An Early Edition of the Society’s Governing Documents

The Society for Creative Anachronism is governed by a collection of documents known as the Organizational Handbook, which includes both the bylaws of the modern-day not-for-profit corporation (SCA, Inc.) and the policies that govern the “in-game” historical re-creation activities and the volunteer bureaucracy that supports it (“Corpora”).

These documents emerged incrementally over the first decade of the Society, as the initial leadership established a structure for the organization. Bylaws were established in 1969 and supplemented over the following years by a body of decisions made by the Board referred to as Corpora. By 1979 the framework had taken on a recognizable form organized along similar lines to the rules we use today.

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Society Membership Trends

During a recent discussion of levels of Society participation, I was asked about long-term trends in overall membership numbers.

As it happens, I had previously extracted some of the relevant figures from other sources — some of which showed up in a post about kingdom-level breakdowns — but hadn’t gotten around to publishing the older numbers here, because the data is incomplete and would benefit from additional review and cleanup.

That said, even if the specific numbers are taken with a grain of salt, the overall pattern shown here is likely of interest to others, so I might as well share this as a work-in-progress.

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In Support of the East Kingdom Rapier Crown Variance

Earlier this month, the East Kingdom’s royals submitted a request for a variance that would allow the Spring 2024 crown tournament to be determined via a rapier contest rather than rattan armored combat as has been the practice for the last five decades.

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Corporate and Society Inclusion Offices

The Board is soliciting feedback on a change to the governing documents that would affect DEIB efforts.

It looks like they are both creating a DEIB Society Officer (who would coordinate in-game kingdom and local DEIB offices), and separating that office from the Corporate Office of Inclusive Programs (which would be focused on corporate and Board support).

I’m glad they seem to be taking these efforts seriously, although of course the devil is in the details.

Lowering the Bar for Confirmation of New Board Members

At the July quarterly Board meeting, a proposal was made to reduce the requirement of unanimous support for new directors to unanimous-minus-one, and the membership was asked for feedback on the idea.

This seems like a small step in the right direction — for many years that there has been a concern that the Board was too insular and insufficiently responsive to new ideas from the populace, and allowing any sitting member to unilaterally veto a candidate makes change extremely difficult.

I think more sweeping changes are needed, but we shouldn’t let a quest for revolutionary utopia throw up hurdles to incremental improvement, so I’ve written to the Board in support of the proposal.

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An SCA Governance Org Chart

While working up some feedback on a draft Society policy document, I noticed a reference to the SCA’s “Corporate Officers” and was reminded of the fact that I didn’t have a clear understanding of the distinction between Corporate Officers, Society Officers, and other members of the organization’s central leadership team — categories that I would like to be able to explain to folks here in my local branch.

I posted in the SCA’s “unofficial” Facebook group and soon had useful pointers from Cormac Mór and John the Bearkiller.

As I should have guessed, the answers can be found in a careful reading of the Society’s Governing Documents. The SCA, Inc corporate officers are listed in the Corporate Bylaws paragraph VII.A.1, while the Society officers are listed in Corpora section VI.

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Three Black Directors Resigned from the SCA’s Board In Six Months

During a period of half a year, three members of the Society’s Board of Directors resigned in succession. Resignations from the Board are not unknown, but they are uncommon; I believe the last one before these three was around a decade ago.

The reasons in each case were different, and I am not aware of any overall narrative that ties them all together, but it is notable (and unfortunate) that in a Society that is overwhelmingly white but struggling to be more inclusive, all three of the directors who resigned were Black.

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Ansteorran Prince Removed After Problematic Overture

On the last weekend of August, the Crown Prince of Ansteorra (the SCA kingdom that covers Oklahoma and most of Texas) attended the coronation of the new prince and princess of the kingdom of Álendia. The Ansteorran Prince was there as an invited guest, honored as a visiting royal, and made a short speech to “extend an olive branch” to their populace.

Society royals visit other kingdoms all the time, but Álendia isn’t part of the SCA — it’s the sole kingdom of SMA, the Society of the Middle Ages, a splinter group formed in 2021 by folks who felt the SCA was “too woke.” While there are some interesting elements in their organization, the primary difference is one of modern politics: SMA is a haven for MAGA folks, including anti-maskers, Euro-centrists, and those whose racism, misogyny, homophobic, or anti-trans bias leaves them out of synch with the SCA’s efforts to be more inclusive. Notably, among its earliest members are a number of people who were sanctioned or kicked out of the SCA via an R&D (Revocation of Membership and Denial of Participation), as well as their sympathizers.

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From the Archives: A Prejudiced History of the SCA’s Board, 1969–1981

The attached document, written in 1985, reflects the impressions and opinion of Duke Siegfried von Höflichskeit, an influential co-founder of the SCA. (Although labeled as covering the period from 1969 to 1985, the narrative in this draft ends in 1981, and the author has confirmed he never completed or revised it.)

It’s archived on the West’s history site, but in an awkward format, as a scanned stack of typewritten pages; I’ve converted it to plain text below for ease of reading.

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The SCA Liability Waiver Was Changed in December 2021

TL;DR: The SCA made minor changes to the standard liability waiver agreement we use at events and practices, removing a couple of clauses and tweaking the punctuation.

In the course of this update, an error was introduced in the roster form that garbled the meaning of one of the sentences, but because the populace hadn’t been notified of the change, people didn’t look closely at the new form, and the error went uncorrected for more than a year and a half.

At the end of December 2021, the SCA relocated its corporate office for the first time in decades, shifting from Milpitas CA to San Jose, about five miles south. As a result, the mailing address shown on a variety of standard forms and documents had to be updated, including some that hadn’t been changed in more than twenty years.

Apparently this update to the forms was also viewed as an opportunity to revise the wording of the SCA’s liability waiver, a standard document used at nearly every Society event and practice, in which participants agree not to sue the SCA or its officers for any harm they experience at the event. This agreement doesn’t change often; the version that had been on the website prior to that point contained metadata indicating that it was converted to PDF in 1998 by Rabah az-Zafar.

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