The Autistic Self-Advocacy Network (ASAN)
Student Chapter at The Ohio State University
The goals of the Autistic Self-Advocacy Network (ASAN) are to advance the autistic culture movement and to improve the representation of the autistic community in public policy deliberations about autism and disability affairs. ASAN’s chapter at Ohio State seeks to provide opportunities for social and community involvement in and around the Columbus area.
ASAN is a non-profit organization run by and for autistic people. ASAN’s supporters include autistic adults and youth, those with other distinct neurological types, and neurotypical family members, professionals, educators, and friends. ASAN provides support and services to individuals on the autism spectrum. ASAN also works to change public perception and to combat misinformation by educating communities about persons on the autism spectrum. Our activities include public policy advocacy, community engagement to encourage inclusion and respect for neurodiversity, quality of life oriented research, and the development of autistic cultural activities and other opportunities for autistic people.
Discrimination against any individual based upon protected status, which is defined as age, color, disability, gender identity or expression, national origin, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, or veteran status, is prohibited.
- Membership is open to students enrolled in The Ohio State University, and 90% of the membership must be currently enrolled students. Meetings may be held in conjunction with the Central Ohio chapter of ASAN. Individuals must attend one meeting each quarter in order to be considered members. In order to be considered active members, individuals must attend 75% of the annual meetings.
- There will be three elected officers who serve yearlong terms—president, vice president, and treasurer. Nominations will be taken in the spring quarter of each year. Terms begin in autumn quarter and go through summer quarter. There are no term limits for any of the positions. Prior to election, candidates will speak with a board member of the national ASAN organization either by phone, email, or instant messenger. (It is important that any elected officer subscribe to the core beliefs of ASAN before serving in the student chapter: that is, officers must support the mission and goals of the neurodiversity movement. For example, ASAN is not a pro-cure organization and does not use functioning labels when referring to autistic people.)
- Once candidates have spoken with a board member from the national organization, selections will be made by a silent vote among the student chapter if there is more than one nomination for a specific position.
- Historically, non-autistic individuals have run autism organizations and have claimed to speak for autistic people. As a result, such organizations have often worked toward goals and ideals that are not representative of autistic people’s interests. ASAN is a self-advocacy organization that is run for and by autistic people. Non-autistic members are welcome and encouraged to join. However, whenever possible, autistic students must occupy the president and vice president positions. For the purposes of our ASAN chapter, autistic refers to individuals who identify with the autistic community. One does not need an official diagnosis in order to be considered autistic.
- If the student organization is unable to fill a president or vice president position with an autistic person, a non-autistic person (with proper vetting and approval from the national organization) may assume the role on an interim basis. In the case of the president position, it is recommended that elections be held every quarter until an autistic person assumes the position. It is also recommended that the student chapter work closely with the Central Ohio chapter.
- The members will all have the same voting power. Voting will be a majority vote. If there is a split vote, then the decision will be made by the president’s recommendation. Major issues or events (e.g., protests, letter-writing campaigns, guest speakers) should be discussed with a representative of the national organization.
President: Active in creating the schedule for the year; coordinates details of meetings and events; corresponds with representatives of the national organization; collaborates with the vice president, treasurer, and faculty advisor on grant applications; updates the website.
Vice President: Maintains the email list; corresponds with representatives of the national organization; assists in creating the annual schedule; assists with grant applications; updates the website.
Treasurer: Responsible for the maintenance of the checking account and all funds; reports to the president, vice president, advisor, and event committees; assists with grant applications.
Faculty Advisor: Must be a member of the faculty or professional staff; attends meetings when needed; maintains contact with officers and provides guidance for the organization.
** All officers are expected to maintain at least a 2.0 GPA on a 4.0 scale, in accordance with University rules for student leaders.
Revising the constitution.
This constitution needs to be discussed with the faculty advisor and approved by over two-thirds of all members. Any changes must be forwarded to the national organization.
The president has the right to dismiss any irresponsible project leader for any activity. The dismissal of the president, vice president, or treasurer should be nominated by at least three members and supported by over two-thirds of the committee members who attend committee meetings. The faculty advisor will oversee the process in order to ensure fairness.
Dissolving the organization.
The dissolution of the organization should be based on the voting of all members, and the number of votes necessary for dissolution must exceed three-fourths.