The history of women of African descent at Wellesley began over 125 years ago. The College's records show the first alumna of African descent in the Class of 1887. The 1960s saw the arrival of a critical mass of students and the first student organization for women of African descent, Ethos. As the diversity of women on campus has grown, so have their organizations to include Wellesley African Students' Association and Women for Caribbean Development (preceded by the Caribbean Students Association). Harambee House has served as a gathering place for four decades.
The Evolution of Ethos and Harambee House is a detailed history covering events and milestones from 1966 - 2002. (PDF)
The Basis of Our Ethos, which chronicles the founding of Ethos, is the cover article of the spring 2008 issue of Wellesley magazine. (PDF)
Wellesley Alumnae of African Descent
Approved by member vote September 1, 2010
ARTICLE I - NAME AND PURPOSE
The name of the organization will be Wellesley Alumnae of African Descent (WAAD). The purpose of WAAD shall be to strengthen the connection of alumnae of African descent to each other, the College, and current as well as prospective students. WAAD supplements the connections of Wellesley College Alumnae Association (WCAA) Clubs and Classes.
ARTICLE II - MEMBERSHIP AND COMPOSITION
Section 1. Active Members. Any alumna of Wellesley College, as defined by the WCAA Bylaws, who is of African descent is considered an active member of Wellesley Alumnae of African Descent, unless she notifies the WCAA office otherwise. Any alumna of Wellesley College who is not of African descent but principally identifies with the experience of people of African descent may be an active member of WAAD upon request.
Section 2. Honorary Members. Any person nominated for honorary membership by the Governing Board of WAAD may become an honorary member upon election by a two-thirds majority of the votes cast by formal ballot by the membership. Honorary members are non-voting members of WAAD.
ARTICLE III - GOVERNING BOARD AND OFFICERS
Section 1. Governing Board Composition. The administration and general management of WAAD will be vested in a Governing Board, composed of elected officers and regional representatives. The Governing Board shall be no less than 12 and no more than 18 members.
Section 2. Qualifications and Tenure of Governing Board Members. Any person who is an active member of WAAD may serve on the Governing Board. Governing Board members shall serve for a three-year term. No governing board member may serve more than two full terms in the same position.
Section 3. Officers. WAAD officers shall be a President, Vice President for Communications, Vice President for Membership, Vice President for Programs, Secretary and Treasurer.
Section 4. Duties of Officers
a. President. The President will provide the executive leadership to the organization. The President shall call and preside over meetings of the governing board and the membership. She shall keep herself informed of College and WCAA activities and policies and ensure the information is disseminated appropriately to WAAD. She acts as a liaison between WAAD and the WCAA and submits an annual report of the organization’s activities to the WCAA office as required. In consultation with the Governing Board, she shall appoint the chairs of all committees. She shall serve ex officio on all committees, except the nominating committee.
b. Vice President for Programs. The Vice President for Programs oversees the program activities of the organization in furtherance of its mission and purpose. She works closely with regional and local representatives to plan and implement WAAD programs. She maintains a calendar of activities and provides this information to the Vice President of Communications for inclusion in appropriate communications vehicles. The Vice President for Programs fulfills the duties of the president in her absence.
c. Vice President for Membership. The Vice President for Membership is responsible for promoting and enhancing the participation of members in WAAD through creative and effective member recruitment, tracking, and engagement initiatives. In addition, she will be responsible for board development. Activities will include but not be limited to the cultivation of graduating seniors, outreach to lost members, maintenance of a comprehensive networking directory of active members, and development of tangible membership benefits.
d. Vice President for Communications. The Vice President for Communications oversees the organization’s communication vehicles, including websites; newsletters, emails and/or blogs. She prepares and submits WAAD notes for the Wellesley magazine. She works with the other Governing Board members to collect and appropriately disseminate information about WAAD, the College, WCAA, and campus activities.
e. Secretary. The Secretary shall preserve all minutes, notices and copies of communications, publications and documents of importance to WAAD. She shall oversee the Governing Board election process.
f. Treasurer. The Treasurer shall oversee all WAAD financial matters, including dues, gifts, bank accounts, investments, reimbursements and fundraising efforts. She shall prepare and submit periodic financial statements and an annual financial report to the President, Governing Board and the WCAA Office and shall file appropriate tax forms, as required by the IRS.
Section 6. Regional Representatives. Regional Representatives to the Governing Board shall be elected by a majority vote of WAAD members residing in the region. The Regional Representative shall be the liaison between the Governing Board and the members in the region and, at a minimum, shall promote WAAD, help plan and implement activities, and facilitate communication among members, WCAA clubs and others in the region. The Governing Board shall determine the number and boundaries of the regions and shall make adjustments in the regions when necessary.
Section 7. Resignation and Removal. Any WAAD Governing Board member may resign with a written resignation delivered to the President and Secretary of the organization. Such resignation is effective upon receipt unless it is specified to be effective at a later time. Any WAAD Governing Board member may be removed, with or without cause, by affirmative vote of all other members of the Governing Board. The Governing Board shall have the authority to fill any vacancies for the remainder of the term.
ARTICLE IV - COMMITTTEES
Section 1. Standing Committees. There shall be the following standing committees:
a. Nominating Committee. It shall be the duty of this committee to nominate a slate of candidates for officers and regional representatives. The President in consultation with the Governing Board shall appoint the chair of the Nominating Committee.
b. National Programs Committee. The Vice President for Programs shall chair the National Programs Committee. It is the duty of the committee to plan and implement national programs and activities and to share best practices for programs among the regions.
c. Finance Committee. The Treasurer shall chair the Finance Committee. The Finance Committee will be responsible for financial oversight of WAAD, including preparation of budgets and review of any required financial reports or audits of WAAD.
Section 2. Special Committees. The President in consultation with the Governing Board may appoint special committees and designate their purpose and term.
ARTICLE V - MEETINGS
Section 1. Governing Board Meetings. The Governing Board shall meet at least twice a year either in person or by telephone. Telephone conference calls are a valid substitute for meetings in person. Meetings of the Governing Board shall be held whenever called by the President or any other officer. Two-thirds of the Governing Board shall constitute a quorum.
Section 2. WAAD Meetings. There shall be one meeting of WAAD annually. Meetings may be in person or by electronic or other virtual means.
Section 3. Special Meetings and Resolutions. The Governing Board may call special meetings, to be held whenever and wherever it designates or may instead submit resolutions to WAAD members by mail (including electronic mail). Both require the Secretary to mail a notice of the board’s action to WAAD members before the meeting. In the case of a special meeting, the notice shall state the meeting’s time, place and purpose; in the case of a meeting by mail, the notice shall be accompanied by a ballot and shall set forth the text of each resolution, briefly stating its effect and purpose. The notice must be mailed to WAAD members at least 30 days before: a) the date of the meeting or b) the date by which completed ballots must be received in order to be counted.
Section 4. Quorum. One-tenth of the living members of WAAD shall constitute a quorum for regular and special meetings. A simple majority is required for passage.
Article VI - NOMINATIONS AND ELECTIONS
Section 1. Nominations. The Nominating Committee shall nominate a slate of candidates for officers and regional representatives. Nominations for officers may also be made by at least 15 members of WAAD and submitted to the Nominations Committee at least 30 days before the election is scheduled to take place. Nominations for regional representatives may also be made by at least 5 members of WAAD in the region and submitted to the Nominations Committee at least 30 days before the election is scheduled to take place. The complete list of candidates shall be posted before the election is held.
Section 2. Elections. All officers shall be elected by a plurality of all votes cast. All regional representatives shall be elected by a plurality of votes cast by WAAD members residing in the region.
ARTICLE VII - FINANCES
Section 1. Dues. Annual dues shall be set by the Governing Board each year after a review of the organization’s proposed programs and finances. As WAAD must be self-supporting, all members are encouraged to be financially supportive. Payment of dues is not a requirement for membership.
Section 2. Fiscal Year. The fiscal year of this organization shall coincide with the WCAA’s July 1-June 30 fiscal year.
Section 3. Contributions. The opportunity to contribute generally to WAAD or to specific projects of WAAD is available at any time. The Governing Board may establish special designations to recognize financial contributors.
Section 4. Bank Accounts. All bank accounts shall stand in the name of WAAD with funds payable on order of the Treasurer or President whose signatures shall be kept on file with the bank. A record of all account numbers and locations shall be supplied to the WCAA Office to be kept in the permanent WAAD file.
ARTICLE VIII - COMPLIANCE WITH WCAA
To maintain the status as an Affinity Group of Wellesley College Alumnae Association and be officially recognized, WAAD must be renewed with the WCAA at the time and frequency determined by the WCAA. WAAD shall comply with all requirements established by the WCAA for Affinity Group renewals and operations.
ARTICLE IX - LIMITATIONS
Section 1. Purpose. The organization is organized and shall be operated exclusively for charitable and educational purposes as a supporting organization of the Wellesley College Alumnae Association.
Section 2. Activities. WAAD shall not circulate propaganda or otherwise attempt to influence legislation, nor shall it participate in, or intervene in, any political campaign on behalf of a candidate for public office (including the publishing or distributing of statements). WAAD shall not perform any other activities not permitted by (a) a corporation exempt from federal income tax under section 501 (c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954 (or the corresponding provision of any future United States internal revenue law) or (b) a corporation, contributions to which are deductible under section 170 (c) (2) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954 (or the corresponding provision of any future United States internal revenue law).
ARTICLE X – AMENDMENTS
This constitution may be amended at any business or special meeting provided that
1) Notice of the proposed amendment is provided to WAAD membership at least 30 days before the meeting at which action is to be taken, and
2) Two-thirds of the ballots cast favor the amendment.
ARTICLE XI – DISSOLUTION
If WAAD is not renewed by the WCAA or voluntarily is dissolved by its members, all of its net assets shall be distributed to the College to be used for a purpose specified in writing by the Governing Board at the time of dissolution.