Over the past week, we have received numerous notes of concern about the list of at-large nominations on the current ISA nominating slate. We are quite gratified that our membership is so strongly interested in promoting diverse leadership and in cultivating that culture within ISA. We share that value strongly.
In the context of the present slate, though, we must point out the following facts about the slate and the nominating process:
- The Nominating Committee did a great deal of outreach to a wide range of constituencies to solicit nominations. The committee, a diverse group in itself (https://www.isanet.org/ISA/Governance/Committees/Nominating/Members), was quite diligent in this regard. They did this work personally as well as through the mass methods coordinated through ISA HQ, including email, social media, and newsletter (all repeated times).
- After all that work is done, the committee is dependent on actually receiving nominations from our members. The committee does not nominate people themselves as that would entail a violation of ISA conflict of interest rules. Thus, if ISA members do not nominate a diverse group or anyone at all for that matter, the committee must move ahead with the nominees they have. Moreover, the committee is charged with a timeline for reporting laid out in the ISA Constitution.
- There is no constitutional mechanism for the ISA leadership or ISA HQ to reject the slate as proposed. That would far overstep our authority and would be extraordinarily bad precedent.
- At the deadline this summer, already later than normal to accommodate the pandemic’s impact on time and attention, the committee had only received 3 at-large nominations (at least 5 are required by current Constitution) and they wisely extended the deadline for at-large nominations. They received three more during that extended period and forwarded all 6.
- By current constitution, “all of the nominees for at-large representative must be from outside the recognized regions of the Association.” You may note that ISA launched a Latin American-Caribbean region and an Asia-Pacific region in recent years. That means in reality that at-large nominees can only be drawn from Europe, Middle East and Africa. Because of the geographical distribution of our membership, that heavily favors nominees from Europe because of the large membership numbers there.
- The constitutional revisions underway present a new way of doing at-large nominations focusing on members from “institutions in countries that are or have historically been underrepresented in the Association membership or leadership.” This will hopefully provide a broader pool for nominations moving forward.
- Those concerned about the slate might also wish to note that the President and VP nominations this year do not include a single white male candidate. That fact is indeed rare in the history of ISA nominated slates and the committee should be congratulated for their work in this regard.
We would be happy to discuss this further and we encourage everyone to vote before the December 5th deadline.
Helen Milner, ISA President
Cameron Thies, ISA Past-President
Kristian Gleditsch, ISA President-Elect
Mark A. Boyer, ISA Executive Director