Disabled & D/deaf Writers Caucus Bylaws

The AWP Disability Caucus bylaws will be voted on for the first time at 6pm on April 1, 2016 at #AWP16 in Los Angeles (LA Convention Center, Meeting Room Level, Rm 411).

The working draft of the bylaws, dated March 2016, are as follows:

AWP Disability Caucus Bylaws, March 2016 draft

 AWP Disability Caucus Mission
The AWP Disability Caucus’ primary mission is to work with AWP to ensure improvements & open accessibility for writers, scholars, & students with disabilities, and to help ensure that there are ongoing efforts to overcome barriers to access. We work to witness not only an increase in disability-related panels and readings, but more opportunities to network and discuss common challenges related to identity, writing, and teaching while professionally leading a literary life. We aim to archive our interests, challenges, and concerns in order to increase our visibility and emphasize our importance to this organization, along with our social and creative significance to the academic and literary communities where we live, teach, and work.

Statement of Merit
We meet as a caucus dedicated to writers who identify as within the disability community. We exist as a supportive, inclusive, intersectional, and accessible space within AWP to network and discuss issues we uniquely face as a literary community. Our caucus serves as a means within AWP to address concerns surrounding accessibility; the development of disability literature as an academic and creative discipline; and to enter into the larger dialogue of the disabled writer in society.

I. Purpose and Mission

  1. The purpose of Disability Caucus (“the Caucus”) of the Association of Writers and Writing Programs (“AWP”) is to further the theoretical, practical, professional interests of students, writers, and teachers within the disability community, and to encourage disabled students, writers, and teachers to explore disability, accessibility, & the development of disability literature as a discipline through dialogue and writing.
  2. The objectives of the Caucus are the following:
    1. To expand networking opportunities for students, writers, and teachers who identify as part of the disability community.
    2. To recognize the contributions of disabled writers nationally and internationally.
    3. To expand literary and cultural dialogue to encompass all genres of creative writing specific to disabled writers.
    4. To encourage an open forum for dialogues about disabled literary perspectives.
    5. To support education about the contributions of disabled writers.

II. Representation with Board of AWP

  1. In order to facilitate further disabled representation and communication with AWP leadership, the Caucus may nominate/endorse representatives when a vacancy on the AWP Board of Trustees occurs.
    1. In accordance with AWP guidelines, nominations for open seats on the AWP

    Board of Trustees must be submitted to the Council Chairs and/or directly to the Board of Trustees.

    1. AWP Trustee Job Description
      1. Each individual who stands for election to the board must

    agree to fulfill the following duties if elected to the board:

    1. to serve on AWP’s Board of Trustees for four years.
    2. to attend two board meetings each year: a fall board meeting

    (held at the site of the conference two years out, and a spring meeting at the annual conference site).

    1. to participate actively in board committees.
    2. to remain informed about AWP business and relevant news

    in the field.

    1. to accept special assignments in areas such as fundraising,

    publications, and advocacy, and to play a visible role at key events (e.g. plenary session, keynote, and Award Series reading) at the annual meeting.

    1. to give or to raise at least $1,000 for AWP each year. In-kind

    donations (payment of one’s own travel expenses) or institutional commitments (such as sponsorship, or other assistance that comes with a benefit) are not included in this area.


III. Membership

  1. Membership in the Caucus will be open to all AWP members who are self-identified as disabled or living with chronic illness.

IV. Executive Board

  1. The Caucus will elect an Executive Board from its members. The board will normally have four members, but a fifth member is possible in the duplicate roles of Vice President or Communications Coordinator should the need arise. Each year, a majority number of the Executive Board must be in attendance at the AWP Annual Conference. Nominees who are self-identified as disabled or chronically ill will have priority when Executive Board nominations are made.
  2. The Executive Board will be elected by the Caucus members at the AWP Annual Conference. Nominations will occur in an election year during the open call for agenda items. The following members will be elected for a term of two years in their respective positions:
    1. President: The President of the Caucus will chair the Executive Board, moderate the Caucus meetings, assist committees throughout the year, and serve as liaison to the AWP.
    2. Vice President: The Vice President will work closely with the President, and will assume the duties of the President in the President’s absence and shall undertake certain responsibilities in conjunction with the President. The Vice President will be in charge of completing the caucus application paperwork for each AWP conference by the deadline.
    3. Secretary: The Secretary will take minutes at the annual meeting and will maintain the Caucus’s records. The Secretary will provide to the Communications Coordinator all necessary document drafts (updated bylaws, minutes, names of Board nominees) for uploading to the Caucus website. The Secretary will maintain a private list of active members & their contact information that is not to be posted publicly at any time.
    4. Communications Coordinator: The Communications Coordinator will deal with all media concerns & serve as moderator for all social media accounts (facebook, twitter, etc). They will be responsible for updating the Caucus website, including archiving meeting minutes & the ongoing DisLit bibliography in accessible ways. The Communications Coordinator will also produce or delegate production of any flyers, logos, etc necessary. The Communications Coordinator will be sure to keep the contact information of Caucus members private, especially when sending out email newsletters.
  1. Executive Board members will have the following responsibilities:
    1. Communicate with members by holding an Annual General Meeting reporting to members at the annual conference and through electronic means, and maintaining an active distribution list, website, listserve, and/or newsletter.
    2. Meet as needed to prepare for the annual conference and further the interests of the Caucus membership.
    3. Issue a call for nominations and develop a slate of nominees in time for voting at the AWP annual conference.
    4. Affiliate and cooperate with related organizations.
    5. Make known the Caucus candidate to the Board of AWP and ensure that all Caucus members vote for that candidate in the AWP open elections.

V. Committees/Task Forces/Working Groups

  1. The Executive Board may authorize committees/task forces/working groups
    to handle special issue and areas of focus on behalf of the board.
  1. Committees/Task Forces/Working Groups may recruit members from the
    Advisory Board and from the general membership.
  1. An Executive Board member or Advisory Board member must co-chair each
    committee/taskforce/working group and regularly report progress to the Executive Board.

VI. Advisory Board

  1. The Executive Board will choose an advisory board of as many members as it deems necessary.
  2. The Caucus will include an Advisory Board consisting of Caucus members who wish to make a positive contribution to the mission of the Caucus by offering constructive advice and feedback in areas of the Caucus’s operations.
  3. The Advisory Board will meet, in person or electronically, on a regular basis to discuss new issues and to make recommendations to present to the Executive Board.

VII. Changes and Amendments

  1. The Executive Board may propose changes and amendments to these bylaws

at any time.

  1. The Executive Board must approve bylaw changes by a majority vote.
  2. In the event of a tie, the Advisory Board will cast one (1) deciding vote.
  3. In the event that the Advisory Board cannot reach consensus on a deciding

vote, the Executive Board will reject changes to the bylaws.

  1. Caucus membership must ratify these changes by two-thirds vote of the

majority of members attending the Disability Caucus meeting at the AWP annual conference.


The formatting of blog sites can make these bylaws appear out of order or with the improper letters/numbers. For a PDF of the most recent bylaws, please be in touch with the current Caucus Secretary.


Executive Board vote to accept bylaws:

General Caucus vote to accept bylaws: April 1, 2016