD can agree on). I oppose all consolidation/combination of classes, since it lowers the well-deserved recognition of our Honorary and Emeritus members.
The key purposes of having multiple member classes have always been 1) to bring distinction with “Honorary” and “Emeritus,” as well as 2) to differentiate those that have sought and achieved sponsorship with “Active,” and those that have not with “Associate” and “Student.” We do not need egalitarianism of our membership classes – we should celebrate the distinctions as classes of merit, and not relegate them to “special designations”. If you want to aid the dilution or elimination of the sponsorship requirements, then support the MSA proposal, for there are clear indications that this will be proposed next year, as the next logical step of “simplification” after eliminating “Active,” “Emeritus,” and “Honorary” classes this year. If you want to preserve and enhance the longstanding structure, and simply differentiate the Associates by giving those with geodegrees their own “Basic” class, then support the MCS proposal. If you don’t like the word “Active,” then offer a new one, but please don’t consolidate all three classes under the word “Member.” It would be better to do nothing this year than to do that, as the C&BL Committee had requested in its unanimous motion to take two years to work through all this.
Maintaining the existing structure and adding this proposed “Basic” class also preserves the potential for any future classes that we all might someday like to consider creating. In fact, a proposal was offered last year for the addition of a “Certified Class,” and just under the necessary 2/3rds of the HoD voted for it then. Even this past fall, leadership conducted an e-mail survey of the 3,000+ DPA members, and over 2/3rds of the DPA members surveyed support a “Certified Class,” which will not happen if we consolidate classes under the MSA. At best, it would become a “special designation,” which I, as a DPA member, think is worthless. I’ve asked several times that an electronic survey of the 18,000+ Active, Honorary, and Emeritus members be taken, much like the DPA, but the HoD leadership has refused my request every time.
In the end, most of us have never found the existing class structure to be “confusing,” as the simplification proponents suggest. Membership classes in bylaws always need to be clear and serve a purpose, and ours have done so for many decades. We would hope that no one seriously believes that either the MSA or MCSP is going to increase membership, yet they do offer distinctly differing approaches to how we will structure our membership classes going forward. I prefer to either create this additional “Basic” class to fix the problem of the Associate class, or just leave the classes alone, as is. Either way, I hope the HoD will do what’s best for the membership, as well as continue to honor all our Honorary and Emeritus members with their own class. Thank you. Clint Moore
This article represents the opinions of the author and not those of the majority of members of the Constitution and Bylaws Committee – Ed.