Minutes of the ACAL 55 Business meeting

Held in person at McGill University on March 4, 2024, with 27 people initially attending, and 44 by mid-meeting time.

Laura Downing, outgoing ACAL President, profusely thanked Martina Martinović and her McGill team for their organization of ACAL-55. She then introduced the EC team of ACAL (Association for Cotemporary African Linguistics), and sketched some possible future improvements to the ACAL web site, such as a new Membership platform on the website and allowing credit card payment. She reviewed the history of the founding of the ACAL association 10 years ago, and recognized outgoing Treasurer Sharon Rose and Secretary Mike Cahill’s service for that entire time. Deborah Morton (attending by Zoom) was introduced as the new Secretary.

Sharon Rose gave a brief oral financial report (full report is appended) recognizing new Lifetime members, noting that dues have not risen in 10 years, that this year we have gotten $175 more income than expenses, and introducing Chris Green as the new Treasurer,

Term limit vote

Our original Bylaws did not specify term limits for Secretary and Treasurer, so the proposed change (bolded below, and previously approved by at least 10 voting members) was “The Executive Committee shall appoint one member of the Association to serve as Secretary and one member to serve as Treasurer, for a term of five years each. This appointment may be renewable for one additional year.” This was passed overwhelmingly.

EC and VP vote

Laura Downing thanked retiring EC member Galen Sibanda for his term as EC member. Michael Obiri-Yeboah was nominated as a new EC member. No other nominations were offered from the floor, and Michael was elected by acclamation (“Everyone is happy,” it was said).

A new Vice-President was due to be elected this year. Laura McPherson was nominated, and with no other nominations, was elected by acclamation.

At this point, Laura Downing officially stepped down as ACAL President, with appreciative applause, and James Essegbey, as incoming President, took over to chair the meeting. He gave an entertaining tribute to Laura Downing, likening her to rescuing him from being “easy-going.” He outlined some vision for future ACALs, including helping grad students financially more.  He also thanked the outgoing EC team.

Proceedings volumes

For ACAL 51-52 Proceedings (University of Florida), James Essegbey reported that they are in the midst of the crowdsourcing proofing stage of our publisher Language Science Press.

For the ACAL 53 Proceedings, Sharon Rose reported that they have finished their proofing, but are in a later stage of the LSP process, one they didn’t anticipate. Both of these sets of Proceedings are expected to be out by the end of 2024.

For ACAL 54 (University of Connecticut) we had no report.

The ACAL 55 Proceedings will have a due date of August 31 for initial submission, along with an appeal for reviewers.

James Essegbey thanked Michael Diercks and his students for their assistance in  preparing the LaTeX formatting that LSP requires for the ACAL 51-52 Proceedings. There is a possibility of having a LATeX workshop at next year’s ACAL.

Future conference locations

We are grateful to have future hosts lined up for the next few years, unlike some past situations. The 2025 ACAL will be at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities under Claire Halpert, on May 15-17, with an early submission date for Africans (possibly June) which may help in timing for visa applications. In 2026 ACAL will be at the University of Buffalo in collaboration with Syracuse and Rochester, with Jeff Good and Chris Green heading this. In 2027 ACAL will return to Georgetown University under Ruth Kramer. In 2028, looking quite far ahead, ACAL could come to Toronto (Juvenal Ndayiragije).

Discussion from floor

Ken Olson asked about the relation between Overleaf and LATeX, asking about the possibility of an institutional subscription to Overleaf. Chris Green responded that there is an “institutional membership” to Overleaf and he will investigate this.

Finally, James Essegbey raised the question of a “quota” for ACAL submissions, such as the total number of abstracts submitted. This generated several responses. An abstract-writing workshop was suggested. A division of labeling abstracts as either “descriptive” or “formal,” with an equitable division between these, was a possible suggestion. Or African vs. non-African. There was quite a low acceptance rate this year, due to the large number of submissions. This needs more discussion, and also connects to the hybrid option for attendance.

Respectfully submitted,

Mike Cahill, outgoing ACAL Secretary


2023-24 ACAL Financial Report

May 3, 2024

Prepared by Sharon Rose, Treasurer

Carry forward (August 31, 2022)                               $12797.08


3 lifetime memberships x $400                      $ 1200.00
26 x $25 memberships                                          650.00
55 x $15 memberships                                          825.00
Amazon Smile                                                          40.75
total                                                      2715.75

Statement of Information (State of CA)         $ 40.00
Registration renewal (State of CA)                125.00
PayPal charges                                                    115.03
LinguistList payments (multiple years)        1860.00
Conference payment (UConn)                        1000.00
total                                        3140.03

Total revenue 2020-21                                      -$424.28

Balance (August 31, 2023) $12372.80

Sept. 1, 2023-May 1, 2024 – Summary so far for this year

3 lifetime memberships x $400                      $1200.00
1 lifetime Africa membership x$200                   200.00
27 x $25 memberships                                         650.00
58 x $15 memberships                                         870.00
Total $2920.00

Conference hosting UConn (extra)                   1000.00
Conference hosting McGill                               1500.00
SiteGround for web hosting (annual)               85.75
PayPal charges                                                     157.45
Total expenses $2743.20

Total revenue (2023-24)                                        $ 176.80

Balance as of May 1, 2024                      $12 549.60

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