International Research Committee on Disasters
and Legal Status
Part 1: Evolution of the IRCD By-Laws
The first set of by-laws was approved in 1984. However, as a result of International Sociological Association (ISA)
requirements, formal and informal IRCD Board approvals, and institutionalization of traditional procedures, a number of
changes occurred in the initial by-laws. These changes were written by E. L. Quarantelli, President of the IRCD,
The by-laws were first printed in 1988 (and reprinted exactly the same in 1995). Unfortunately, and for reasons
unknown, the 1988 statement did not include all the changes made between 1984 and 1988 and of course could not include
changes made since 1988. This 2007 revision of the IRCD by-laws was drafted by E. L. Quarantelli and approved by the
sitting Executive Committee.
Part 2: By-Laws of the IRCD, including all updates through 2007
1. The governing body of the IRCD is a Board consisting of eight members (five elected ones—the IRCD President,
the Vice President, and three at large members: the appointed IRCD Secretary-Treasurer; and two ex-officio
members—the previous term President and the previous Secretary-Treasurer).
2. The Board has the general responsibility of approving the policies of the Committee, oversee its collective
activities, and otherwise undertake such actions as are necessary for the operation of the Committee.
3. Board advice may be given and decisions may be reached at meetings where at least five board members are present
and/or through mail or electronic communications among all Board members.
4. The President of the Committee is responsible for calling and for chairing Board meetings, as well as representing
the Committee in its relationship with other groups including the ISA, the carrying out such other activities as
recommended by the Board, the setting up and monitoring of standing (e.g., the IRCD award committees) and ad hoc IRCD
committees, as well as all other activities not specifically enumerated in the by-laws as are necessary for the functioning
of the Committee.
5. The President of the Committee, in consultation with other Board members, will fill any vacancies in Board
membership created by death, incapacitation, resignation, or other inability of any incumbent to carry out his or her
6. The Vice President of the Committee, upon getting Board approval, will assume the responsibilities of the IRCD
President in the case of the death, incapacitation, resignation, or other inability of the incumbent to act as President.
7. The Secretary-Treasurer of the Committee, appointed by the IRCD President after consultation with the Board, will
maintain the membership rolls of the Committee, accept dues and gifts, hold all IRCD funds, and otherwise be responsible for
such administrative matters of the Committee as requested by the IRCD President and/or determined by the Board. Any
single payment from IRCD funds by the Secretary-Treasurer of over $250 (USA) requires a confirming agreement by the IRCD
President. As indicated in #16 below, the Secretary-Treasurer ought to provide a report at least every two years in
the IRCD newsletter.
8. Board members serve for a four year term until the next election of Board members. All, except the incumbent
IRCD President who can never be reelected, are eligible for reelection, up to eight years. Board members, according
to ISA rules, must be paid up members of both the ISA and the IRCD and cannot assume office until the ISA confirms their
9. Ex officio members, who for whatever reason cannot or will not carry out their role, will not be replaced
and their Board office will be left vacant.
10. The IRCD President, after consultation with the Board, will be responsible for obtaining nominations for the next
election, for arranging the slate of candidates (and insuring representations from the diversity of the IRCD generally),
counting the votes (electronically, if possible), and otherwise insuring that the election is a valid one.
11. Only individual members of the Committee who have fully paid their dues for the year in which the election is held
are eligible to be nominated for Board offices and to vote in the election.
12. Organizational members of the Committee cannot be elected to the Board or vote in Committee elections.
13. Benefits that organizational members can get from membership are determined by the IRCD President after
consultation with the Board.
14. Dues and qualifications for individual and organizational memberships are to be set by the IRCD President and the
IRCD Secretary-Treasurer after consultation with the Board.
15. The IRCD should have a newsletter (electronic if possible) to be distributed on a regular basis to all IRCD
members. Its editor is appointed by the IRCD President after consultation with the Board.
16. The overall content of the newsletter is at the discretion of its editor. However, the IRCD President ought
to use the newsletter regularly to report Board activity as well as other information of relevance to IRCD members. At
least every two years, the IRCD Secretary-Treasurer should provide for publication a general public accounting of all funds
obtained and expenditures incurred by the IRCD during that time period (for more details on what ought to be provided, see
Volume 18, May 2000, of Unscheduled Events).
17. The relationship of the Committee to any other publication, such as a professional journal, monograph series, or
electronic Web site, etc., should be individually negotiated by the IRCD President after consultation with the
Board. However, the IRCD Board is the Advisory Board of the IRCD journal, the International Journal of Mass
Emergencies and Disasters with its editor being selected by the IRCD President after consultation with the IRCD
18. All Board recommendations and decisions are subject to review at a general meeting of individual Committee
members provided a majority of individual members are present.
19. Only individual IRCD members who are in good standing are eligible to present matters for Board consideration.
20. Changes in committee by-laws can be made by a majority of Board members subject to a supporting majority vote by
all eligible individual Committee members. A change does not become effective until both majority votes occur.
Part 3: Standing Committees of the IRCD
There are three standing committees and each oversees the giving of awards.
1. The Charles E. Fritz Award for Career Achievements in the Social Science Disaster Area. It is given for
significant and numerous contributions to the disaster area such as the conducting of research, publications, policy
development as well as providing of major input into the professional developments of the field. The intent of the
IRCD is to recognize major and notable career achievements over a lifetime.
The Board of the IRCD is the award subcommittee and is the final judge in selecting an award winner. It is given
every four years at the ISA World Congress of Sociology.
2. The E. L. Quarantelli Award for Social Science Disaster Theory. It is given in recognition of notable and
significant theoretical work by social and behavioral scientists in the disaster area. The intent in giving this
award is to encourage the international development of theory relevant to disaster phenomena.
A committee of five disaster researchers appointed by the IRCD President considers nominations for the award. It
can be given every two years and requires a lecture by the award winner at some professional meeting.
3. The Samuel H. Prince Award for a Doctoral Dissertation on a Disaster Topic in the Social and Behavioral
Sciences. It is given in recognition for initial and notable accomplishments by disaster researchers in the social
and behavioral sciences. The intent in giving this award is to encourage the early identification of exceptional
research talent, to the extent it can be indicated by a doctoral dissertation.
A committee of five disaster researchers appointed by the IRCD President review nominations for this award and select a
final winner. It can be given every year. For more specific details on the particular requirements for each
award and procedures that need to be followed by each committee see the IRCD newsletter, Unscheduled Events,
Volume 18, November 2000.
Part 4: Legal Status of the IRCD
In 2000, the IRCD established a fully legal corporate identity and tax-exempt status in the United States. Since
then it has been a 501(c)(3) tax exempt corporation under U.S. law. The non-profit status of the IRCD was confirmed
in a document from the U.S. Internal Revenue service in May 2000, held by each Secretary-Treasurer.
The incorporation was done to provide IRCD officers legal protection against personal law suits in their position as
officers, to allow anyone giving a gift to the IRCD to receive formal acknowledgement of the gift for U.S. income tax
deduction purposes, and to exempt the IRCD from certain taxes on some incomes that it receives. Also, as a corporate
entity, the IRCD can own property (e.g., its Web site server currently located at Millersville University is owned by the
IRCD) and receive royalties (e.g., all royalties from Xlibris that prints the IRCD book series go exclusively to the
In line with the incorporation the IRCD acknowledges the following with respect to the IRS Code:
Said committee is organized exclusively for charitable, religious, educational, and scientific purposes, including, for
such purposes, the making of distributions to organizations that qualify as exempt organizations under section 501(c)(3) of
the Internal Revenue Code, or corresponding section of any future federal tax code.
No part of the net earnings of the committee shall inure to the benefit of, or be distributable to its members, trustees,
officers, or other private persons, except that the committee shall be authorized and empowered to pay reasonable
compensation for services rendered and to make payments and distributions in furtherance of the purposes set forth in
Article 25 hereof. No substantial part of the activities of the committee shall be the carrying on of propaganda, or
otherwise attempting to influence legislation, and the committee shall not participate in, or intervene in (including the
publishing or distribution of statements) any political campaign on behalf of or in opposition to any candidate for public
office. Notwithstanding any other provision of these articles the committee shall not carry on any other activities
not permitted to be carried on (a) by a committee exempt from federal income tax under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal
Revenue Code, or corresponding section of any future federal tax code, or (b) by a corporation, contributions to which are
deductible under section 170(c)(2) of the Internal Revenue Code, or corresponding section of any future federal tax
Upon the dissolution of the committee, assets shall be distributed for one or more exempt purposes within the meaning of
section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, or corresponding section of any future federal tax code, or shall be
distributed to the federal government, or to a state or local government, for a public purpose. Any such assets not so
disposed of shall be disposed of by the Court of Common Pleas of the county in which the principle office of the committee
is then located, exclusively for such purposes or to such organization or organizations, as said Court shall determine,
which are organized and operated exclusively for such purposes.