Proposed Amendment #5 - Add text “If more than three AIW’s are eligible…”

Update 6/14: The board incorporated this amendment

Proposer: Cynthia Landrum, First Parish Church of Stow and Acton, Stow, MA

Text of amendment to the Rules of Procedure:


An Action of Immediate Witness (AIW) is, per Bylaw 4.16(b), a statement about a significant action, event, or development in the world that needs immediate engagement and action from UU member congregations and groups. The process for submitting an AIW, including criteria for eligibility, is set by the Commission on Social Witness (CSW) and published online: New Actions of Immediate Witness (AIW) Proposals.

Per the UUA Bylaws, up to three AIWs can be considered by the General Assembly. [If more than three proposed AIWs are eligible, the CSW will select which three to put forward for consideration by the Assembly.] If more than three AIW’s are eligible for consideration under the CSW’s criteria, delegates vote to prioritize proposed Actions of Immediate Witness in a poll accessed through the delegate platform. Delegates can vote for up to three Proposed Actions of Immediate Witness, and can vote at any time while the poll is open. If such a poll is required and the CSW has not already conducted it prior to the start of General Assembly, the poll will be conducted during General Assembly. In that case, the poll opens during General Assembly and closes at 7:00 AM PT on Friday, June 24, 2022. The three proposed Actions of Immediate Witness that receive the most votes through the poll will be eligible to be added to the Final Agenda in General Session.

Rationale: The delegates have for many years been the ones to chose which AIWs to admit to the final agenda. This rules change would change our rules back to the rules used in 2021 (with adjusted dates and language for the delegate platform), and are consistent with the last several years before this, as well.

I do not support this amendment. I see the intent here to not diffuse the AIW process, but the details of this proposal would cause some serious problems at this year’s upcoming GA with regards to timing and execution of the business at hand.
– Juan Carlos Flores, UU Church of Long Beach, CA

I discussed the timing prior to making the amendment with folks at the UUA, and they adjusted the language so that this was not the case. This timing will work fine.

It is, however, the case that the CSW will probably hold a poll whether this amendment would pass or not, and that poll may have happened before we would actually vote on the amendment, rendering it moot. But in that case, it does no harm. But if they don’t hold the poll, then this would lock them into the need to hold one at GA. This would not need to take time out of General Session or slow things down in any way.

As a long time writer and promoter of AIWs, this amendment is sorely needed. The delegates are supposed to be the gatekeepers, not the CSW. The CSW could make recommendations to the writers of AIWs as to appropriateness, formatting, possible co-sponsors / writers, and other improvements, but should leave it to the delegates to select the top 3. And with modern technology, there is no need for the CSW to narrow it to 6. However, rather than “vote for 3”, it would be better for each delegate to rank their top 3 choices, with the top choice getting 3 tallies, the next 2 tallies, and the third 1 tally. Then AIWs with the top 3 tally totals would be selected for the final 2/3 vote.

The Rules of Procedure as amended by this amendment received significant support and was adopted by the General Assembly. Discussion is now closed.