Academy Unveils Dramatic Changes to Promote Diversity by Gregg Kilday 1/22/2016 12:19pm PST Cheryl Boone Isaacs Getty Images Three seats, appointed by the president, are being added to the board of governors, and individual members' voting rights will be reviewed every ten years to determine if they have remained active in the business. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences unveiled on Friday several dramatic changes in its structure and voting regulations in an effort to promote diversity. Its goal, the Academy said, is to double the number of women and diverse members of the Academy by 2020. The moves come as the Academy has faced mounting controversy over the lack of diversity in this year's Oscar nominations and its membership at large. That, in turn, had led to some to call for a boycott of the upcoming Oscars broadcast on Feb. 28. For an organization where change comes slowly and incrementally, today's announcement represents an unusually quick response and sweeping development. While Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs and the group's CEO Dawn Hudson had been working to improve diversity representation within the Academy for the past several years, Boone Isaacs admitted in a previous statement on Jan. 18, "the change is not coming as fast as we would like" and vowed, "it's time for big changes." The Academy is adding three new seats to its 51-person board of governors. Rather than represent existing branches, the members chosen to fill those seats will be nominated by the president for three-year terms and then confirmed by the board. The Academy also said it will take immediate action to increase diversity by adding new members who are not on the board of governors to its executive and board committees, where decisions about membership and governance are made in the hopes of allowing new members to have a more active role in Academy decision-making. The organization is also instituting new rules affecting voting status: Each new member's voting status will last ten years, and will then be renewed if that new member has been active in motion pictures during that decade. In addition, members will receive lifetime voting rights after three ten-year terms or if they have won or been nominated for an Academy Award. The same standards will be applied retroactively to current members. Those who do not qualify for active status will be moved to emeritus status and, while they will enjoy other membership privileges, will not be able to voting. None of those changes yet will affect the voting for this year's Oscars. In an effort to recruit new members, the Academy will continue with its traditional process in which current members sponsor new members, but will also launch what it is calling "an ambitious, global campaign to identify and recruit qualified new members who represent greater diversity. “The Academy is going to lead and not wait for the industry to catch up,” Boone Isaacs said in a statement. “These new measures regarding governance and voting will have an immediate impact and begin the process of significantly changing our membership composition.” The changes were approved unanimously by the board of governors on Thursday night, the Academy said in announcing the dramatic moves. They were developed by Boone Isaacs and the board's membership and administration committee, chaired by Phil Robertson, who represents the writers branch on the board of governors. In an email that Boone Isaacs sent to the Academy's membership, she described the changes as "a series of courageous steps." In explaining to the members the new rules regarding voting rights, she added, "We have no reason to believe this will affect you receiving screeners," and underlined, "This will not affect voting for this year's Oscars."