Definition of Acts Inimical to Mensa

Anyone contemplating filing charges of acts inimical to Mensa should be very aware of what constitutes an act inimical and be careful to include only charges that truly could be considered acts inimical to Mensa.

The Hearings Committee of which I was chairman  took the positions that

  • three conditions had to be met before some action on the part of the member was in fact an act inimical: first, that the alleged act was deliberate; second, that the alleged act did in fact occur; and third, that the society was harmed by the act.
  • harm to the society must be demonstrable:  physical damage, loss of money or resources, real cost to the society, or loss or disaffection of members, for example.  Whether or not harm occurred cannot be simply a matter of opinion.

The current Hearings Committee may not hold these same positions.

The Hearings Committee acts in defense of the society; thus, anyone who is contemplating bringing charges of acts inimical against another must be certain that the alleged acts were directed against the society and not against an individual, and be prepared to meet the conditions of proof described in the paragraphs above.

Acts inimical to Mensa were rather loosely defined through March 29, 2003, at which time the definitions were listed more specifically. The current definition is listed first below; the previous definitions, which I've kept here for historical comparison, are at the bottom of the page.

From the minutes of the AMC meeting of March 29, 2003:

Moved REMINE, seconded BURG: ASIE 1998-017 is amended to read as follows:

For the purpose of ASIE 1998-017, "Mensa" is defined as including American Mensa, Ltd., any recognized subdivision or local group of American Mensa, Ltd., any recognized national Mensa or subdivision thereof, and Mensa International Ltd. "Acts inimical to the society" are defined as "deliberate acts that are harmful to, or result in harm to, Mensa." "Acts inimical" to Mensa shall include (though the definition shall not be limited to) the following:

  1. Any intentional misrepresentation by a member in dealings with or under the auspices of Mensa including falsifying records;
  2. Unauthorized use of Mensa property, including copyrights, trademarks, and trade names;
  3. Threatening, intimidating, coercing, or otherwise interfering with persons involved in the authorized activities of Mensa;
  4. While participating in activities sponsored or sanctioned by Mensa, engaging in conduct that:
    1. endangers the well-being of others,
    2. results in willful damage to property, or
    3. involves illegal or improper use of funds of Mensa;
  5. Making a knowingly false or misleading oral or written statement to a Hearings Committee;
  6. Failing to discharge a debt to Mensa, within sixty days after written notice of the existence of the debt has been sent to the debtor; or
  7. Failure to exhaust all avenues of settlement and redress within Mensa before taking a dispute to external authorities.

DISCUSSION: REMINE made corrections as follows: removed the word "American" from "American Mensa, Ltd." In two instances, and deleted "(referred to as "AML")". MAGNUS offered a friendly amendment, which was accepted, to add "persons involved in" between "with" and "the" in Number 3.

BURG said that this language was suggested by our interpretive counsel, and came mainly from her review of similar policies from other membership organizations. Number 7 on this list comes directly from the Constitution of Mensa. The wording in this motion is specific, but not limiting the potential of the definition of "acts inimical".

PENDLEY asked about Number 2, pointing out that a lot of people misuse the logo accidentally. REMINE said that obviously honest mistakes would not be treated as though they were malicious and intentional.

Approved 16-1-2 (WILTERDING opposed; BANKO and BECKER abstained.) ASIE

According to the Constitution and the ASIE's as of July 6, 2002, these are the defined acts inimical to Mensa..

1. Article III.D. of the Constitution, "Disputes Within Mensa":

"Members having a dispute with Mensa, with any national Mensa or subdivision thereof, or with another member arising out of Mensa-related activities shall exhaust all avenues of settlement and redress within the Society before taking the dispute to external authorities. Failure to do so may be considered an act inimical to Mensa."

2. ASIE 0000-010  (Last amended 03-Dec-1977):

"The AMC holds that any complaints against Mensa employees should be brought to the attention of the AMC as the employer. Furthermore, the AMC holds that utterances of public abuse, ridicule, or calumny against Mensa employees in relation to their conduct of Mensa affairs constitute acts inimical to Mensa."

3. ASIE 1998-017 (28-Mar-1998):

"That 'acts inimical to the society' are defined as 'deliberate acts that are harmful to, or result in harm to, the society.'"

4. Rule 2 of "Policies and Rules Governing the Conduct of Hearings" (Appendix 5 of the ASIEs)

"Deliberately making a false or misleading oral or written statement to the Hearings Committee with regard to a proceeding before it is an act inimical to Mensa for which sanctions may be imposed by the Hearings Committee."

5. ASIE 2000-032 (25-Mar-2000) and ASIE 2002-146 (06-Jul-2002)

[This same test is repeated in both these ASIEs, one pertaining to the 2001 election and one to the 2003 election.]

"In accordance with American Mensa, Ltd. Bylaws VI(8)(c) which states 'With each ballot there shall be included: (c) The answers by each candidate to any question which may be propounded to all candidates... by the American Mensa Committee, the number of words permitted to be determined by the American Mensa Committee', the AMC has voted to ask the following questions of all candidates seeking office on the American Mensa Committee in the 2001 election. Information supplied by candidates in reply to these questions is subject to verification by the Election Committee. Misrepresentation of fact may be reported in the election materials and may be regarded as an act inimical to Mensa."

6. Misuse of membership data provided to local group officers.

Material accompanying the membership data provided on diskette or CD to local group officers carries a warning that misuse of the data is an act inimical to Mensa.

"6. I understand and agree that any unauthorized use or disclosure of American Mensa member information may be considered an 'act inimical to Mensa' for which sanctions may be imposed as provided by the Bylaws of American Mensa, Ltd."

I think that, because this act inimical has not been established by AMC action, it could not be prosecuted. For this act inimical to be prosecutable would pave the way for a variety of nameless persons to create acts inimical to suit their fancy.

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