Mary Beth West
Mary Beth West

The last of five proposed PRSA national bylaw amendments has been released by authors Mary Beth West and Susan Hart.

The current bylaw simply calls for PRSA to operate exclusively as a not-for-profit trade association. West and Hart propose a sentence be added to the bylaw mandating that PRSA is a nonpartisan organization.

The working definition of “nonpartisan” they seek to use for purposes of the bylaw amendment means not biased or partisan; free from party affiliation or designation, especially toward any particular political group.

“PRSA should not and cannot be—or be perceived to be—a political organization of any type or an organization representing a particular group of political ideology like-mindedness,” they say.

Hart and West cite three incidents as spurring the proposal. One was a series of social media posts by a PRSA official that they say were possible violations of PRSA’s social media policy. The same official is also said to have explicitly condemned the Trump administration while speaking in an official role with the organization.

In addition, they say the PRSA promoted a political survey from USC-Annenberg, a $30,000 PRSA sponsor, on its social and in-house media. Hart and West say that survey has an obvious partisan slant.

As is the case with the first four proposed bylaw amendments, this one requires 25 signatures from PRSA members in good standing in order to be advanced to the PRSA Governance Committee.