Mission Statement and Bylaws

Mission Statement and Bylaws

This version (edited on September 12th, 2023) was approved by the Yale Postdoctoral Association Executive Board on September 22th 2023.

1. Mission

The Yale Postdoctoral Association, hereafter referred to as the YPA, exists to support and enrich Yale’s mission in the pursuit of scholarship, education, preservation, and practice, through facilitating postdoctoral scholars at Yale University in their efforts toward the betterment of the University and society by:

  1. Acting as a liaison for postdoctoral scholars to the University and representing the interests of postdoctoral scholars to the Office for Postdoctoral Affairs (OPA) and to the Schools and Offices of Yale University.
  2. Supporting the professional development of postdoctoral scholars by connecting them to Yale University resources and enriching the available career development opportunities.
  3. Fostering connections between postdoctoral scholars to create a community at Yale University.
  4. Encouraging inclusion and diversity among all postdoctoral scholars at Yale University and advocating on their behalf to achieve a supportive and enriching environment.
  5. Strengthening the skills of postdoctoral scholars as both mentors and mentees by facilitating access to opportunities for mentorship training and experience.
  6. The YPA seeks to promote diversity and inclusion for all postdocs in YPA membership, leadership, and activities regardless of race, ethnicity, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, disability, national origin, religion, or socioeconomic, marital, or family status across all disciplines and departments at Yale.
  7. The YPA welcomes all individuals with other titles who had previously been working as a Postdoctoral Associate or Postdoctoral Fellow at Yale University, guests of current Yale postdocs, and guests of the YPA to participate in YPA events. However, current postdocs and Associate Research Scientist (ARS), or those in equivalent positions, have priority at events with limited space.

2. Membership

The YPA considers all individuals with the title of Postdoctoral Associate or Postdoctoral Fellow (hereafter referred to as postdocs) and Associate Research Scientists (hereafter referred to as ARS) at Yale University, entitled to be members of the YPA. Therefore, YPA membership is automatically granted to all postdocs and ARS at Yale. Individuals holding equivalent positions can also be granted YPA membership on a case by case basis. All YPA members are expected to abide by the YPA Code of Conduct described in section 8 when participating in YPA activities.

3. Organization

The governing body of the YPA shall be the YPA Executive Board, hereafter referred to as the Board. The Board shall oversee the creation and management of activities, partnerships, and overall vision of the YPA in accordance with its mission. The Board comprises all Committee Coordinators (two per Committee) and shall be overseen by two (2) Chairs and the Advisory Board. Committees may determine or define additional named positions and structure within their own committees.
The YPA shall be organized into the following working Committees:
  • Secretary

  • Advocacy

  • Belonging

  • Communication

  • Community and Networking

  • Mentorship

  • Professional Development

  • Symposium

  • Treasury

The names, aims, and activities of the roles and Committees above are defined in the following paragraphs.
Each YPA Committee shall have specific aims and its activities shall be overseen by the two (2) YPA Committee Coordinators. When elected, they shall hold the office for one calendar year (12 months) unless prevented by unforeseen circumstances. If deemed necessary, they may hold the office for more than one calendar year, but ideally no longer than 18 months. The Committee Coordinators, Treasurers and Chairs can create ad hoc positions and subcommittees to support the ongoing initiatives of their teams. The YPA Committee members are volunteers involved in initiatives and activities undertaken by a given YPA Committee.

3.1 Changes in the organizational structure

Ad hoc positions shall take the form of commissions, consultants, proxies, or assignees and shall be either standing or temporary as decided by the Board. To prevent the YPA structure from being too complex, and hard to manage, the creation of new committees should only be done when strictly necessary. As an alternative, temporary subcommittees can be created within the existing committees, to oversee special activities related to the committee’s mission. Coordinators of the hosting committees should supervise the activities of their subcommittees (i.e., attend subcommittee meetings or review meeting minutes). Funds from the hosting committees can be specifically allocated to its subcommittees, at the discretion of committee coordinators. Subcommittees can be dissolved in case their temporary activities are no longer being promoted.
Subcommittees can become formal subcommittees or independent committees within the YPA structure if their activities are likely to continue indefinitely or have substantially diverged from the activities promoted by their hosting committees. The decision to create a subcommittee or a new and independent committee should be based on the overlap in missions and members. The proposal to create a new committee or subcommittee should be announced at  least (1) one open forum, and a simple majority among voters in the Executive Board must be obtained for approving the creation of new, formal subcommittees or independent committees. However, preference should be given to incorporating the mission of a subcommittee as part of the mission of its hosting committee, adjusting the committee’s name to express the new mission. The subcommittee will be listed on the YPA website either within the hosting committee’s subpage or their own webpage, with a description of their own mission and board of members. Members of the subcommittee are considered members of the hosting committee. Subcommittees may have lead organizers’ who can oversee activities and provide updates on behalf of the subcommittee at the YPA Open Forum, however, these individuals will not be considered Board members. Ultimately the activities of a formal subcommittee must still be overseen and agreed upon by the coordinators of the hosting committee. Review of existing subcommittees should be undertaken once a year by their host committee Coordinators and the YPA Co-Chairs, at the same time as the annual Bylaw review in August or September, to confirm whether their activities and mission remain in line with subcommittee structure, warrant becoming a new committee, or dissolution if their activities are no longer being promoted.  
Two or more committees can be merged, combining their mission, and renaming the name of the new committee accordingly. Any change in the YPA structure should be made with the aim to make the YPA management more sustainable.

4. Roles

For all committees, it is the responsibility of coordinators to record, distribute (to the committee members) and store accurate records of committee meetings (meeting minutes). The YPA shared online repository should be used for long-term storage of meeting minutes (additional details can be found in the Executive Board Handbook).
For all committees, formal membership on the committee (i.e., listed on the website, etc.) can be obtained only once an individual has made a significant contribution to the committee. Attending at least 2 consecutive committee meetings and active participation (i.e. volunteering or showing willingness to take on roles/responsibility where necessary, or actively engaging in discussions with other members, both in meetings and other communication channels). After this level of commitment has been demonstrated, the coordinators will request to the Communications Committee that an individual is added to the committee webpage, and may also announce new members at the next Open Forum. Every 6 months (in line with chair/coordinator handover) coordinators should review their committee members and remove (from websites/communications channels) any members that are no longer active in the committee.

4.1. Chairs

The role of the Chairs is to lead the YPA in collaboration with the Board. Therefore, the responsibilities of the YPA Chairs are as follows:

  • Schedule with the Secretary Committee the YPA Open Forums and prepare and disseminate the agenda before the meetings.

  • Lead the YPA Open Forum and create a culture of inclusion by ensuring that all ideas and thoughts are represented.

  • Maintain a strong and active relationship with the Provost’s Office and the OPA.

  • Maintain active relationships with the Board.

  • Ensure suggestions, issues, and concerns brought to the YPA are discussed in the monthly YPA meetings.

  • Oversee the timely election of new Board Members.

  • Maintain the YPA email address by replying to emails or directing them to the appropriate YPA Committee in a timely manner.

  • Communicate at least once a month about upcoming events, activities, and partnerships with the organization.

  • Encourage active participation of postdocs and ARS in YPA Committees. 

  • Meet with the appropriate Committee Coordinators/Committees as and when required.

  • Encourage and facilitate the active participation of the YPA in the National Postdoctoral Association (NPA) in collaboration with the OPA. The chairs shall endeavor to keep up to date with respect to the activities of the NPA or have another YPA member responsible for reporting.

  • Schedule the Executive Board Bylaws Meeting to review and amend the Mission and the Bylaws of the YPA.

  • Ensure liaison positions are filled as specified in section 4.10 and that the current Advisory Board members are active.

4.2. Secretary Committee

The role of the Secretary Committees is to maintain records of the YPA’s activities, ensure that each YPA Open Forum progresses smoothly, and finalize both the meeting agenda and the meeting minutes for the forum. Additionally, committee members will assist other committees with room booking and maintaining the YPA committees records (e.g. meeting minutes, photos, documents) they will be the point of contact for coordination with Postdoctoral Associations at other Universities. To this end, the responsibilities of the YPA Secretary Committee are as follows:
  • Collect the proposed agendas from each Committee at least one (1) week before the YPA Open Forum and create a final meeting agenda which will be sent to the YPA chairs at least two (2) days before the monthly meeting.

  • Discuss the draft agendas for the YPA Open Forums with the Chairs.

  • Schedule with Co-chairs the YPA Open Forums and prepare and disseminate the agenda before the meetings.

  • Ensure that during YPA meetings, the discussion generally adheres to the agenda and that each committee receives ample time to address the Board.

  • Record, archive, and disseminate the minutes from the YPA Open Forum on the YPA webpage within fourteen (14) days of the meeting.

  • Create a culture of inclusion by ensuring that all ideas and thoughts are represented.

  • Maintain and curate YPA records in the association’s online repository.

  • Maintain accurate contact information of current and previous Board Members, and the members of the Advisory Board.

  • Maintain a record of both the YPA Open Forum and the YPA Executive Board Meeting attendance and determine if a quorum is present when required.

  • Archive any videos and photos, and records of attendance at YPA events.

  • Assist Chairs and Coordinators on room booking for events and meetings.

4.3. Advocacy Committee

The role of the Advocacy Committee is to advocate on behalf of postdocs and ARS to address unmet needs in the postdoc/ARS community. This includes issues related to inclusion, diversity, and the general well-being of postdocs/ARS. The Committee will also identify areas where the YPA can support postdocs and ARS to enrich their experience at Yale University. The responsibilities of the Advocacy Committee are as follows:
  • Recruit Committee members to advocate on behalf of specific groups of YPA members (for example, parents, postdocs/ARS of color, LGBTQIA+ individuals, people with chronic illnesses and disabilities) or specific issues (for example, mental health, visas).
  • Identify and promote solutions for issues facing postdocs and ARS at Yale University such as affordable and safe housing, health insurance, and fair wages.
  • Collect demographic data on Yale University’s postdoc and ARS community to identify underrepresented groups and educate the Yale University community on these disparities.
  • Develop and organize YPA events to support and celebrate diversity and inclusion of all postdocs and ARS within Yale University, and collaborate with the Communication Committee to advertise these events.
  • Maintain a strong relationship with campus entities such as the Office for Postdoctoral Affairs (OPA), the Office of Institutional Equity & Accessibility (OIEA) and the Provost Advisory Committee for Postdoctoral Affairs in order to represent postdoc/ARS needs, and work collaboratively toward productive action for underrepresented postdocs and ARS at Yale University.
  • Serve as a point of contact, and network with any departmental offices, groups or individuals who may be suitable collaborators for the committee (e.g. Medical School Dean of Diversity, the Yale Minority Scientist Research Network, among others).
  • Communicate relevant on-campus and off-campus events that support and celebrate a diverse Yale University/New Haven community and collaborate with the Communication Committee to advertise these events.
  • Generate and maintain a collection of on-campus and off-campus resources to empower the postdoc and ARS community, particularly members of underrepresented groups, those with disabilities, and individuals facing discrimination or harassment.

4.4. Belonging Committee

The Belonging Committee mission is to create a diverse, inclusive, and supportive community of postdocs, whose voices and contributions are valued and respected. These goals include the assessment of diversity at Yale, education to the Yale community, recruitment of diverse candidates, amplifying and assisting with the Yale Black Postdoctoral Association’s (YBPA) goals, support a community for underrepresented minority (URM) postdocs, and creating community connection with New Haven and existing groups at Yale.

In service of this mission, the responsibilities of the Belonging Committee include:

  • Putting on events for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) as identified by committee members.

  • Maintaining and updating DEI resources for the broader postdoc community.

  • Hosting speakers, panel discussions, film viewings and workshops.

  • Facilitating discussions within the postdoc community.

4.5. Communication Committee

The Communication Committee shall manage communication within the YPA and from the YPA to the postdoctoral community, the OPA, and between the YPA and other Communities. To achieve these goals, the responsibilities of the Communication Committee are as follows:

  • Collaborate with Committee Coordinators to advertise YPA events and other events relevant for the postdoc/ARS community.

  • Assist the YPA Chairs in mediating the internal communications within the Board.

  • Manage all aspects of the YPA website and keep the sections up to date.

  • Manage the Yale Connect YPA group, approving new members, and assisting the committees using this platform.

  • Manage all aspects of the YPA presence on social media.

  • Manage the communication with YPA members via direct emails.

  • Safeguard the privacy of postdocs and ARS within the boundaries of its tasks and maximize transparency regarding data usage.

  • Collaborate with OPA to advertise the YPA within the postdoc/ARS community.

  • Promote the mission and values of the YPA to other communities inside and outside of Yale University and mediate the initial contact between these organizations and the appropriate YPA Committees.

4.6. Community and Networking Committee

The role of the Community and Networking Committee is to organize events to bring postdocs and ARS together in informal settings with the goal of facilitating collaboration and friendships across all disciplines at Yale University. The responsibilities of the Community and Networking Committee are as follows:

  • Maintain a strong relationship with the Office of International Students and Scholars (OISS), which includes sustaining a productive dialogue, representing postdoc/ARS needs to the OISS, organizing events in collaboration with the OISS, and ensuring postdocs and ARS are aware of opportunities provided by the OISS.

  • Collaborate with other campus organizations to facilitate networking opportunities for postdocs and ARS on campus and in the community.

  • Organize monthly Postdoc Social and Happy Hour.

  • Develop and organize YPA events focused on networking and community outreach and collaborate with the Communication Committee to advertise these events.

  • Develop and organize a wide and vibrant variety of events as a source of well-being and intellectual wealth for postdocs/ARS such as outdoor and indoor sport activities, music, art, and cultural events.

4.7. Mentorship Committee

The role of the Mentorship Committee is to enrich the mentorship experiences of postdocs and ARS by organizing events, seminars, and workshops that promote successful mentorship practices. Furthermore, the Committee shall bring postdocs/ARS and potential mentors and mentees together to facilitate the development of new mentor-mentee relationships. The responsibilities of the Mentorship Committee are as follows:

  • Develop and organize YPA events focused on mentorship and collaborate with the Communication Committee to advertise these events.

  • Maintain and develop the YPA Buddy Program in collaboration with the Office of International Students and Scholars (OISS) to help incoming postdocs/ARS with their transition to Yale and New Haven, and to facilitate communication between incoming and current Yale postdocs and ARS, strengthening the postdoc/ARS community.

  • Provide the Mentorship Training for Postdocs Program facilitated by the OPA.

  • Sustain a productive dialogue and collaborate with the OPA, the Office of Career Strategy (OCS), the Poorvu Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL), the Office of New Haven Affairs (ONHA) and other professional development organizations on campus to organize seminars and workshops related to mentorship.

  • Ensure that postdocs and ARS are aware of mentorship opportunities, events, and resources through other on-campus and off-campus organizations.

  • Organize reviewers and oversee unbiased and independent selection of winners of the yearly Mentoring Award for postdocs, in collaboration with the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs (OPA). 

4.8. Professional Development Committee

The role of the Professional Development Committee is to organize career events, seminars, and workshops with the goal of preparing postdocs/ARS for careers both inside and outside of academia. The responsibilities of the Professional Development Committee are as follows:

  • Develop and organize YPA events focused on career development and collaborate with the Communication Committee to advertise these events.

  • Maintain a strong relationship with the OPA, OCS and CTL, including sustaining a productive dialogue, representing the needs of postdocs and ARS to these Offices and Centers, organizing events in collaboration with them, and ensuring postdocs and ARS are aware of opportunities provided by these entities.

  • Ensure that YPA members are aware of opportunities and events hosted by other on-campus organizations related to professional development at Yale University.

  • Collaborate with other professional development on-campus organizations to co-organize events of interest to postdocs and ARS.

  • Compile and maintain a collection of on-campus and off-campus resources to support postdoc/ARS career development.
  • Build relationships with off-campus organizations to provide YPA members with opportunities for career development and education.
  • Connect the YPA community with prospective employers to facilitate networking and professional development through off-campus visits and posting job openings on the YPA website.

4.9. Symposium Committee

The role of the Symposium Committee is to organize the Annual Postdoc Symposium. The responsibilities of the Symposium Committee are as follows:

  • Broadly advertise all material related to the symposium university-wide to ensure the inclusion of as many postdocs/ARS as possible while improving the visibility of the important work that Yale postdocs and ARS do.

  • Ensure as far as possible to create an inclusive symposium, and take steps to mitigate the barriers to participation for postdocs/ARS (e.g. ensuring the venue is accessible to those with disabilities)

  • Provide clear guidance for the preparation and evaluation of abstracts and presentations, supporting participants in developing their work for discussion with a broad audience.

  • Include a diverse range of speakers and presenters, representing as many different identities, departments, and research areas within the university as feasible.

  • Form subcommittees and juries to ensure fair and transparent evaluation of abstracts, talks, and posters.

  • Develop and implement networking opportunities for symposium attendees.

  • Collect feedback from symposium attendees and review it annually before the start of the committee’s activities. 

4.10. Treasury Committee

The role of the Treasury Committee is to oversee and track the spending of the YPA annual budget, and identify the YPA events for which sponsorship could be sought from outside of Yale. 

The responsibilities of the Treasury Committee are as follows:


  • Communicate with the Coordinators of all existing Committees and make the budget spending plan at the beginning of the fiscal year

  • Document any sponsorship received. 

  • Familiarize themselves with and strictly follow the Yale fundraising regulations and the common communications code of conduct.

  • Track the usage of the purchasing card between the OPA and event organizers.

  • Request a financial report and ensure that expenses and receipts for purchases are well accounted for and in sync with the Provost’s Office. 

  • Prepare a budget proposal for the Chairs to use to secure institutional support for the YPA for the upcoming fiscal year.

  • Draft and maintain a running budget and record money allocation among the Board.

  • Intermediate the purchase and sale of official YPA Merchandise (T-shirts, Fleeces, Mugs, etc), always in accordance with the Yale Trademark Licensing.

4.11. Liaisons

Liaisons are YPA members that maintain strong relationships between the YPA and the following organizations listed below. This includes sustaining a productive dialogue, representing postdoc and ARS needs, facilitating the organization of events, ensuring postdocs/ARS are aware of opportunities and the handing over of their role to incoming Liaisons in a way that maintains strong relationships. A liaison position will be held for 12 months with terms starting in January and/or July (in accordance with Chair, and Coordinator positions). 

Liaison Positions:

  • Yale Alumni Association (YAA): The Liaison to the YAA shall maintain a strong relationship between the YAA and the Board. 
  • Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL): The Liaison to the CTL shall facilitate cooperation with CTL.
  • Office of Career Strategy (OCS): The Liaison to the OCS shall facilitate cooperation with OCS and attend the monthly Student Advisory Board meeting to engage with the OCS and other student/postdoc groups on campus.
  • Office of International Students & Scholars (OISS): The Liaison to the OISS shall facilitate cooperation with OISS.
  • Chaplain’s office: The Liaison to the Chaplain’s office shall maintain a relationship with the Yale University Chaplain’s Office to foster respect and mutual understanding among people of different faiths and cultures, as well as explore the intersection between faith and contemporary scholarship.
  • West Campus: Liaison(s) to West Campus facilitate promotion of YPA events and initiatives at West Campus and ensure that West Campus postdoc/ARS needs and concerns are represented within the YPA.
  • Title IX: The liaison to the Title IX office facilitates cooperation with the Title IX office and coordinates relevant training offered by the Title IX office for Yale postdocs and ARS.
  • Graduate Student Assembly (GSA): The liaison to the GSA will facilitate cooperation with the GSA by recognizing common goals between our groups and enabling coordinated progress towards those goals.
  • National Postdoctoral Association (NPA): The Liaison will maintain contact with the NPA Chairs/Board members to ensure productive dialogue and collaboration between the YPA and the NPA. The Liaison will serve as a point of contact for committee coordinators during the organization of National Postdoc Appreciation Week (NPAW) events.
  • Yale’s Childcare Consultative Committee (YCCC): Maintain a relationship and advocate with the Yale Childcare Consultative Committee to express the concerns and needs of postdocs and ARS members in regards to childcare or adult care needs. 

4.12. YPA Advisory Board

The YPA Advisory Board comprises all former Board Members of the YPA who want to stay engaged and informed of the developments at the YPA and who want to help shape the organization. To be on the Advisory Board, only former executive board YPA members would be invited to join the advisory board after filling out a survey providing their feedback on their experience as a coordinator or a chair. The invited members shall provide the YPA Secretaries with their current email address and update the YPA website with their current position and address The Advisory Board has an advising role to the current Board without any executive responsibilities. Advisory board members are contacted by YPA Secretaries in January and July of each year, the starting months of new coordinators and chairs, to hear from them about initiatives that could benefit the YPA community, and to strengthen their links with the current YPA board. The tenure of their membership would range from 6 to 12 months, with the option for renewal. Nevertheless, any extension would require the approval of the YPA chairs and secretaries. Failure to maintain responsive communication with YPA may lead to automatic removal from the YPA advisory board.

5. YPA statements

Postdocs and ARS may submit statements about topics that are of interest or concern to YPA members to help promote the mission of the YPA (outlined in section 1). Statements can be proposed by a group of at least five YPA members whose names will be listed at the end of the statement (hereafter referred to as Authors). The statement must have a well-defined scope that is stated at the start of the statement (under a section titled “Scope”) in 150 words or less, and the entire statement cannot be longer than 600 words, excluding citations. Statements can include links to Yale resources for support or further information, along with citations for scholarly work on the topic (including books published by University Presses or articles in peer-reviewed journals). External website links are permissible as long as they adhere to established editorial guidelines from reputable news sources, such as the New York Times. Nevertheless, the authenticity of these links must be verified by the YPA Chairs and secretaries. The initial draft must be submitted to the YPA Co-Chairs and Communications Coordinators for review, to ensure the proposed content aligns with the YPA’s mission (section 1 above) and Code of Conduct (section 8). Proposed statements which do not adhere to these requirements must be sent to the YPA Executive Board for a vote to determine rejection or revision, determined by a simple majority vote by participating members. If Executive Board members are also authors on the statement, they must recuse themselves from discussion and voting.
Before being issued, the proposed content will go through a process of open suggestions and comments by YPA members. The document will be shared with YPA members via the weekly newsletter, inviting members to contribute edits or comments on the virtual document in parallel. This process will be mediated by the Co-Chairs and Communications Coordinators. The draft statement must be left open for at least 7 days, and track changes (edits and comments) must always be identifiable with the individual’s name. After that period, changes will be incorporated by the Authors (with track changes on). Once complete, YPA Co-Chairs and Communications Coordinators will review the document to ensure that it is in accordance with the YPA mission and Code of Conduct and formatting requirements. If necessary, the Co-Chairs and Communications Coordinators will assist in resolving conflicting edits and comments. Once a final document is agreed upon by the Authors and Co-Chairs, YPA members will be asked to vote for or against the release of the statement. Voting will be open for 7 days. At least 5% of the current YPA membership must vote, and a simple majority among the voters must be obtained for it to be published. If votes are received from less than 5% of the current membership, or if a majority vote is not achieved, then the statement is rejected, and cannot be proposed again for another 6 months after the voting is complete. The final version will be published on the YPA website, with the  percentage and total number of YPA members who voted in support of the statement included in a sentence at the end of the statement. If at least one vote is received in opposition to publication of the statement, then a disclaimer should be included that the statement does not necessarily reflect the views of all members.

6. Meetings

6.1. YPA Open Forums

The YPA Open Forums shall be open to all postdocs/ARS and interested parties. They shall be held monthly, unless prevented by extraordinary circumstances as decided by the YPA Chairs. The location and details of the YPA Open Forums shall be determined by the YPA Chairs and distributed to the postdoc and ARS community. The Open Forums shall be convened with the purposes of (i) conducting any business of the YPA and YPA Board that cannot be effectively carried out using other channels; (ii) exposing the discussion, planning, and activities of the YPA to the Yale postdoc/ARS community; and (iii) providing members of the Yale postdoc/ARS community a forum for addressing and engaging with the YPA. Each Open Forum shall reserve a period at the end of the agenda for the solicitation of questions and concerns from postdocs and ARS who are not members of the YPA Board. The Board Members shall make an effort to encourage members of their respective YPA Committees to attend and take an active part in the YPA Open Forums. Individual Committee Meetings shall be held either as needed or at the request of a given Committee Coordinator.

6.2. YPA Executive Board Bylaws Meeting

The YPA Executive Board Bylaws Meeting shall be held once a year, in September, to review and amend the Mission and the Bylaws of the YPA. Only the Board Members shall attend the meeting. It shall be scheduled and organized by the YPA Chairs and aim to be attended by at least one of the Coordinators of each of the YPA Committees (presence of both Coordinators is strongly encouraged).
Prior to the Bylaws Board Meeting, Board members shall propose changes or amendments to the YPA Mission Statement and/or the YPA Bylaws and the YPA Chairs shall collect and consolidate these changes or amendments (where necessary). A non-editable version with all changes tracked, will be circulated among the Board Members at least seven (7) days before the YPA Executive Board Bylaws Meeting. Co-chairs shall create a meeting agenda listing the changes as ‘minor changes’ and ‘major changes’, and during the meeting each change will be discussed, approved or rejected by Board members. After the formal YPA Executive Board Bylaws Meeting, the Chairs will implement all changes and circulate a revised copy of the Bylaws to Board members at most (7) days after the meeting and before an affirmation vote. The finalized amendments shall be affirmed by a majority of the Board through a formally written vote (written or electronic).

6.3. YPA Executive Board Meetings

YPA Executive Board Meetings will be scheduled biannually in the beginning of each semester, but additional meetings may be convened when deemed necessary by the chairs. Such meetings become imperative when the chairs determine that YPA’s essential business cannot effectively transpire during the Open Forum due to one or more of the following reasons: (i) there is insufficient time during the Open Forum to conduct the necessary business; (ii) the necessary business is of a sufficiently sensitive nature to make its discussion at the Open Forum inappropriate;  (iii) the necessary business is of sufficiently urgent nature to make its discussion at the next Open Forum ineffective; or (iv) if revisions are deemed necessary to the Bylaws before the next Executive Board Bylaws Meeting.

7. Elections

The elected positions of the Board shall be the YPA Chairs, the YPA Secretaries, and the YPA Committee Coordinators.

7.1. The YPA Secretaries, Treasurers and Committee Coordinators

The YPA Chairs shall announce the open Secretary, Treasurer or Coordinator position at least two (2) consecutive YPA Open Forums before that position should be filled (first week of October for mandates starting in January, and first week of April for mandates starting in July). The YPA Chairs shall run the approval proceedings at latest during the second YPA Open Forum following the announcement of the open Board position (December Open Forum for mandates starting in January, and June Open Forum for mandates starting in July). Furthermore, a ‘deputy’ or interim co-coordinator can be designated, allowing a committee member to step into the role temporarily should the primary coordinator need to take an extended leave of absence, such as due to illness or maternity. The ‘deputy’ or interim coordinator should be introduced in the Open Forum. This arrangement ensures that the workload is not solely shouldered by one coordinator and provides flexibility for the absent coordinator to return to their role when ready. However, if the absence extends beyond three (3) months, the interim coordinator assumes the position of the committee coordinator.
7.1.1. Vacancy and candidacy

If advance announcement of the open Board position is impossible due to unforeseen circumstances, the YPA Chairs shall announce the vacancy no later than seven (7) days after learning of its existence and approval of nominated candidates shall be held at a time jointly decided by the YPA Chairs but no later than two YPA Open Forums after the vacancy arises. The announcement of an open Board position shall be disseminated by the Communications committee. The Coordinators of the committee with the vacancy are responsible for finding a replacement Coordinator, with the support of the Co-Chairs. If necessary, committee Coordinators can hold elections for candidates as outlined in section 7.1.2.

7.1.2. Nominations

Members of each committee for which a candidate coordinator is proposed will be responsible for determining which candidate they will nominate for official approval of the board. Each committee member has the right to vote and may do so by supporting one (1) candidate by formally writing or electronic vote in elections organized by the committee coordinators. Elections take the form of a secret ballot. They may be held either during a committee meeting or via the internet assuming the condition of the secret ballot is met. Simple plurality shall decide which candidate wins the election. In the case of a tie, the candidate with the most seniority, as defined by attendance at committee meetings, will automatically be selected for nomination.

Committees will submit their nomination of a single candidate to the YPA chairs via email (ypa@yale.edu) no later than one week before the scheduled approval vote. Committees will also include a description of their nomination process to the YPA chairs in the same email.

7.1.3. Approval
The Board will formally approve nominated candidates for each open position during an Open Forum, during which attendees are given an opportunity to voice support or objection. Every postdoc and ARS is eligible to serve as a YPA Coordinator, Treasurer or Secretary on the Board provided that they intend, to the best of their knowledge, to remain a Board Member for the entire duration of their term, which is 12 months. If necessary, the length of the term may exceed 12 months until a new Board Member has been elected.


7.2. The YPA Chairs

The YPA Chairs shall announce the open Chair position at least three (3) consecutive YPA Open Forums before that position should be filled (first week of October for mandates starting in January, and first week of April for mandates starting in July). The procedures described here regarding voting will be followed regardless of the number of Candidate Chairs.
7.2.1. Eligibility
Members eligible for the Chair position are postdocs and ARS with greater than 50% attendance at the YPA Open Forums in the 12 months preceding nomination and at least one (1) year of YPA committee membership, or at least six (6) months of board membership. However, ARS requires executive board approval to be considered for the chair position. Further, if the continuing chair holds the title of ARS, Candidate Chairs must hold the title of Postdoctoral Associate or Postdoctoral Fellow such that at least one chair position is filled by a postdoc at the time of election. Candidate Chairs must intend, to the best of their knowledge, to remain Chair for the entire duration of their term, which is 12 months.
7.2.2. Candidacy and the voting process
Candidate Chairs should announce themselves at the Open Forum at least two (2) months before the election, held through the first week of December for mandates starting in January, and through the first week of June for mandates starting in July. Candidate Chairs are required to provide a brief biography and personal statement that can be used to send out to the Postdoc/ARS community for voting. The Candidate Chairs will be presented to the Postdoc/ARS Community one month before the election week. This will be done via the YPA monthly newsletter, and a dedicated email sent out to all Postdocs and ARS by the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs.
Each Postdoc/ARS will have one vote, and the vote will be recorded anonymously through an online voting system. Postdocs and ARS will be given the option to rank their Candidates with rank 1 being most preferred, rank 2 being second preference and so on, using a special form for ranked-voting on Yale Connect, managed and with restricted access to the current Co-Chairs and one Communications Coordinator. Polls shall be open for 1 full week and after that week the results will be presented to the Postdoc/ARS community. When the election involves only two candidates, the Candidate Chair with the most votes will be chosen as the new YPA Chair. When three (3) or more candidates are running for that position, a Condorcet winner will be decided using the Schulze method as completion rule (see the YPA Executive Board handbook for more information). In the case of a tie there will be a majority vote of the current Board.

8. YPA Code of Conduct

The YPA is dedicated to providing a professional and welcoming environment that fosters diversity, equity, inclusion, and the free expression of ideas. All YPA members and event attendees are expected to abide by this Code of Conduct to help ensure a safe and positive environment for all. This Code of Conduct is conceived to promote inclusion, protect individual liberties, and promote the free and frank expression of ideas. No part of this code shall be construed in such a way as to limit the good faith debate or expression of ideas, even when controversial.

The leadership of the YPA will ensure that all views are respected and considered while conducting YPA business and organizing events, regardless of personal identity (see examples below), length of postdoc status, or length of active participation in the YPA. Any YPA member or event attendee may bring concerns regarding this Code of Conduct or any YPA matter to the leadership.

Participating in YPA events should be a rewarding experience for everyone. We do not tolerate harassment in any form. Harassment is defined by Yale as subjecting an individual/s to objectively offensive, unwelcome conduct, when such conduct (i) is severe, persistent, or pervasive and (ii) has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with the individual’s work, academic performance or participation in YPA activities, or creates an intimidating or hostile environment. Harassment may be found in a single severe episode, as well as in persistent behavior. Examples of harassment include but are not limited to:

  • Offensive comments on career trajectory, research subject, gender, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, age, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, religion (or lack thereof), or national origin.
  • Intimidation or physical or verbal abuse of any kind.
  • Dismissing the needs of any individual or group of postdocs, or prioritizing any individual or group at the expense of the broader postdoctoral community.
  • Unwelcome sexual attention, including but not limited to: sexist or sexualized comments or jokes, displaying sexually explicit material in public spaces or direct messages, inappropriate touching, groping, or sexual advances.
  • Stalking, following, unwelcome or surreptitious photography or recording.
  • Sustained or disrespectful disruptions during events organized by YPA.
  • Sexual language and imagery are generally not appropriate. However, since many YPA members work in biological fields, work-related discussions involving otherwise inappropriate topics may be acceptable. More details can be found here.
The YPA aims to promote diversity and inclusion for all postdocs in YPA membership. We do not tolerate discrimination in any form. Discrimination is defined as treating an individual adversely based on sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, race, color, national or ethnic origin, religion, age, disability, socioeconomic, marital, or family status.
Any behavior that marginalizes or threatens individual well-being has ramifications for our entire organization and the postdoctoral community. To create a space that promotes equality and inclusiveness, the YPA expects all participants in any YPA activities to:
  • Be respectful and considerate at all times.
  • Value the diversity of views, ideas, and opinions.
  • Critique ideas rather than individuals; avoid personal attacks directed toward others.
  • Respect venue policies and personnel (e.g. Yale buildings, restaurants, etc).
  • Be mindful of surroundings and of fellow participants.
  • Alert security or emergency responders in case of a dangerous situation or someone in distress, while remaining acutely mindful of any ramifications of this for the safety of all individuals involved.
  • Alert YPA leadership with concerns regarding violation of this code of conduct.
  • Members asked to stop any harassing or otherwise undesired behavior are expected to comply immediately. If this behavior does not immediately cease, the member/s may be expelled by event coordinators or Executive Board members from the activity. 
Participation in YPA activities is voluntary for all YPA members. By participating in any YPA activity, all YPA members and YPA event attendees agree to comply with this Code of Conduct.

8.1 Breach of the Code of Conduct

A breach of the Code of Conduct can occur when a YPA member or YPA event attendee engages in conduct that is not tolerated per the Code of Conduct in section 8. Failure to cease any harassing, discriminatory or otherwise undesired behavior after being asked to by a member of the Executive Board is also regarded as a breach of the code. Any person who experiences or observes a breach of the Code of Conduct, including harassment or discrimination of any kind, should report this to the Co-Chairs by emailing ypa@yale.edu and/or the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs (postdoc.affairs@yale.edu). 
When the YPA receives a complaint alleging misconduct, the YPA will acknowledge its receipt by email as soon as possible. The Co-Chairs will then undertake an investigation of the incident/s; this may include gathering evidence of the alleged misconduct, and or meetings with individuals involved in the complaint. If the Co-Chairs determine that there is sufficient evidence of misconduct, and only after communication with both the complainant and the subject of the complaint, the Executive Board will be consulted to determine whether the member/s who committed the misconduct should be subject to disciplinary action to limit their participation in YPA and its activities. The Executive Board votes with a simple majority to move forward or not with favor of disciplinary action. An internal document is available upon request in regards to proscribed steps in taking disciplinary actions towards the member/s who commit the misconduct.
If deemed necessary, interim measures may be enacted before an investigation is complete to ensure misconduct of a time-sensitive nature does not continue. In these situations if members of the YPA Executive Board, or event organizers if no Executive Board members are present, determine that an individual has engaged in unacceptable behavior, they shall determine the appropriate action to be taken. These actions include but are not limited to expulsion from an event without warning or recompense, and/or referral to appropriate Yale authorities or local law enforcement. The Co-Chairs should be notified as soon as possible if such interim measures are taken. 

9. Accessibility at YPA events

All committee members involved in organizing events for the YPA community should proactively strive to make their events as accessible and inclusive as possible. This may encompass various measures, including but not limited to:
  • Ensuring event venues have appropriate access routes to accommodate individuals with mobility issues.
  • Providing clear allergy warnings for any catering services and offering alternative dietary options for those with specific requirements, where feasible.
  • When practical and aligned with the event’s purpose, offering a hybrid option to facilitate virtual participation.

These requirements may be fulfilled by ensuring that all event registration forms advertised on Yale Connect have a short answer question for attendees to disclose accessibility requirements. It may not always be possible to accommodate every requirement, but efforts should be made to, nonetheless.