Terms of reference for membership in the Public Issues and Actions Committee (PIAC)
1. There shall be four voting members on the PIAC.
2. Voting membership in the PIAC shall be for three years, renewable once.
3. The PIAC shall have a chair, appointed by the President in consultation with the PIAC. The chair shall serve for two years.
4. New members of the PIAC shall be appointed by the President in consultation with the Board of Directors and current and past PIAC members. All shall seek to ensure that new members complement the expertise and regional and gender diversity of the PIAC, and that membership is staggered.
5. The President and President-Elect of SALSA shall be ex-officio, normally non-voting, members of the PIAC. Nevertheless, the President-Elect may vote to break a tie.
SALSA members who wish to propose a public action should read the following Procedures for Advocacy and Policy Statements and address their proposal to the chair of the Public Issues and Action Committee, or the President of SALSA, Carlos D. Londoño Sulkin.
Procedures for Advocacy and Policy Statements
The Society for the Anthropology of Lowland South America (SALSA) encourages its members to bring anthropological perspectives on timely issues into policy, media, and other public venues. It is sometimes relevant for SALSA itself to take a public stand, as it has in the past in order to bring the full weight of the organization to bear on an important issue. SALSA supports its members, respects their right to present statements and letters in their own voices, and recognizes the need for intellectual diversity and freedom. However, only the President of SALSA or his/her delegates may write or otherwise make claims in the name of the organization. Actions are complex procedures that involve several steps. Members wishing to propose an action should present their requests to the PIAC.
SALSA will not evaluate or condemn the scholarship of particular individuals.
2. Procedures for member initiatives
The Executive Board has adopted the following procedures for considering requests by SALSA members to issue letters and advocacy and policy statements in the name of the SALSA. The Board, the President, and the PIAC will engage with such requests as expeditiously as possible.
2.1. Before drafting a full proposal or statement, proposing members shall write to the chair of the PIAC to discuss whether the matters in question are indeed appropriate for SALSA to act upon. The chair shall consult with the PIAC to make a determination. The chair will communicate the PIAC’s conclusion to the proposing members.
2.2. If the matters in question are appropriate for SALSA to act upon, proposing members shall develop and send a carefully researched, full proposal to the chair of the Public Action Committee and to the President. Correspondence should contain the following elements:
2.2.1. A complete draft of the letter or statement that the proposing member(s) wish SALSA to issue, with its intended addressees and their correct addresses (e-mail and regular mail, when relevant). The letter should include this paragraph, with any necessary changes and/or translations:
“The Society for the Anthropology of Lowland South America (SALSA) is an international professional association for anthropologists specializing in lowland regions of South America. SALSA’s main goals are to foster sound and ethical research on the peoples and environments of lowland South America, and to promote the education of students and the general public on issues that we study. For the organization, the well-being of lowland South America’s vulnerable peoples is of central concern. As anthropologists and regional specialists, we insist on accuracy in scientific research, integrity in interpretation, and defense against misuse of academic writings. We support indigenous leaders, organizations, and fellow scholars who focus the spotlight of public attention on the realities of life for native people in lowland South America and elsewhere, in the latter’s struggles to secure the rights and resources they need to survive and thrive as indigenous citizens of the 21st century.”
2.2.2. A cover letter with the following:
• A summary of the issue.
• Regarding the issue, and if extant and known, a brief history of relevant SALSA positions or advocacy, statements, or resolutions, as well as those of other social science associations or other relevant organizations.
• A list of other groups supporting the effort or cause (with contact information, if possible).
• Contact information for the lead advocate(s) working on the issue/concern and contact information for outside experts (i.e., non-SALSA committee or board member, if possible).
• Response deadline and reason why response is needed by this date (normally no less than three weeks from time of submission).
• Follow-up plans or description of next steps, where appropriate.
• A relevant bibliography of published articles, documents, and other relevant materials, if possible.
2.3 The chair of the PIAC shall consult with committee members and with the President regarding the merits of the proposal. If no less than the majority of the PIAC agree that the proposal is meritorious, PIAC shall make any editorial, content, and addressee corrections they deem appropriate and necessary, and verify that the new version is acceptable to the proposing member(s). The process may be reiterative.
2.4 Once a final draft is agreed upon, the chair of the PIAC shall forward it to the President of SALSA, who shall move to have the letter or statement approved by the Executive Board.
2.5 If approved, letters or statements are to be forwarded to the addressees or published on the SALSA website, in official format and with the President’s signature.
3. Procedures for Presidential Initiatives
The President of SALSA may instruct the PIAC to address a public issue that has been brought to his/her attention, such as by the Board, members, or outside persons or institutions. In such cases, the procedure shall be as follows:
3.1 PIAC shall establish a task force that will include at least one member of PIAC, one expert in the area, and one other SALSA member.
3.2 The task force shall produce the required statement or letter, and submit it to the chair of the PIAC.
3.3 The chair of the PIAC shall consult in committee with the task force, other members of the PIAC, and the President. They shall make any editorial, content, and addressee corrections deemed appropriate and necessary.
3.4 Once a final draft is agreed upon, the chair of the PIAC shall forward it to the President of SALSA, who shall move to have it approved by the Executive Board.
3.5 If approved, letters or statements are to be forwarded to the addressees or published on the SALSA website, in official format and with the President’s signature.