“ Whereas it is necessary to facilitate open discourse and debate on Penn’s campus, celebrate a diversity of opinions and foster a community of vocal, engaged, and intelligent students, we the undersigned hereby declare that this Constitution reflects our vision and our values while serving as a template for the constructive continuity of the Polybian Society. ”
This Society, convened in the year two-thousand and thirteen of the Common Era, shall be named the THE POLYBIAN SOCIETY OF THE UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA. It shall be one of the branches of the University of Pennsylvania Government and Politics Association. It shall henceforth be referred to as “the Society.”
The Object of the Society, as part of the Government and Politics Association of the University of Pennsylvania, shall be to provide a nonpartisan forum for debate, where a diverse body of participants may inform and debate their colleagues. This group shall celebrate the full spectrum of ideas and create a spirit of community among its members.
Section 1 - The Members
- The membership of the Society shall consist of Active Members, Inactive Members, Deactivated Members and Alumni. One cannot be an Inactive or Alumni Member without having first been an Active Members
- This Society shall not engage in discriminatory membership policies.
- No members under the Age of Majority as determined by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania shall be obligated to perform physical labor at the bequest of the Polybian Board.
- The enumeration in the Constitution of certain rights shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by members.
Section 2 - Active Members
- Any undergraduate or graduate student of the University of Pennsylvania shall be eligible for Active Membership in the Society. Active Membership shall henceforth be referred to as “membership.”
- A prospective member shall attain membership after having:
- Declared one’s candidacy for membership via submitting a formal request online or in paper.
- Fulfilled the requirements of initiation.
- Completed the requirement of dues to the satisfaction of the Quaestor.
- The members of the Society shall have all rights entailed in this constitution, including but not limited to:
- The right to vote in all decisions and elections of the Society, exempting where specifically stipulated.
- The right to run for any office, having attained the requirements for said office.
- The right to run and vote for positions in the Government and Politics Association, as governed by their constitution.
- The right to attend all public and private events of the Society.
- In order to retain membership in the Society, all members must:
- Fulfill the dues requirement each semester by the specified date.
- Ensure the Deobfuscator has their name on the Active Members list.
- Should a previously Active Member fail to reach the criteria for maintaining their membership, they will be relegated to Inactive Membership.
- Though still welcome at the Society, Inactive Members may be denied access to society events at the discretion of the Board. Absent a vote of the board, the Quaestor shall have sole discretion to deny access to events to Inactive members that have failed to meet the dues requirement by the stipulated deadline.
Section 3 – Inactive Members
- Having not fulfilled the dues requirement for one semester an Active Member becomes an Inactive member
- An Inactive member surrenders the right to vote in Polybian elections and can only run granted that they are on hiatus due to absence from campus
- Inactive members further lose the privilege to attend members only events
- Inactive members reserve the right to ‘alumni status’ upon graduation
Section 4 – Deactivated Members
- Having failed the dues requirement for two semester an Inactive Member becomes a Deactivated Member
- Deactivated members lose all the Privileges afforded to Active and Inactive Members including the right to vote and participate in society elections and hold alumni status
Section 5 - Alumni Members
- Members of the Society graduate to Alumni Membership upon the permanent termination of their enrollment at the University of Pennsylvania.
- Alumni members shall retain all rights of membership except that of voting and holding office.
- Alumni members are not subject to the requirements of membership.
Offices of the Society
Section 1 - The Board
- The Board of the Polybian Society shall consist of the following eight positions: Consul, Praetor, Philosophe, Tribune, Quaestor, Bacchus, Scriptor, and Deobfuscator.
- The President of GPA shall also serve as a voting member of the Polybian Board and the Vice President of GPA as an observer. Should the President not be present, the Vice President Internal may vote in their stead.
- The Board of the Polybian Society shall select one member of the GPA Executive Board (other than the Consul or President,) to serve as an observer on the Board of the Polybian Society. This person, known as the Legate, shall serve as the liaison for the Executive Board within the Polybian Board. This person shall be chosen at the start of each semester.
- Quorum shall be set at two-thirds of voting members of the board.
- A majority shall be defined as more than one half of present voting members voting in favor. A Supermajority shall be defined as at least three fourths of present voting members voting in favor.
- All members will be invited to the weekly board meetings.
Section 2 - Duties of the Officers
- The Duties of the Consul shall include the following:
- Act as the head of the Society and the face of the community
- Sit on the Government and Politics Executive Board
- Create an agenda for and direct Polybian board meetings
- Direct media outreach, including any press releases or interviews
- Maintain Decency and attendance at events
- The Duties of the Praetor shall include the following:
- In case of the removal of the Consul from office, or of their death, resignation, or inability to discharge the Powers and Duties of said Office, the same shall devolve on the Praetor
- Act in the stead of the Consul in times of illness or indisposition
- Improve the quality of events and develop new formats Collaborate with the Tribune for Initiations
- Maintain and improve the consistency, clarity, cohesiveness and coherence of the constitution and bylaws
- Help to ensure cooperation and organization between board members and initiatives within the society
- Oversee the Consul’s Cup by:
- Organizing the members of each house
- Keeping track of the points each house earns.
- Hosting formal events each month
- The Duties of the Philosophe shall include the following:
- Act as the intellectual driver of the society
- Generate content for debates, including:
- Potential topics
- News articles and summaries as preparation
- Questions to further debate
- Assist with Dinner Chats
- Appoint a chair, whether themself or another Polybian Member for each Symposium
- The Duties of the Tribune shall include the following;
- Serve as recruitment officer
- Identify and court potential members
- Maintain attendance records
- Organize Initiations
- The Duties of the Quaestor shall include the following:
- Sit as a voting member on the GPA Treasury Committee
- Present at least one State of the Aerarium Address per semester
- Maintain a semesterly budget, financial records and long term financial projections
- Ensure timely reimbursement of members
- Seek sources of revenue for the Society
- Collect membership dues, set deadlines and oversee financial aid decisions
- Maintain an official and up-to-date list of Active Members
- Maintain society Book of Membership
- The Duties of the Bacchus shall include the following:
- Organize society social activities
- Organize the logistics of all events
- Orchestrate and execute a number of parties
- Provide food, beverages and rooms for all events
- The Duties of the Scriptor shall include the following:
- Set general agenda for publicity
- Maintain communication with Alumni Members
- Overlook the procurement of society paraphernalia
- Maintain and update the Polybian Website
- Maintain images related to the Polybian Society
- The Duties of the Deobfuscator shall include the following:
- Maintain a full set of Meeting Minutes
- Maintain listservs relevant to the Society
- Publish society periodicals on a regular basis
Limits on Power
Section 1 - Removal of Board Members and Extraordinary Reelections
- Should the GPA President consider an election illegitimate, they may invalidate the results of said election, thereby triggering a new election (See subsection D). The declaration of illegitimacy must be submitted in writing to the standing Consul within one week of the election.
- At any time in the semester the GPA Executive Board may deem the Polybian Board insolvent and demand another election. Two Thirds of the Executive Board must declare that this is necessary.
- The current Consul and entire board of the Society are permitted to run again.
- The GPA Executive Board will specify whether they want a new election of just the Consul or of the entire Polybian Board.
- At any time in the semester a member of the Polybian Society may organize a petition of no-confidence in one or more named Board Officers.
- This petition must name the Officers and specify the reasons for said petition.
- Should this petition collect the signatures of one-quarter of Active Members, upon the submission of written copies to the Consul and GPA President a vote of no confidence will be triggered for each named Officer (See Subsection D).
- Half of active member must meet, and the measure of no-confidence will pass on a two-thirds majority of said gathered members.
- After all no-confidence votes have been taken, should any no-confidence vote pass, elections for the position(s) will commence immediately with no intermission.
- The extraordinary vote of no confidence or reelection referring to this section will take place at a date between one week and three weeks from the formal submission of request. Standard election procedure will be followed for votes of no confidence (See Article VI).
Section 2 - Expulsion from the Society for Behavior
- The expulsion process requires:
- An official meeting with the Consul over transgressions
- A hearing and vote by the Board of the Polybian Society should the incident not be resolved. The vote shall require a Supermajority of the Board to pass.
- A member of the Polybian Society may be stripped of their membership should they exhibit unlawful or inappropriate behavior. Harassment, sexual misconduct, discrimination, fraud or violence fall within this category, although this list is by no means exhaustive
- Once stripped of membership, there will be no refunds on dues, though reimbursements may still be accepted at the discretion of the Treasury Committee.
- Should an expelled member wish to return to the society, they may petition for readmission to the Society by submitting to the Consul, in writing, a Writ of Purgatio explaining the circumstances of expulsion. The Writ shall then be read at the next regularly stated business meeting of the Society. Upon passing a simple majority vote, the individual shall be reinstated as an Inactive Member of the Society.
- No member shall be stripped of the benefits of membership without due process of law, as outlined in Article III.
Section 1 - Procedure for Elections
- The official Biannual Meeting shall take place no more than five (5) weeks prior to the start of final examinations. This gathering of the entire society shall include Elections, Amendments, a State of the Society report. Such a date will be determined at least a fortnight in advance.
- All Active Members are eligible to vote in all matters put before the Society at the Biannual meeting. The right of the Members of the Polybian Society to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the Government and Politics Association or by any subgroup of said entity on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude
- All Active Members are eligible to run for all available positions in the Penn GPA or Polybian Society, with the exception of seniors, who may not run for Consul.
- In exceptional circumstances, a Supermajority of the Polybian Board may choose to allow an uninitiated member to run for office.
- Individuals may not hold two separately named voting offices on the GPA Executive Board and on the Polybian Society Board simultaneously. This clause does not apply to the GPA President and the Consul as they hold a single position.
- Holding other offices, whether appointed or elected, in the GPA shall be governed by their respective constitutional clauses.
- Declaration of Candidacy for all elected board positions shall be made between two (2) weeks and two (2) days before the set election date. All nominees will formally state their candidacy by submitting a written statement to the President of the GPA and the Consul at least 48 hours in advance of elections. A candidate must declare primary candidacy for a single position. If they are running in the first election for Consul or Praetor (see section H), the candidate may list up to two secondary candidacies for other positions. Otherwise, they may list at most one.
- A five person Election Committee shall be chosen by the Polybian Board. They shall have the duty to maintain decorum, determine attendance and count votes. It is expected this will consist of three board members, one member of the newest Initiate Class as well as either the President or Vice President of GPA.
- When a member of the Committee cannot be expected to be impartial and has a conflict of interest in the specific election, they shall withhold from counting votes or moderating debate.
- A quorum for an election will exist if one half of all Active Members are present according to the Quaestor’s Members List.
- Voters in Polybian (and Penn GPA) Elections shall be determined by the list maintained by the Quaestor. The Quaestor will update this list at least 48 hours prior to elections.
- If a quorum exists, an officer will be elected by a simple majority of Active Members at a specific election. Should no specific nominee achieve enough votes, the two highest candidates will partake in a second election.
- If there is a tie, the outgoing Board shall determine the winner. Members seeking election for a specific post may never vote in said election.
- The order of elections will be as follows:
- If the Consul’s position is up for election, that election shall be held first. Otherwise, the first election shall be for Praetor. The Praetor shall always be second for election. The remaining positions shall be determined from the declarations of candidacy for each position. Positions with the greatest number of declared primary candidacies shall be elected first. Positions with the same number of primary candidacies shall be elected in the order listed in Article IV. This order shall be determined after quorum is ascertained.
- Each candidate will give a short speech in turn. They will then all answer questions from the audience, with the final inquiry coming from the outgoing Board Member or member with similar experiences.
- Prior to an election, all forms of mass campaigning are strictly prohibited, both by candidates and on behalf of candidates. This includes, but is not limited to, mass texts, emails, Facebook messages and/or groups, social media, or social events.
- Outgoing Consul, Praetor, Tribune, Quaestor and Scriptor may have observer status in all Board Meetings for three (3) weeks following elections.
- The term of the Consul shall be one year, while all other terms shall be one semester.
- The outgoing board will be trusted with the prerogative of hearing any complaints relating to election misconduct, as well as the necessity to review all evidence particular to the complaint:
- Where a 2/3rds majority rules that alleged misconduct has taken place an election result will be annulled
- All such misconduct must be brought to the attention of the board within a 48-hour period following elections. The commission will have an additional 24-hour period to rule on any misconduct.
Section 1 - Financial Decisions
- The Quaestor shall maintain ‘The Aerarium’ or set of financial accounts and movements specifically relevant to the Polybian Society.
- The Polybian Society shall be subject to all rules and regulations stipulated in the Treasury article of the GPA Constitution.
- Changes in Membership dues must be proposed by the Quaestor and approved by a supermajority of the Polybian Society Board.
- All requests for unbudgeted Polybian expenses must be submitted through the Polybian Board.
Section 2 - Financial Oversight
- The Quaestor, with the aid of the Treasury Committee, shall present at least one State of the Aerarium Addresses to the Board per semester. All Polybian Members shall be invited to attend this presentation.
- Should a majority of the Polybian Board or the GPA Treasurer decide that an audit of the Aerarium is in order, the Quaestor shall have 48 hours to prepare documentation of all assets and cash flows of the Society. Within two days the Quaestor, with the aid of the Treasurer and President of GPA will present said copies of financial documents before the auditors. The auditors will then be charged with checking these documents for discrepancies, and reporting their findings to the board.
- If the President, Treasurer or auditors deem that the Quaestor has committed fraud, gross negligence of duty or an otherwise irresponsible financial action, the matter will be put before the Polybian Board for a supermajority vote. Should this vote pass, the Polybian Board shall designate another member to fill the position in the interim, while the Quaestor will have their access to all accounts immediately removed.
Section 3 - Financial Aid
- To reduce dues beyond full contribution requires a meeting with the Quaestor and one of either the Consul or Praetor. These two will determine eligibility.
- It is expected that a new meeting will occur each year.
- Dues cannot be reduced below one (1) dollar.
- No in-kind payments will be accepted.
- The Quaestor shall protect the confidentiality of current and former members’ financial information.
Updating and Maintaining Records
Section 1 - Procedure for Amendments
- Every proposed amendment to this Constitution, By-laws, and Traditions must be presented in writing to the Consul. The Consul must then present said amendment to all members at least one (1) week before being voted on.
- Constitutional amendments require a quorum of at least one half of Active Members.
- Two thirds of Active Members present must vote participating in the amendment election for an amendment to be ratified.
- The President of Penn GPA shall have a veto power over such Amendment votes as per Article V - 1 - A.
- The Polybian Board must announce a constitutional amendment meeting a week before the termination of voting. While the amendments will be presented in-person by the Praetor, voting will where convenient and viable occur online during a 48-hour period following the presentation meeting.
Section 2 - Records Keeping
- All previous versions of the Constitution shall be stored for perpetuity in a hard copy. Maintaining and updating such records shall be the duty of the Praetor.
Section 3 - Conflict Resolution
- In situations where there is a conflict between the constitutions of the Polybian Society and the Government and Politics Association, the GPA Executive Board will move to discuss and resolve all conflicts necessary. They shall propose amendments to modify and clarify language in each constitution, as well as a short-term procedure for the future.
In addition to the above stated constitutional principles a set of bylaws will act as binding legal guides. These will become law subject to an approval by a Polybian board supermajority, will be kept and maintained by the Praetor, and can be amended at the discretion of the board. Any active member of the Polybian society can propose bylaws by arranging with the consul to present the proposed bylaw at a board meeting. Any active member of the society can petition the board to repeal a bylaw. A law will repealed if a board super-majority elects to do so.