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"Member" in RONR - ambiguous as to member of committee or organization


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Just now, Hieu H. Huynh said:

Where is the ambiguity?

I cite a rule and say someone is a nonmember (not a member of the committee but they are a member of the organization). Then someone argues that the book is ambiguous because they are a member of the organization so they say that counts.

Is there a place in RONR I can cite that will make this clear to them?

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When RONR refers to a "member" it means a member of the body that it is talking about at the time. So when it's talking about a committee, use of the word "member" means a member of the committee. Similarly with boards.

The following quote shows how RONR specifies members of the society/assembly who are not members of the committee: "When a committee is to make substantive recommendations or decisions on an important matter, it should give members of the society an opportunity to appear before it and present their views on the subject at a time scheduled by the committee." (p. 501, lines 7-11. emphasis added)

1 hour ago, user said:

I cite a rule and say someone is a nonmember (not a member of the committee but they are a member of the organization).

Can you specify the rule? If it regards who can participate in committee meetings, then Mr. HHH's quote specifies that "During actual deliberations of the committee, only committee members have the right to be present." (emphasis added again)

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4 hours ago, Atul Kapur said:

When RONR refers to a "member" it means a member of the body that it is talking about at the time. So when it's talking about a committee, use of the word "member" means a member of the committee. Similarly with boards.

The following quote shows how RONR specifies members of the society/assembly who are not members of the committee: "When a committee is to make substantive recommendations or decisions on an important matter, it should give members of the society an opportunity to appear before it and present their views on the subject at a time scheduled by the committee." (p. 501, lines 7-11. emphasis added)

Can you specify the rule? If it regards who can participate in committee meetings, then Mr. HHH's quote specifies that "During actual deliberations of the committee, only committee members have the right to be present." (emphasis added again)

How about this from page 648: "Any nonmembers allowed in the hall during a meeting, as guests of the organization, have no rights with reference to the proceedings"

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9 hours ago, user said:

How about this from page 648: "Any nonmembers allowed in the hall during a meeting, as guests of the organization, have no rights with reference to the proceedings"

In the context of a committee, this rule means that any persons who are not members of the committee who are permitted to be present, as guests of the committee, have no rights with reference to the proceedings, except to the extent that the committee has been otherwise instructed in this matter by the parent assembly.

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2 hours ago, Richard Brown said:

What about it? 

 

1 hour ago, Josh Martin said:

In the context of a committee, this rule means that any persons who are not members of the committee who are permitted to be present, as guests of the committee, have no rights with reference to the proceedings, except to the extent that the committee has been otherwise instructed in this matter by the parent assembly.

So in the context of a committee, in the quote where it says "organization," that is referring to the committee? Maybe you can see how this would get a little confusing to outsiders?

My problem is when trying to cite these rules to people who are not familiar with RONR. Is there something I can cite that clearly says that "member" or "nonmember" refers to the body that is meeting? In the quote I provided, it specifically uses the word "organization" and this makes it even more ambiguous to outsiders who may interpret "organization" as the parent organization rather than the committee.

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4 hours ago, user said:

So in the context of a committee, in the quote where it says "organization," that is referring to the committee? Maybe you can see how this would get a little confusing to outsiders?

Yes, I acknowledge that the wording of the particular citation is not ideal.

4 hours ago, user said:

My problem is when trying to cite these rules to people who are not familiar with RONR. Is there something I can cite that clearly says that "member" or "nonmember" refers to the body that is meeting? In the quote I provided, it specifically uses the word "organization" and this makes it even more ambiguous to outsiders who may interpret "organization" as the parent organization rather than the committee.

The principal rule on this matter is that “A member of an assembly, in the parliamentary sense, as mentioned above, is a person entitled to full participation in its proceedings, that is, as explained in 3 and 4, the right to attend meetings, to make motions, to speak in debate, and to vote. No member can be individually deprived of these basic rights of membership—or of any basic rights concomitant to them, such as the right to make nominations or to give previous notice of a motion—except through disciplinary proceedings. Some organized societies define additional classes of "membership" that do not entail all of these rights. Whenever the term member is used in this book, it refers to full participating membership in the assembly unless otherwise specified. Such members are also described as "voting members" when it is necessary to make a distinction.” (RONR, 11th ed., pg. 3, emphasis added)

Apparently this citation alone is believed to be insufficient because a committee is not, strictly speaking, an assembly. The text notes, however, that “The rules in this book are principally applicable to meeting bodies possessing all of the foregoing characteristics. Certain of these parliamentary rules or customs may sometimes also find application in other gatherings which, although resembling the deliberative assembly in varying degrees, do not have all of its attributes as listed above.” (RONR, 11th ed., pg. 2)

The text then specifically discusses committee procedure on pgs. 500-501, describing the manner in which committee procedures differ from those procedures in an assembly. Nothing in those pages suggests that the meaning of the term “member” becomes different in the context of a committee, therefore, it stands to reason that it carries the same meaning (that it refers to a member of the committee, unless otherwise stated).

Indeed, the text reinforces this concept when it notes that “When a committee is to make substantive recommendations or decisions on an important matter, it should give members of the society an opportunity to appear before it and present their views on the subject at a time scheduled by the committee. Such a meeting is usually called a hearing. During actual deliberations of the committee, only committee members have the right to be present.” (RONR, 11th ed., pg. 501)

Since this last part specifically says committee members, there is no ambiguity. Additionally, since it is clear that only committee members have the right to be present, a discussion of what other rights guests might have is academic. As a practical matter, it is obvious from this sentence alone that the guests only have such rights as the committee permits, since it can always prevent guests from speaking further (for instance) by removing the guests from the meeting.

Since committees are fully subordinate bodies, however, the parent assembly is free to provide instructions to the committee on this matter if it wishes.

Edited by Josh Martin
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22 hours ago, Josh Martin said:

Yes, I acknowledge that the wording of the particular citation is not ideal.

The principal rule on this matter is that “A member of an assembly, in the parliamentary sense, as mentioned above, is a person entitled to full participation in its proceedings, that is, as explained in 3 and 4, the right to attend meetings, to make motions, to speak in debate, and to vote. No member can be individually deprived of these basic rights of membership—or of any basic rights concomitant to them, such as the right to make nominations or to give previous notice of a motion—except through disciplinary proceedings. Some organized societies define additional classes of "membership" that do not entail all of these rights. Whenever the term member is used in this book, it refers to full participating membership in the assembly unless otherwise specified. Such members are also described as "voting members" when it is necessary to make a distinction.” (RONR, 11th ed., pg. 3, emphasis added)

Apparently this citation alone is believed to be insufficient because a committee is not, strictly speaking, an assembly. The text notes, however, that “The rules in this book are principally applicable to meeting bodies possessing all of the foregoing characteristics. Certain of these parliamentary rules or customs may sometimes also find application in other gatherings which, although resembling the deliberative assembly in varying degrees, do not have all of its attributes as listed above.” (RONR, 11th ed., pg. 2)

The text then specifically discusses committee procedure on pgs. 500-501, describing the manner in which committee procedures differ from those procedures in an assembly. Nothing in those pages suggests that the meaning of the term “member” becomes different in the context of a committee, therefore, it stands to reason that it carries the same meaning (that it refers to a member of the committee, unless otherwise stated).

Indeed, the text reinforces this concept when it notes that “When a committee is to make substantive recommendations or decisions on an important matter, it should give members of the society an opportunity to appear before it and present their views on the subject at a time scheduled by the committee. Such a meeting is usually called a hearing. During actual deliberations of the committee, only committee members have the right to be present.” (RONR, 11th ed., pg. 501)

Since this last part specifically says committee members, there is no ambiguity. Additionally, since it is clear that only committee members have the right to be present, a discussion of what other rights guests might have is academic. As a practical matter, it is obvious from this sentence alone that the guests only have such rights as the committee permits, since it can always prevent guests from speaking further (for instance) by removing the guests from the meeting.

Since committees are fully subordinate bodies, however, the parent assembly is free to provide instructions to the committee on this matter if it wishes.

I was hoping for it to be a little more explicit, but this is good info. 👍

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