The Constitutional Challenge

Congratulations, the 2016 Amendment failed, rumor has it that it did not even gain a simple majority, so we were able to get the message out.   But, our work is not done. Now is the time for the Members to set the agenda and provide direction to the Board of Directors.  Our only way to do this is via a referendum constitutional amendment that clarifies the future of IEEE as a volunteer led organization, by a geographically and technically diverse set of experienced leaders, with transparent, open (non-censored) dialog on the future of IEEE Governance.  Referendum amendment documents can be found at a Yahoo group where we can store documents, share (open and uncensored) perspectives on these issues.
you can also join by sending email to:

Thank you for your help with this effort, and please lend a hand to Stand Up for the IEEE Members in 2017

======================the pre-election content follows=================

A number of IEEE leaders, High Level, Society and Section Boards have taken positions opposed to the proposed constitutional amendments, formal ballot opposition statements have been censored by IEEE, prohibiting ‘groups’, ‘titles’ and URL’s  – so this site is one place you can get the uncensored information. The specific statements of the Societies, Sections, Boards, Past Presidents, etc. can be found using the “Opposition Statements” TAB above or selecting the specific type from the top menu.

A flyer to inform members of the opposition issues can be found <click> here.
an information item for newsletters, etc that points to pros and cons is InfoLetter.

Here is a summary list of opposition sources (click on menu items above for details)

  • IEEE Technical Activities Board (all Society Presidents & Division Directors) approved motions recommending withdraw, and expressing concern about the process (June 2016)
  • Society/Council Board: (statements being added below):
    • Signal Processing Society (SPS); Computer (CS); Communications (ComSoc); Power Electronics Society (PELS), Sensors Council, Ultrasonics, Ferroelectrics, and Frequency Control Society (UFFC-S), Circuits and Systems, Electron Devices, Nuclear and Plasma Sciences Society
  • Section Boards/officers:
    • NH Section, The Washington DC Section AdCom
    • Northern Virginia Section
    • Tony Ivanov, PhD; 2016 Washington DC Section Chair
  • Past IEEE Presidents/Directors and other volunteer leaders
    • IEEE Presidents: Vig, Anderson,  ;Past USA President, VP MGA: Marc Apter; Past Director, CS President emeritus: Jim Isaak;


11 thoughts on “The Constitutional Challenge

  1. Reading through the IEEE Signal Processing group emails and
    and postings, there was mention of whether the group should take a
    top-down or bottom-up approach to how the group functions and
    does its business.

    Top-down tends to be hierarchical and so, unresponsive to “the bottom”.
    In some companies such as manufacturing, that’s very useful, up to
    a point.

    Bottom-up tends to be, what they call in political circles as “grass roots”,
    but tends to lack direction and vision.

    A third option,… a more balanced approach that uses the best of the
    strengths of both approaches to organization. Otherwise it won’t be an
    organization, it will be a pendulum dithering back and forth aimlessly.

    We have something good here, lets not mess it up with politics, the way
    our country is right now with its political dysfunction. Engineers are
    a smarter bunch than that,… are we?


    1. Thank you for a concise overview. I will vote to oppose the 2016 proposed changes to the IEEE constitution. IF IT AIN’T BROKE, DON’T FIX IT seems also to apply.


    1. Thank you for a concise overview. I will vote to oppose the 2016 proposed changes to the IEEE constitution. IF IT AIN’T BROKE, DON’T FIX IT seems also to apply.


  2. History repeats itself – it has to, nobody listens. For members in the UK, this is reminiscent of events in the UK national electrical engineering institution (now called the IET). In 2005 members approved a merger between two existing professional institutions to form the IET. The new charter included governance changes with similar effects to those being proposed by the IEEE – more control by the self-perpetuating board of trustees and loss of representation for regional bodies and technical activities groups. When their effects were fully understood, they were reversed following a grassroots campaign which used the IET democratic mechanisms. The IET president’s position became untenable and he resigned.

    The IEEE is doing better – we are having a full discussion before the vote on the constitutional changer


  3. This is a worrying trend. The IEEE increasingly defines itself as a supplier of products to customers. The IEEE is not a supplier of product, it is a support for the enterprises of a profession. Without its professional members the IEEE and its Societies have little to offer. We work together to define standards, to structure curriculum to distill and curate knowledge through peer review and publication, as well as via our electronic resources and conferences.

    I urge other members of the IEEE to support Jim in this opposition to change in the governance of our Society.

    Arnold Pears
    IEEE Senior Member
    Computer Society Board of Governors member 2012-14.


  4. I have been involved with-in numerous non-profits, such as professional associations, alumni assoc, educational griups [ universities and social benefit].
    At some stage it becomes clear that most have ONE primary purpos: protect the benefits of the staff to the detriment of volunteers and membership.

    Staff power [and expense] is already too much at IEEE – it must not be embedded in the constitution.
    [many who have watched will know that the change started when Wall Street/ finance business collapsed some years ago.]

    We MUST keep control of the IEEE with technical and member benefit prime. The ED does NOT belong in the BOD.

    The actions of the board and staff while not illegal have likely been very self serving in the last decade or so.

    The fish rots from the head. The IEEE rot began some years ago – BUT there is still time to reverse that, and revert the IEEE to being a members benefit entity. Only.


  5. Enrique H. Ruspini (Past Member of BOD, Past President of the Neural Networks Council (now Computational Intelligence Society, Past Chair, TAB Nominations and Awards Committee) says:

    I add my voice to that of those opposing this ill-though and power-grabbing amendment. I urge all to vote NO!


  6. It is difficult for me to support this amendment without seeing the changes that will be made to the By Laws. This may be a reasonable change to the IEEE constitution, but without knowing the extent of the changes that will occur, I do not support what I do not understand.


  7. Harold Flescher - Past IEEE Treasurer, Past TAB VP, Past TAB Treasurer, Past Society President says:

    There are several points I’d make for my opposition to passing this Constitutional Amendment.
    1. Today a vote of the IEEE membership is required to make the changes suggested, like separating the Director and Delegate positions. This amendment takes the approval from the hands of the members and gives it to the Board of Directors (BoD). We should defeat this amendment and keep the membership responsible for huge changes like the ones quoted.
    2. No one knows the real effects of these changes because there is no complete set of new bylaws to review. Why would we amend the IEEE Constitution until we know what the effects will be.
    3. The quoting of Boardsource in many presentations implies that a smaller BoD is better, and the discussions we have seen shows a BoD of 12 people. This isn’t a complete discussion of the analysis BoardSource provided. BoardSource also says that a smaller BoD tends to be more staff driven! This amendment also puts our staff lead, the COO, on the BoD as a voting member. IEEE has always been a membership/volunteer driven society. We are hugely successful because of this, and those crying that “the sky is falling” have no data that indicates that this is true. Having a smaller BoD with the COO on it will denigrate the ability of the members and volunteers to be the primary drivers of decision-making in IEEE.
    4 There are, in reality, only 2 critically important parts of IEEE – Technical Activities (the technical societies) and Member and Geographic Activities (MGA) (I don’t ignore Standards Association but they have their own membership separate from IEEE members). Today these two organizations are 70% of the BoD as they should be since they have all of the members of IEEE. With the changes being discussed they will have no defined role on the new BoD, yet they are the only organizations that directly represent the members of IEEE. This is insane.

    I hope you will join me in voting NO to the Constitutional Amendment.


  8. There are may compelling reasons to oppose the constitutional changes, to include having the ED a member of the BOD, a structure that fails to assure appropriate representation across technical and geographical interests, and a drastic reduction in transparency with respect to the operations and financial realities of IEEE. This proposal should be soundly and overwhelmingly defeated!


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