How to Write a Constitution
This guide outlines and describes the articles, sections and paragraphs that should be included in an organizationís constitution.
All statements should be complete sentences. If a list is to be included, it should be included within a sentence. Constitutions should be organized in the following manner:
Article #: General Heading of article
Section #: Next Specific Heading
Paragraph #: Specific item or further delineated subheading pertaining to section
See the following for an example:
Article 1: Name
State the name of the organization.
Article 2: Purpose
Include a general statement regarding the goals and objectives of the organization. Organizational purposes may be educationally, service, entertainment, or socially-oriented. Oftentimes, local chapters of national organizations may have stated purposes in their constitutions and/or by-laws from headquarters.
Article 3: Membership
Section 1: Eligibility
State who is eligible for membership in the organization. Organizational membership is not limited to students. Alumni, faculty, and staff may be members if their membership is germane to the purposes of the organization. TAMU at Galveston requires student members to maintain a 2.0 GPA in order to participate in co-curricular activities. Eligibility requirements may include such requirements as a GPA higher than 2.0, having a specific declared major, residing in a certain residence area, etc.
Section 2: Selection
If specific selection criteria exist, state them here. For example, members may be required to complete applications, attend meeting, pay dues, reside in specific residence halls, choose certain major fields of study, etc.
Section 3: Classes/types of membership
If there are different classes of membership, describe them here. Each class should be described in a separate paragraph. Organizations are not required to have different classes of membership. Some elect to include active and inactive. Others include classes such as alumni, honorary, student, and/or professional. TAMU at Galveston requires that only student members be permitted to hold office or vote.
Section 4: Revoking membership
If members can lose their status as members, describe such circumstances here. For example, students may lose their membership status if their GPA falls below a certain level. Organizations may also revoke studentsí membership for failure to attend meetings, meet responsibilities, or adhere to a code of ethics. Typically, a vote during a general or regularly scheduled meeting must be taken, with a 2/3 majority voting in favor of revocation of memberís membership status in order to revoke membership.
Article 4: Offices
Section 1: Officer Responsibilities
List the offices included in the governance of the organization and give description of their duties and responsibilities.
Section 2: Term of office
State the length of term of the offices. If offices are filled for different term lengths, be sure to differentiate. In addition, be specific as to the beginning and end of the term. TAMUG requires that elections are held before April 1st, but this does not mean that officer terms must start at this time. Terms can begin once that semester is completed. (May1-April 30)
Section 3:Nominations and elections
If officers are elected, include a sentence stating that they are elected.
Paragraph 1: Eligibility
Describe specific officer eligibility here. TAMU at Galveston requires that officers must be currently enrolled students. Other criteria may include a certain minimum GPA, previously serving the organization in another capacity, etc.
Paragraph 2: Nomination procedures
Describe how candidates for offices are nominated. For example, candidates may be nominated by the executive council, a nominating committee, "from the floor" by the general membership, or by some combination of these.
Paragraph 3: Election procedures
Describe how elections will be conducted and the margin of ballots cast in order to be elected. Elections may be conducted at a general meeting of the membership or by casting ballots during a pre-established time. Votes may be cast by a show of hands or by secret ballot. Margins required for election range from a majority of members present to 2/3 of the votes cast during a regularly scheduled meeting or the organization?
Section 6: Vacancies
Include a general statement regarding office vacancies.
Paragraph 1: Resignations
Describe what is required of an officer in order to resign from an office.
Paragraph 2: Removal
Describe what circumstances may result in the removal of an officer from office as well as the procedure for such removal.
Paragraph 3: Filling vacancies
Describe the procedure for filling vacancies in offices. When vacancies occur, the president or the officers my appoint replacements or they may be elected by the officers or the general membership.
Article 5: Committees
If standing or ad hoc committees are to be included in the governance and operation of the organization, describe them here. If both standing and ad hoc committees are part of the organizational structure, describe each in a separate section. Describe how committee members and chairs will be chosen. If ad hoc committees are used, describe how these committees will be established. For example, ad hoc committees may be established at the will of the president or as projects arise from organization business.
Article 6: Finance
If an organization requires funds to operate, their source, oversight, maintenance, and disbursement should be described here.
Section 1: Oversight
Typically, the treasurer is charged with the oversight of organizational funds. If so, be sure that such responsibilities are described in Article 4: Offices Section 1: Officer Responsibilities
Section 2: Source of funding
Indicate how funds will be accumulated. For example, some organizations elect to charge dues. Others rely upon fundraising efforts. Some rely on both. If dues are to be collected, state the amount and frequency here. Organizations may also wish to make provisions for members who join at different time during the year. The following must be included in this section: "All funds raised by this organization must be deposited in the Student Organizations account within 24 hours."
Section 3: Maintenance of funds
The following must be included in this section: "All monies belonging to this organization shall be deposited and disbursed through a bank account established for this organization by the Office of Student Life."
Section 4: Disbursement of funds
All requests for funding, whether through check or purchase order, must be approved by one of the two authorized club officers and the organizationsí advisor. All requests must include a receipt or invoice.
Article 7: Rules of procedure
Rules and regulations peculiar to the conduction of organization business should be stated here.
Section 1: Meetings
Indicate frequency, and, if appropriate, occurrences of meeting here. Organizations may meet monthly, semi-monthly [bi-monthly is once every 2 months], weekly, etc. Some organizations state that meetings will occur on specific days of the month, week, etc.
Section 2: Attendance
State specific attendance requirements/expectations here. If specific attendance requirements exist, be sure that record maintenance associated with attendance has been assigned in Article 4: Offices; Section 1: Officer Responsibilities.
Section 3 Quorum
A quorum is the minimum number of members required to be present at a meeting in order to conduct the business of the organization. It may be stated as a specific number [NOT RECOMMEDED] or a fraction or percentage of the active membership.
Section 4: Minutes
State any requirements for maintaining meeting minutes. It is recommended that all organizations make provisions for maintaining meeting minutes. If so stated, be sure that an associated responsibility/duty has been assigned in Article 4: Offices; Section 1: Officer Responsibilities.
Article 9: Amendments
Describe how this constitution may be amended. Indicate who may propose amendments, how such proposed amendments are reviewed, and how they are decided. Be sure to state the minimum voting requirements for passing a constitutional amendment. TAMUG requires that all amendments be approved by the Director of Student Life.
Signature of President Date
Signature of Advisor Date