LUTHER COLLEGE STUDENT ORGANIZATIONS

WRITING A CONSTITUTION

A good constitution contains the basics of how your organization will function.

A constitution is the foundation upon which the organization will grow, mature, and perpetuate itself.  It is designed to reduce internal conflict, to establish the organizations missions and goals, and to protect the rights of all students, faculty, and staff.

The following are areas which your constitution must address:

• NAME: The organization must have a name

• PURPOSE: Your goals and programming should connect clearly to this purpose. This purpose statement may be used in publications advertising your organization.

• PROCEDURE: Mention that the organization will employ democratic procedures during meetings and elections.

• BYLAWS: Agreements to which your organization must adhere

• OFFICER POSITIONS AND STRUCTURE: How will the officer positions be organized? How will new officers be chosen?

• RATIFICATION AND AMENDMENT: When was this constitution first ratified? What is the process for review and amendment?

The following are areas which your constitution may address:

• Inclusion and duties of the faculty or staff advisor

• How to remove a member or officer from the Organization

• Officer qualifications and duties

• Meetings of the Organization—How often? How are they run?

For many, writing a constitution is an unfamiliar, confusing process. The Student Activities Office has provided a sample constitution template for you to use when first creating it.

Note that this is only a SAMPLE of what a constitution could look like. The needs of your organization may be different and we encourage you to write a constitution that reflects the needs and purpose of your organization.

Sample Student Organization Constitution

(Please change or modify to meet your organization’s needs or develop your own.)

Article I (Name)

        The name of the organization shall be __________________________________________________________        

Article II (Objective, Aims, or Purpose)

        It shall be the purpose of ____________________________________________________________ (name) to

___________________________________________________________________________________________________

___________________________________________________________________________________________________        

___________________________________________________________________________________________________

Article III (Membership and Eligibility Criteria)

Section A:  Membership is open to any Luther College student who:

1._________________________________________________________________________________________________

2._________________________________________________________________________________________________

3._________________________________________________________________________________________________

Section B:  Dues and collection procedures (if any)

        The fiscal year of the organization, shall be from ________________ to_______________________________ (month and date)

        The amount of annual dues shall be determined each year by _______________________________________        

        Dues shall not exceed $_____________ per year.

The disbursement of dues shall not be based on race, creed, religion, sex, or national origin.

Article IV (Voting)

Section A:  A quorum will be ____________________________________________________________________________

Section B:  Each member in good standing may vote.

Section C:  Proxy voting is allowed by the following process:

___________________________________________________________________________________________________

___________________________________________________________________________________________________

___________________________________________________________________________________________________

Article V (Officers)

Section A:  The (name of organization)________________ shall have a President, Vice President, Secretary and/or Treasurer, Advisor (these titles may vary for your organization, or you may choose not to have officers at all but to have team leaders of equal standing and operate on a consensus model).  These officers comprise the Executive Committee or Board.

Section B:  All officers must be members of ____________________________________________(name of group)

Section C:  The term of office shall be from _________________________(month/date) to _______________________(month/date)

Section D:  Election of officers shall be held _________________(annually/month)

         At least two weeks notice shall be given before the election meeting.  Nominations shall be initiated from the floor and elections done by a ballot.  The person receiving majority vote will be elected.

Section E:  Any officer may be removed from membership by a two-thirds vote of the Executive Board.  Any officer removed may appeal to the general membership.  Said officer shall be considered reinstated with two-thirds approval of the members.

Section F:  Any vacancy which may occur in an office shall be filled by appointment by the president pending ratification at the next group business meeting.

Article VI (Duties of Officers Defined- This is only one possible way to organize duties - you may decide on a different division of labor for your officers.)

Section A:  The President

        1. The president shall be the chief executive officer .

        2. The president shall appoint all committee chairpersons

        3. The president, with approval of the executive board, directs the budget

        4. Vacancies in offices will be filled by appointment of the President with approval of the general membership.

Section B:  The Vice President

        1. The vice president shall be the parliamentarian for the organization.

        2. The vice president shall assume the duties of the president should the office become vacant, or in the absence of the president.

        3. The vice president will keep and have available current copies of the constitution and bylaws.

        4. The vice president will be responsible for scheduling programs.

Section C:   The Secretary        

        1. The secretary shall be responsible for keeping the minutes of all meetings and the meetings of the executive board.

        2. The secretary will provide a copy of the minutes for each officer and keep a master file.

        3. The secretary shall maintain a complete and accurate account of attendance and membership status.

Section D:  Treasurer

        1. The treasurer shall keep a current record of all financial transactions.

        2. The treasurer shall develop quarterly reports containing a list of all receipts and disbursements and distribute them among the membership.

        3. The treasurer will be responsible for checking the accuracy of all bills and invoices and paying them correctly and on time.

        4. The treasurer will perform other duties as directed by the president.

Section E:   Advisor

        1. The advisor shall assist the group in their execution of roles and responsibilities.

        2.  The advisor shall provide feedback to the organization regarding its operation and functioning.

        3. The advisor shall serve as a resource.

        4. The advisor should provide advice upon request, and also should share knowledge, expertise, and experience with the group.

        5. The advisor will be a nonvoting member of the organization.

Article VII (the structure of group committees)

Section A:  Committee Identification and Appointment
The following committees (other than Executive Board) shall be appointed by the President subject to ratification by the organization during a regular business meeting.

        1.________________________________________________________________

        2.________________________________________________________________

        3.________________________________________________________________

Section B:  The duties of the standing committees shall include: (provide details of responsibilities respective to the committee.

Article VIII (notice of meetings)

Section A:  The times for regularly scheduled meetings shall be: ___________________________

Section B:  At least _________ days notice shall be given for each regular business meeting.

Section C:  Special or emergency meetings may be called with less than_______ hours/days notice by the Executive Board.

Section D:  The meetings shall include a quorum, order of business, and disposition of the minutes.

Article IX:  (parliamentary procedure)

Section A:  (Example) Robert’s Rules of Order Revised shall be followed by the organization in all cases involving parliamentary procedure when it does not conflict with the constitution.

Section B:  The rules may be suspended by two-thirds vote of the present membership.