At 101 years old, the American Association of Textile Chemists and Colorists (AATCC) is making big changes. Amendments to the AATCC Constitution were approved by the membership on December 23, 2022 and took effect immediately. The amendments were presented in three groups: member categories, Board composition, and procedure. Related Bylaws changes were also approved by the AATCC Board of Directors.
“Senior” and “Associate” member categories are now combined under the new designation “Individual.” When AATCC was founded in 1921, credentials as a chemist or colorist were considered critical to election as a member. At least 5 years of related experience was required to be considered for Senior membership and voting status. Today, the Association serves a much larger segment of the textile industry and acknowledges the value of input from newcomers as well as established veterans. The Associate category was phased out of use a few years ago but the recent Constitution changes formally remove the experience requirement. All Individual members are entitled to vote in AATCC elections and to join research committees as voting members. Other rights previously reserved to Senior members include the ability to nominate award recipients and to receive certain awards. Student members of AATCC may not vote but may choose to forego the student discount and register as an Individual member for voting privileges. In addition to creating a more inclusive environment, several members commented that elimination of the Senior designation was a good step in modernizing the language of the Association. The designation was repeatedly mistaken for an indication of age rather than experience. Young professionals had little interest in earning the title “Senior!”
The AATCC Board of Directors was reorganized and reduced in size. Regional representatives were eliminated, primarily because the regional system no longer fully represented the membership. Vast portions of the US, and all other countries except India, were outside of designated regions. Members living in these areas were not represented on the Board. Interest Group At-Large representatives were also eliminated while Interest Group Chairs remain part of the Board. The C6 Membership Committee Chair is now a voting member of the Board and charged with representing the interests of members from all parts of the world. Local sections and student chapters will continue to submit annual or semi-annual reports to ensure no one is overlooked.
A third category of amendments was related to editorial and minor procedural issues. Most significantly, the election process was updated to allow for electronic voting in place of paper ballots cast at a meeting.
The recent Constitution and Bylaws changes were originally proposed by the Membership Committee in the interest of a more modern, inclusive AATCC. Amendments were reviewed by the C9 Constitution and Bylaws Committee and approved by the AATCC Board of Directors before going to the full membership. Amendments to the AATCC Constitution require at least two-thirds approval of at least 25% of the voting membership. Each group of changes was voted separately and members had the option to abstain on any or all items. Of those not abstaining, more than 90% approved each set of Amendments. The greatest number of objections was to the replacement of Senior and Associate member designations. The Membership Committee will review all comments submitted.
All amendments officially took effect immediately upon closing of the ballot though there will be some transition time as staff update online and print materials to reflect the new member designations and Board composition. All members are strongly encouraged to select a voting Interest Group and to attend Membership or other meetings to share their thoughts on the future of AATCC. Members are also welcome to contact any member of the AATCC staff or Board. The next round of meetings will be April 13-14 and 17-18. Register soon to attend online. May research committees will meet in person at the AATCC Technical Center.