A call for the ASA to increase its transparency

I encourage you to sign this petition, asking the ASA to disclose to members the reasons why we need a revenue increase, bundled into the restructuring of dues. The sociologists who have signed this petition believe we must have this information, or we will vote against the proposed dues change.

The text of the petition (for those who would rather read before clicking through) is:

We the undersigned sociologists1 hereby register our concern with the ASA leadership’s recommendation that the membership vote for a significant aggregate dues increase. (See the March issue of Footnotes for the recommendation and rationale.)2 We urge ASA members to vote against the proposed dues increase unless the ASA leadership presents a cogent explanation that specifically addresses why a substantial increase in total dues beyond the usual cost of living increase is warranted.

The published rationale argues that ASA dues should be more progressive. Like the ASA leadership, we support progressivity in the distribution of dues payments across the ASA membership. But what of the aggregate size of those payments? As shown in Table 3 of the Footnotes article, the proposal increases dues in every income bracket for employed sociologists.3 The new proposal does much more than just redistribute the dues burden in a more progressive way. It will also generate a substantial amount of new revenue, and the ASA has offered no explanation for why this is needed.

We believe that such a large aggregate increase in dues should be explained to members, before any vote, by a clear account of what more the ASA will be doing or why it needs to raise funds beyond a cost of living increase to continue existing services. This explanation must be specific about the services to be funded by additional dues revenue, and distinguish services that need additional dues funds from those that generate enough revenue on their own to break-even or make a profit. The explanation should also compare dues and services offered by peer organizations like APSA, AEA, and AAA, and provide a compelling explanation of why ASA leadership proposes dues that are higher.4

Unless the ASA leadership provides a compelling justification that meets these criteria before the May elections, we urge ASA members to vote against the new dues schedule.


1. “Sociologists” includes both Ph.Ds and graduate students in sociology, as well as other social scientists who engage in sociological research or teach sociology.

2. http://www.asanet.org/footnotes/mar11/dues_0311.html.

3. The proposal holds student dues steady and decreases dues for unemployed members by twenty dollars (http://www.asanet.org/footnotes/mar11/table3_0311.html), yet it appears the aggregate increase in other categories is far greater than what would be needed to simply balance this decrease for unemployed members.

4. For a comparison of current and proposed ASA dues with other social science organizations, see “A Comparative Look at ASA Membership Costs and Benefits“.



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One response to “A call for the ASA to increase its transparency

  1. Pingback: Latecomers to discussion of ASA dues increase « Permutations

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