Bylaws & Policies

Below is the complete text of the ASLE bylaws, last updated February 2012.

Here also are some links to other written policy and planning documents, as well as a historical record of past presidential columns to trace the organization's history:

ASLE Strategic Plan

Graduate Student Liaison Policy

ASLE Officers Travel Funding Policy

Guidelines for Proposing an ASLE Conference or Symposium

Guidelines for Professional Organizations Affiliated with ASLE

Conflict of Interest Policy

Document Retention Policy

ASLE President's Columns from ASLE News



The Association for the Study of Literature and Environment
(Revised July 2014)



1.1 The name of this organization is the Association for the Study of Literature and Environment (hereafter ASLE). ASLE was established in 1992 at a special session of the Western Literature Association conference in Reno, Nevada.



2.1 The purpose of ASLE is to support the fields of environmental literature, humanities, and arts broadly defined. Consistent with this purpose, the activities of ASLE will include, but will not be limited to, the following:

2.1.1 Scheduling and holding an ASLE Conference every two years.

2.1.2 Encouragement of, arrangement for, and scheduling of lectures, discussions, panels, and other presentations at scholarly conferences sponsored by ASLE or by other scholarly organizations that allow ASLE participation in programming.

2.1.3 Publication of ASLE News (the official newsletter distributed to all members) and ISLE: Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment (hereafter ISLE; the official journal, also distributed to all members).

2.2 The purpose for which ASLE is organized is exclusively educational with the meaning of section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954 or the corresponding provision of any future United States Internal Revenue law.

2.3 Notwithstanding any other provision of these bylaws, ASLE shall not carry on any activities not permitted for an organization exempt from Federal income tax under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954 or the corresponding provision of any future United States Internal Revenue law.



3.1 Membership in ASLE is open to all persons who subscribe to the purpose set forth in these bylaws and who pay the annual dues. ASLE shall not discriminate in any way against members or potential members on the basis of race, gender, religion, age, nationality, ethnic origin, physical disability, or sexual orientation.

3.2 ASLE will maintain a membership roster containing the name and address of each member. ASLE will also maintain such books and records as may be required by law and are consistent with the purpose of the Association. The membership roster may be made available to outside parties for purposes consistent with the ASLE mission, with the consent of the Managing Director and the President.

3.3 Members may resign before their memberships expire by submitting written resignations to the Managing Director.  Membership privileges shall lapse for nonpayment of dues 30 days after the membership has expired. Members also may be removed by a majority vote of the Executive Council for cause.

3.4 Changes in membership dues must be recommended and approved by a majority of the Executive Council.

3.5 Membership dues fund the operations and activities of ASLE, including but not limited to administrative services, governance, planning, meetings, special projects, and publications.



4.1 Each member will have voting rights in all matters submitted to the general membership, including election of President, Vice President, and Executive Council members.

4.2 Each member will be eligible for nomination, election, or appointment to all offices in ASLE.

4.3 ASLE members will receive as member benefits: ASLE News, ISLE Journal, access to the online Member Directory, and other benefits as the Executive Council may designate.

4.4 ASLE members are eligible, upon acceptance by conference and symposia organizers, to present papers at ASLE conferences and symposia.

4.5 Any member may submit to the Nominating Committee nominations for the elective offices of ASLE, provided that the nominee is a member of ASLE and indicates a willingness to serve. Such nominees will be included in the online election balloting available at the website to general membership.

4.6 International members of ASLE are free to form international affiliates of ASLE in their respective nations so long as these affiliates operate in a spirit consistent with Article 2.1 of these bylaws. International affiliates will adopt bylaws and procedures appropriate to their own circumstances. In order to be a recognized international affiliate, that group must be reviewed and approved by the ASLE Executive Council.



5.1  The elected, voting officer positions are: President, Vice President, , Diversity Officer, Immediate Past Diversity Officer, six at-large members of the Executive Council, Graduate Student Liaison serving second year of their term, and another member who has just completed a term of either President or Vice President. The Immediate Past Diversity Officer was elected as Diversity Officer, but does not vote in the role of Past Diversity Officer.

5.2 The appointed officer positions are: Executive Secretary, Editor of ASLE News, and Editor of ISLE. At least one representative from the biennial conference site host will be invited to join the leadership as a non-voting officer for a three-year term beginning in the year before the conference or as soon as possible.

5.3 The appointed, non-voting coordinator positions include: Mentoring Coordinator, Professional Liaison Coordinator, Organizational Liaisons, International Liaison, and others created and authorized by the Executive Council.

5.4 The Executive Council consists of the President, Vice President, Immediate Past President, six at-large Executive Council members, seventh Executive Council member who just completed a term as either President or Vice President, Diversity Officer, and the Graduate Student Liaison serving the second year of a two-year term. All have voting privileges, though the President votes only to break a tie.

5.5 Officers of ASLE will receive no compensation for their service.



6.1 The President will preside at meetings of the ASLE officers, Executive Council, and the general membership, and will represent the Association and its purposes to other organizations and the general public. In voting by the Executive Council, the President will vote only to break a tie. The President will supervise the operations of ASLE in a judicious and diligent manner.

6.1.1 The President will report to the general membership at least annually on the state of the Association. This report will appear in ASLE News or in a separate document sent to all members.

6.1.2 The President will be responsible for scheduling and arranging all ASLE meetings. In filling this and any other Association responsibility, the President may call upon other officers, members of the Executive Council, and such ad hoc committees as the President may wish to appoint, for assistance.

6.1.3 The President, upon approval by majority vote of the Executive Council, is responsible for appointing non-elected officers.

6.1.4 The President may propose an annual budget for Executive Council approval, authorize disbursements from the treasury, and delegate such authority as needed for a limited time to persons in charge of special projects.

6.2 The Vice President will assist the President and will act as President pro tem whenever the President is absent, has resigned, or is otherwise unable to perform the duties of that office. The Vice President chairs the Nominating Committee.

6.3 The Executive Council is the primary policy-making body of the Association. It will review programming, procedures, and policies of the Association regularly and revise them as needed to meet the Association's purposes most effectively. The Council will meet at least once every calendar year, at the call of the President. The purpose of this meeting will be for business transaction, budgeting, planning, program review, etc.; appointed officers and others may be invited to assist the Executive Council during these deliberations. Between formal meetings, the Executive Council members may be consulted by mail, electronic mail, or telephone as necessary. Decision of the Council will be determined by majority vote of those voting (whether in meeting or by correspondence), providing there is a quorum of five members. The President may vote only to break a tie of the Executive Council.

6.4 The Executive Secretary will record the minutes of all meetings of the general membership and the ASLE officers, and preserve records of the actions of the Association. The Executive Secretary will serve as the "institutional memory" of ASLE. The Executive Secretary will have check signing and administrative privileges for ASLE bank accounts and will, at the direction of the President, issue the Managing Director's paychecks. The Executive Secretary may advise but does not have voting privileges in the Executive Council.

6.5 The Editors of ASLE News and ISLE will serve as chairs of their respective editorial boards and will oversee the production and distribution of their respective publications. Each editor will provide an annual report on that publication to the ASLE officers.

6.6 The Diversity Officer will oversee and participate in the activities of the Diversity Committee to reach across national, disciplinary, cultural, sex/gender, and other boundaries to enhance diversity and inclusiveness for ASLE. The Diversity Officer position will be elected by the general membership and limited to a three-year term. At the annual meeting of the EC, the Diversity Officer with the Diversity Committee will report to the EC specific goals to work toward diversity. Candidates for the position of Diversity Officer should be able to provide significant evidence of affiliations with diverse groups and/or organizations. The Immediate Past Diversity Officer will overlap with the recently elected Diversity Officer for one year and serve in an advisory and mentoring capacity.



7.1 The Nominating Committee will consist of the President and Vice President. The Nominating Committee will receive nominations and will be responsible for preparing a slate of at least two candidates for each office of the Association for which an election will be held in that calendar year, and for determining each candidate's willingness to serve.

7.2 The president will appoint a Budget Committee for a term of two fiscal years. The committee will consist of three people, including the Managing Director and at least one at-large member of the Executive Council. When possible, the committee members other than the Managing Director will be appointed in staggered terms. The committee will create ASLE's operating budgets at least every two years as well as provide oversight and decision-making in regard to ASLE's overall financial state.

7.3  Ad hoc and special project committees, task forces, etc., can be established by the Executive Council as needed.

7.4 The Diversity Committee will consist of the Diversity Officer plus at least two other volunteers from the EC. The committee will agree upon specific diversity goals for each year and report on these goals and submit them for approval to the annual meeting of the EC. The Diversity Committee will also actively participate in the planning of the conference theme and the selection of plenary speakers. The Diversity Committee can constitute an ad hoc diversity committee from general membership as it sees fit. The Immediate Past Diversity Officer will serve on this committee in an advisory role. The Diversity Officer and/or members of the Diversity Committee will maintain communication with the membership on its activities throughout the year.



8.1 The Nominating Committee each year will provide a slate of at least two nominees for each position to be filled in the next election. The committee will invite nominations from the general membership

8.2 Election of officers will be conducted mainly online and balloting made available to all members by November 1 of the year of election. Paper ballots will be mailed upon request.  Votes must be submitted by December 1 of the election year.

8.3 In case of a tie vote, The Executive Council will vote to break the tie.



9.1 Elective terms of office begin January 1 of the year following election and end on December 31 of the last year of the term.

9.2 The President and Vice President will each serve a term of two consecutive years, with the Presidential term beginning in a non-conference year and the Vice Presidential term beginning in a conference year. At the conclusion of their respective terms, they will each serve one year as a voting member of the Executive Council.

9.3 The six at-large members of the Executive Council will serve terms of three years, with the terms staggered in such a way that two members are elected each year.

9.4 The Diversity Officer will serve a term of three years, and then continue to serve in a non-voting capacity as Past Diversity Officer for one more year.

9.5 The two Graduate Student Liaisons will serve a term of two years, with the terms staggered in such a way that one Graduate Student Liaison is elected each year. Voting privileges are granted in the second year of service.

9.6 The Executive Secretary will serve a term of five years and, if willing, may be reappointed for subsequent terms by the President, upon majority approval of the Executive Council.

9.7 Terms of office for other appointed officers will remain indefinite, subject to approval of the Executive Council.



10.1 If an officer of the Association fails to carry out the duties of office, or carries them out in a way clearly detrimental to the interests of the Association, a written request to remove that individual from office may be placed before the Executive Council by any ASLE member. If a member of the Executive Council presents this request as an official motion and if the motion is seconded, then a bill of particulars must be presented, in writing, to the officer in question by the Executive Council member who sponsored the motion to remove. The officer will then be given reasonable time to read and consider the bill of particulars and prepare copies of a written response. The Executive Council will then consider the bill of particulars and hear the officer's response. At the conclusion of the hearing, the Council, excluding the officer in question, will vote on the motion. At least two-thirds of the full membership of the Executive Council must vote in the affirmative for the motion to be accepted. If the motion does pass, the officer in question will at that point be removed from office and will surrender to the Executive Council all documents related to that office during her or his tenure. If the officer removed is the President, the Vice President will assume the duties of the office. For any other elected officer of the Association, the President will appoint a replacement to serve until the next election by the general membership. For appointed officers, the President, upon the approval of a majority vote of the Executive Council, will appoint a replacement who will serve out the term and be eligible for reappointment.

10.2 If the President resigns before the completion of her or his term, the Vice President will assume the duties of the office and appoint a Vice President until the next election by the general membership. If the Vice President or an Executive Council member resigns before the completion of her or his term, the President will appoint a replacement to serve until the next election by the general membership. If an appointed officer or coordinator resigns before that individual's term is completed, the President, upon the approval of a majority vote of the Executive Council, will appoint a replacement who will serve out the term and be eligible for reappointment.



11.1 As long as funds permit, ASLE will maintain one paid position: Managing Director. The Managing Director will support the current activities of the organization and collaborate with its Executive Council and Program Coordinators to implement the priorities of the Council. The general responsibilities of the Managing Director will be administering the existing functions of the organization, promoting its interests, fostering its development, and planning its long-term financial stability.

11.2 The Managing Director will maintain and annually publish the membership roster. The Managing Director will report annually in writing to the ASLE officers and the general membership on the status of membership and finances. The Managing Director will maintain timely and accurate records of all of the Association's financial matters.

11.3 The Managing Director will receive monies from dues, subventions, subscriptions, and contributions, and will disburse monies as directed by the President. The Managing Director is authorized to maintain bank accounts in the name of ASLE.

11.4 The Managing Director, upon majority approval of the Executive Council, may hire administrative help in carrying out the responsibilities of the position.

11.5 The Managing Director, upon two-thirds majority Council, is authorized to invest ASLE funds in socially and environmentally responsible investment funds. The progress of such investments shall be reviewed annually by the Executive Council, which may choose to re-invest, remove the invested funds, or take other appropriate actions.

11.6 The Managing Director will submit monthly reports to the President.



12.1 A general membership meeting of ASLE will be held biennially at the ASLE Conference. This meeting will be for information and discussion and will not formally transact Association business, unless specifically authorized to do so by the Executive Council. In such a case, the majority of the general members present can vote on items presented by the Executive Council, so long as the votes are not in conflict with procedures established elsewhere in the bylaws.


13.1 These bylaws may be amended by a two-thirds majority vote of the full membership of the Executive Council.

13.2 Any amendments to the bylaws thus approved will be reported to the general membership in a timely fashion.


14.1 ASLE may be dissolved upon recommendation of a two-thirds vote of the Executive Council and approval by mail ballot of two-thirds of the Association's members who vote on the question of dissolution. At least one month must be allowed for return of all ballots.

14.2 The President, Vice President and Executive Secretary shall form the Dissolution Committee and carry out all tasks necessary to concluding the business of the Association, including, but not limited to, placement of ASLE records and papers in a professionally maintained archive; notification to the general membership of the Association's dissolution; and finalizing the remaining publication schedule of ISLE.

14.3 In the event of dissolution, all assets remaining after liabilities have been met shall be disposed of in accordance with the provisions of section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue code of 1954 or the corresponding provision of any future United States Internal Revenue law.