A National Organization: Of, By, and For Members
The Society is governed through its National Council, which serves as the Board of Directors and has supreme executive authority within the framework of the National Constitution and Bylaws. The Council is elected at the biennial convention and serves for a two-year period.
The Council consists of a President, Vice President for Communication, Vice President for Conference, Vice President for Contests, Associate Vice President for Contests, Vice President for Mentoring, Vice President for Philanthropy & Programming, Executive Director, and Past Presidents. These members shall be elected from Society alumni and/or chapter advisers. Four other members, representing chapter membership on the council, shall be elected from the students at the National Convention. One of the student members shall represent the college or university that will be the site for the next National Convention.
The National Convention shall be the major policy-making body of the Society and shall have the authority to establish and amend the National Constitution and Bylaws. The National Convention shall elect all the National Officers and determine through its procedures the operation of the Society for the next two years or until another National Convention is held.
Chapter Charter Fee
The one-time chapter charter fee is $30, and gives the petitioning group the right to organize a chapter on its local campus. The fee should accompany the formal petition for a chapter. The fee is used to help defray the expenses of the National Headquarters in the processing of the application and the printing of the National Charter Certificate for each petitioning group. There is a $15 fee for reactivating a chapter.
Local Chapters: The Heart of the Society
The local chapter is the unit or organization on a specific campus, and its name shall be the name of the local college or university. Where the name is designed to honor a specific individual, it shall be called the (name of the honoree) Chapter of the Society for Collegiate Journalists at (the name of the college or university).
Each local chapter shall hold an annual election of officers. The officers should include, but not be limited to, a President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer and Historian, or any combination thereof.
It is vital that the local chapters maintain close ties with the National Headquarters and the Executive Director. It is important that the annual report be forwarded to the National Headquarters and that required records and information on local chapter activities also be sent to National Headquarters on a regular basis.
Individual Initiation Fee
In order to carry out the essential work of the Society, support the various projects sponsored for the benefit of the membership, and extend the organization, funds are necessary. These funds are obtained through the one-time assessment of an initiation fee. This fee serves as the registration fee with the National Headquarters. A student is registered as an active member for a fee of $30. The fee for all other memberships shall also be $30.
While the initiation fee is less than the cost of a typical textbook, some struggling student journalists rely on their campus newspaper, yearbook, or station to cover the cost of membership.
All fees are to be forwarded to the Executive Director by the chapter as soon as possible after candidates for membership have been selected. One institutional (or personal) check covering all new members in each initiation is decidedly preferred from each chapter. The Executive Director shall, in return, send each new member a Society pin, a certificate of membership, and a copy of the Society’s Handbook through the official campus contact.
The pin is the insignia of the Society. Pins and certificates of membership cannot be obtained from any other source except the National Headquarters, because the Society wishes to safeguard its insignia and certificate.
The Student Press Law Center
Throughout its history, the Society for Collegiate Journalists has held firm in its belief that a free and uncensored press is imperative in any democracy. To that end, SCJ has established a supportive working relationship with the Student Press Law Center (SPLC).
The SPLC is the nation’s only legal assistance agency devoted exclusively to educating both high school and college journalists about the rights and responsibilities embodied in the First Amendment; among these are libel, invasion of privacy, confidentiality, copyright infringement, and freedom of information. The SPLC also supports student news media in their legal battles for press freedom.
Founded in 1974 as a non-profit organization, the Student Press Law Center was established to fight unnecessary suppression of student media and to provide free legal assistance for student journalists and their advisers. The SPLC Executive Director is an attorney, and its corporate Board of Directors is comprised of delegates from 11 professional and scholastic press associations.
The SPLC publishes three issues of the SPLC Report each year, in addition to updated editions of its book, Law of the Student Press. Both are available for purchase from the SPLC.
If you have any questions about legal rights or responsibilities in the student press, write or call the Student Press Law Center. All legal services are provided free of cost to student journalists, faculty advisers, and those working with the student press.
The SPLC was selected as the SCJ National Philanthropy at the 2004 National Convention.