Sociology Association Faces Opposition to Dues Increase

April 14, 2011

More than 400 sociologists have signed a petition urging colleagues to vote against a proposed dues increase by the American Sociological Association unless the group provides more details on why the money is needed. The petition notes that the ASA has explained that a new dues structure is needed to make the system more progressive, and the petition endorses that principle. But it notes that, more than make dues more progressive, the new structure increases fees for all working sociologists and produces significantly more revenue for the ASA. "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."

Sally T. Hillsman, executive officer of the association, noted in response that the ASA publishes its annual audit online and has shared detailed financial plans with members, and will continue to do so. She added, however, that "it is clear that our members need and want more information," and said more would be forthcoming. "While we believe that revising the dues structure will benefit ASA, it is important to note that it is a proposal. ASA members have the final say," she said. "We have been glad to see vibrant discussion among members about the proposed dues change."

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