PDF: SCJ Handbook & Constitution (add)

Society for Collegiate Journalists Constitution

Article I—Name and Purpose

Section 1—This organization shall be known as the Society for Collegiate Journalists, a national honorary society for collegiate mass communications, journalism, and other media. It is a not-for-profit organization operating on campuses of recognized and accredited colleges, universities and institutes awarding degrees upon completion of a two-year or a four-year program.

Section 2—Subject to the requirements and limitations set forth in the articles of incorporation, the purposes of this organization shall be to improve the quality of student mass communications, journalism and other media at the college level.

It shall teach the ethics, techniques and mechanics of such media to encourage student participation in local campus communications, journalism and other media; to strengthen the student media of publishing and broadcasting; and to promote the understanding and the support of freedom of student expression including freedom of speech and press for all college students.

The Society will urge adequate and stable financing by the college for student media. The Society will reward student communicators for their efforts, services, and accomplishments by admitting those students into its membership.

Section 3—This organization shall be incorporated under the General Not-for-Profit Corporation Act of the State of Illinois.

Article II—Membership

Section 1—Classes of Membership: There shall be four classes of membership: (1) Active, (2) Honorary, (3) Alumni, and (4) Post-Graduates who elect a two-year provision to join the Society of Professional Journalists.

Section 2—Right to Confer Membership: The right to confer membership in Active, Honorary, or Alumni members shall reside in local campus chapters, the National Council of the Society of Collegiate Journalists, or in the biennial National Convention.

The Society of Professional Journalists will award the Two-year Membership upon Society for Collegiate Journalist Graduates electing to seek that membership prior to becoming professional members of the Society of Professional Journalists.

Participating Associates will be designated by local campus chapters.

Section 3—Active Membership shall consist of any student enrolled in an institution where a chapter of the Society is established. Selection for membership shall be based on the following criteria: (1) the candidate shall be a student in good academic standing on a campus where a chapter of the Society exists, (2) the candidate shall have worked for an accredited communications medium, (3) the candidate’s work should demonstrate a commitment to the ideals of the profession, and (4) the candidate will be selected by his or her peers in recognition of significant contributions.

Section 4—Alumni Membership: Upon graduation or the ending of class attendance at college, active members become alumni members. Alumni members are welcome to continue affiliation with their local chapter and should be contacted if they have indicated this desire to the local chapter. Persons who were unable to become active members while in college, yet who were active publication or broadcast staff members, may be designated as alumni members if they so desire.

Section 5—Post-Graduate SPJ Membership: Persons who have been members in good standing with the Society for Collegiate Journalists are eligible to join the Society of Professional Journalists immediately upon graduation from a college or university and enjoy the same benefits as campus members of the Society of Professional Journalists who graduate. No person may be a Post-Graduate Member under this plan for more than two years. These Post-Graduate Members must pay current national dues of the Society of Professional Journalists to hold this special membership, vote or hold office, or serve as a delegate at annual Society of Professional Journalists conventions. Membership fees for this post-graduate status in SPJ are one-half the normal membership charges. At the end of or during this post-graduate status, a person may join the Society of Professional Journalists if that person desires to become a professional journalist.

Campus members of the Society for Collegiate Journalists may participate in several Society of Professional Journalists activities such as their regional conferences, their “jobs for journalists” services, and their national convention.

Section 6—Honorary Membership may be conferred by local chapters, the National Council, or the National Convention upon any person who has been identified as having promoted interest or encouraged participation in journalism or allied fields.

Section 7—Participating Associates: Professional journalists, members of the Society of Professional Journalists, members of journalistic organizations, or persons supportive of free campus media may be invited by local chapters to participate in meetings and projects and to serve as a board of chapter advisers.

Article III—Election to Membership

Section 1—Election to membership in all classes, except the Society of Professional Journalists Post-Graduate category, shall be by open ballot at a meeting of a local chapter, or a meeting of the National Council of the Society for Collegiate Journalists, or at its National Convention and shall require:

(a) in the case of local chapters, a favorable plurality of the active members present and voting, provided there is a quorum present at said meeting of at least 60 percent of all active members;

(b) in the case of the National Council, a favorable plurality of its membership; and

(c) in the case of the National Convention, a favorable plurality vote of all delegates present, including National Council officers.

Section 2—Post-Graduate Membership in the Society of Professional Journalists: An individual who has graduated as a member of the Society of Collegiate Journalists may apply for the status of a Post-Graduate Member of the Society of Professional Journalists by contacting that organization’s National Office by mail, 3909 N. Meridian Street, Indianapolis, Ind. 46208.

The Executive Director of the Society for Collegiate Journalists will inform the Society of Professional Journalists of the names of members graduating each year. Local chapters will provide names of graduates to the Executive Director. Local chapters that fail to submit the names of graduates will not be eligible for the SPJ post-graduate membership.

Article IV—Chapters

Section 1—The chapters shall be the unit of organization of the Society, and the formation of chapters in institutions of recognized and accredited educational standing shall be encouraged.

Section 2—A charter shall be granted and a chapter formed when a petition in writing has been received from a minimum of four students duly registered in an accredited college, university, or institute of learning; the petition must also include the signature of a faculty advisor.

Section 3—Two complete copies of the formal petition must be submitted to the Executive Director.

The Executive Director shall approve petitions for chapter charters.

Authorized chapters shall be duly installed when practicable by the Executive Director or a member of the National Council appointed by the Executive Director after favorable action has been taken and chapters granted to the petitioning groups.

Section 3—It is imperative that the chapters, either its officers or advisor, inform the Executive Director of the change of a faculty advisor. This information should be forwarded as quickly as possible by mail, a telephone call, fax, or e-mail.

Section 4—An Active Chapter shall be one which has been granted that right legally by the National Council and is entitled thereby to all rights and privileges of membership under this constitution.

Section 5—Each Active Chapter shall hold an annual election of officers before the end of the college year or at the beginning of a new term, whichever is practical, and report the names and offices held thereby to the National Council via the copy of the National Executive Director’s Report, which provides that three copies shall be made, one for the President, one for the Executive Director, and one copy to be retained in the chapter’s file. Blank copies of this report are supplied by the Executive Director.

Article V—National Government

Section 1—The National Council shall comprise six members with university affiliation who are honorary or alumni members of the Society. In addition, four chapters will be designated to serve on the Council. One of these designated chapters shall be the chapter that will host the next National Convention. Election of these members will be by the delegates assembled at the convention.

Each member of this National Council has one equal vote.

(a) It shall be the duty of the National Council to conduct the affairs of the Society and to see that the chapters function properly.

(b) The National Council shall hold meetings when advisable.

(c) The majority of the members of the National Council present at a National Council meeting shall constitute a quorum.

(d) The National Council shall have the power:

  • to grant chapter charters,
  • to take into its safekeeping the charter of any chapter in the event it becomes necessary to discharge temporarily the administrative functions of that chapter for the benefit of the chapter or the Society,
  • to appoint editor or editors, with exception of the Society’s newsletter, of Society publications who shall be responsible to the National Second Vice-President, and
  • to appropriate funds for the general purposes of the Society and to collect the designated assessment fees on chapters.

Section 2—The National Officers of the Society shall consist of a National President, National First Vice-President, National Second Vice President, National Third Vice-President, National Executive Director, National Immediate Past President and four active Chapter Representatives.

(a) The National Council posts of National President, Immediate Past President, National First Vice-President, National Second Vice-President, National Third Vice-President, and National Executive Director shall be faculty, alumni, or honorary members and shall be elected at a Convention.

(b) The other four National Council posts shall be student members representing chapters elected at a convention, one of which shall be from the chapter hosting the next convention.

(c) All officers of the National Council shall be members of the Society in good standing.

(d) All National Council members shall be elected at each Convention and hold office for two years, except that the Executive Director and the National President shall be elected at a Convention and shall hold office for four years. The President and the Executive Director should be elected in alternating election cycles. All terms of office shall coincide with the fiscal year.

Section 3—Duties of National Officers shall be the following:

(a) The National President shall preside at all sessions of the National Council and the Convention and shall appoint a parliamentarian for each National Convention. This office shall enforce due observance of the Constitution, Bylaws, and Ritual of the Society. The National President shall serve as ex-officio member of all National Council committees.

(b) The Vice Presidents shall serve the Society. One of the Vice-Presidents shall perform the duties of the National President in the latter’s absence or disability, beginning with the First Vice President and following in descending order. The Vice Presidents will be responsible for the following duties, assigned by the National President:

  1. Recruiting and retention
  2. Coordinating the contest and awards
  3. Coordinating the publications

(c) The National Executive Director shall keep the records of the Society and will maintain accounting records in accordance with standard finance accounting procedures; procure and distribute the official insignia and membership certificates; secure from the chapters an individual Report of Initiation form pertaining to initiation of members; cause to have embossed and framed Chapter Charter Certificates for presentation to new chapters as soon as possible after favorable action granting chapter charter to a new group has taken place; arrange for distribution of Medal of Merit awards to awardees; have embossed Citation Certificates where these are to be awarded; report the condition of the treasury and records for National Conventions; and perform whatever other duties deemed advisable and which would rightfully fall within the capacity of this executive office. He/she shall be responsible for publishing and distributing the Society’s newsletter to keep chapters informed of Society happenings. In general, it shall be the duty of this office to function in such a manner that information of the Society may be available at all times, and to take any action advisable for the best interests of the Society.

(d) The Immediate Past President shall sit at all National Council meetings and offer his or her advice and counsel. The Immediate Past President shall recommend candidates for the annual national awards.

Section 4—National Office: A National Office shall be established by the National Executive Director so that information about the Society may be available at all times. The expense incident incurred in the conducting of this office shall be defrayed by the Society from its treasury.

Section 5—Expenses: The expenses of all National Council officers while conducting the official business of the Society shall be defrayed by the Society from its Treasury.

Section 6—The National Council shall, through the National Executive Director, present a record of each of its sessions to the chapters as soon as possible thereafter.

Article VI—National Convention

Section 1—The National Council shall make the necessary arrangements to hold the biennial National Convention so that bonds among the chapters may be strengthened and matters concerning the welfare of the Society discussed.

Section 2—A committee of the National Convention shall consider the requests submitted by active chapters during the convention to host the next regularly scheduled convention. The committee shall make its recommendation to the convention as a whole, which shall vote on the site for the next convention.

Section 3—The National Convention voting body shall consist of the members of the National Council and not more than two official delegates for each of the active chapters whose names have been certified with the National Executive Director.

Section 4—Each National Convention Delegate shall have the right to one vote, except when chapters are represented by only one official delegate, in which case that delegate shall have the right to cast two votes. Voting by proxy is permitted in the case of National Council members. National Council members each shall have one vote on all issues considered at the National Convention.

Section 5—The National Council shall be responsible for finding a host school. If practicable, the National Council could arrange a biennial convention at the locale, time, and place of national and/or regional meetings of other professional or educational associations at the discretion of the National Council.

Section 6—Expenses: The National Council shall determine what shall constitute the expenses incident to the National Convention. Such expenses shall be dispensed from the treasury of the Society.

Section 7—Quorum: A quorum shall consist of representation from a simple majority of those chapters registered at the convention.

Article VII—Charter and Membership Control

Section 1—Any member or chapter may resign or withdraw from this Society.

Section 2—The National Council shall recommend that the National Convention shall revoke the Charter and all rights and privileges under this constitution of any chapter which fails to hold yearly elections; neglects to make authorized or requested returns or remit fees; fails to fulfill financial chapter obligations; purchases, through other than official channels ,insignia or certificates of membership; or directly refuses to abide by the laws of the Society. The National Council may remove a chapter from active roll after a period of five years of inactive participation.

Section 3—The National Convention by a unanimous vote, exclusive of that of the chapter under indictment, may revoke the charter of that chapter.

Section 4—The National Convention by unanimous vote, exclusive of that of the member under indictment, may expel from membership that member.

Section 5—The National Council, by unanimous vote of all members present at a duly called meeting, may suspend a Chapter or Member, but in every case, appeal over this suspension may be made to the National Convention for final decision.

Article VIII—Rights of Chapters

Section 1—Officers of Chapters: Subject to the provisions of this constitution, each chapter has the right to choose its own officers, manage its own finances, elect its own delegates to the National Convention, and conduct such activities as conform to the best interests of the Society.

Section 2—The officers shall be Chapter President, Chapter Vice President, Chapter Secretary, Chapter Treasurer, and Chapter Historian, or any combination thereof.

Section 3—There shall be an adviser whose duty it is to see that the chapter is always in direct contact with the National Council and the National Executive Director. The adviser’s greatest service is encouragement of chapter officers and members to maintain a well-organized program of activities. Of equal importance is the adviser’s role in providing continuity of the chapter’s life from year to year. An advisory board could assist in these responsibilities.

Article IX—Bylaws

Section 1—The National Council and the individual chapters may adopt Bylaws not specifically hereinafter specified as the occasion arises, subject to the provision that they shall not be inconsistent with the National Constitution.

Article X—Amendments

Section 1—All proposed Amendments to this Constitution shall be submitted in writing to the National Executive Director.

Section 2—Upon receipt of the proposed Amendment or Amendments, the National Executive Director shall print and distribute these to the members of the National Convention for consideration at the next business meeting of that Convention. Amendments require two-thirds ratification vote of the assembled delegates at the National Convention.