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Handbook for Student Organizations

Model Constitution

An organization’s constitution is a written document that incorporates the organization’s basic principles and rules, and defines the way in which it will be governed. Please use the model below as a guide creating your own constitution. The items marked with a (CR) are constitutional requirements that must appear in your constitution. If you have any questions regarding the importance of any of the following points, or if you need help in formulating your constitution, contact the Campus Affairs Commission Director or the Student Senate Program Associate. The constitution must be typed in full before it will be reviewed by the Campus Affairs Commission.

Approved January 1, 2015 (CR)

By a vote of 20-14-5 (CR)

Article I: Name and Purpose

Section 1: “The name of this organization is…” (CR)
    •    An organization’s name may not duplicate the name of any other recognized group.
    •    If UW-Eau Claire or Eau Claire is used in the title, please place it at the end of the
         organization’s name (i.e., The Jolly Laughers of UW-Eau Claire).

Section 2: “The purpose of this organization will be to…” (CR)

Section 3: “[Name of organization] will be responsible for the observance of the rules and regulations established by the university.” (CR)

Article II: Membership

Section 1: “Members of the organization must be UW-Eau Claire students, faculty, or staff members, or community members.”
    •    Include a provision that UW-Eau Claire students must make up a minimum of
         three-fourths of the organization’s membership (CR)
    •    Information about new membership and honorary membership may be included here.

Section 2: “Consistent with all applicable federal and state laws and University policies, this organization and its subordinate bodies, officers and members shall extend membership and all membership privileges, including voting and eligibility to hold office, to all students without regard to age, ethnicity, gender (except as otherwise permitted by Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972), disability, color, national origin or ancestry, religion, sexual orientation or expression, veteran status, or parental or marital status.” (CR)
    •    This statement must be included verbatim.
    •    Those student organizations that select their members on the basis of commitment to a set of beliefs (e.g. religious or political beliefs) may limit membership and leadership positions in the organization to students who affirm that they support the organization’s goals and agree with its beliefs.

Section 3: “The primary control of the [name of organization] rests with the student members.” (CR)

Section 4: “[Name of organization] will be responsible for the observance of rules and regulations established by the University.” (CR)

Section 5: “[Name of organization] will not use funds collected from member dues, fees, or
fundraising efforts to purchase alcohol or promotional materials for events that can only legally be attended by those of a certain age.” (CR)
    •    This statement must be included verbatim.

Section 6: “[Name of organization] must hold all official meetings and official events requiring attendance in facilities and establishments that allow persons of any age entry.” (CR)

Article III: Officers

Section 1: “All leadership positions in [name of organization] must be held by students enrolled at UW-Eau Claire for at least half-time. Half-time is a minimum of six (6) credits for undergraduates and three (3) credits for graduate students.” (CR)

The remainder of this section contains the following:
    •    A list of the officer positions and their duties available within the organization
    •    Qualifications required for holding office
    •    An outline of the procedures for conducting elections, including a statement that the
         procedures will be fair and democratic in nature (CR)
    •    Procedures for conducting nomination and election process for executive board
         positions,including a statement that elections will be fair (reasonable and unbiased)
         and democratic (inclusive of all members and self-governed) in nature, and the time
         frame and specific
         dates must be included in relation to the election and transition of officers (CR)
    •    A provision establishing quorum (minimum percentage of voting members that must
         be present at meetings to make the proceedings of the meetings valid) (CR)
    •    A statement outlining the percentage of members that must be present in order to
         conduct business (CR)
    •    A statement outlining the percentage of votes that business must receive in order
         to pass (CR)
    •    A statement outlining the percentage of votes that an amendment must receive in
         order to pass (if different than above) (CR)
    •    Recall and vacancy procedures for executive board positions and members (CR)

Article IV: Advisor

Section 1: “The advisor must be a UW-Eau Claire faculty or staff member. (CR) The advisor shall be appointed by the organization.”

Section 2: “The responsibilities of the advisor are…”

Article V: Amendments

•    This section contains information about how to make amendments to the constitution.
     Making an amendment requires that previous notification be given to members, in
     writing, and also a two-thirds or three-fourths affirmative vote of members voting for
     its adoption.
•    Amending the constitution should not be too easy, and the constitution should always
     carry the date it was last reviewed. It is a good idea to insert in parentheses the dates
     of which amendments are passed (this information needs to be in the upper right hand
     corner of the constitution, as shown above). Constitutions need to be reviewed and
     updated annually.
•    Constitutions on file in the Student Organizations and Leadership Center will be deemed
     official by the university and the Student Senate.


Bylaws (optional) supplement the constitution by containing more detailed information about each article. They are written in a similar format as the constitution (i.e. Articles and Sections). Bylaws address the following issues:
    •    Members’ rights, duties, resignations, and expulsions
    •    Initiation fees, dues, assessments, delinquencies
    •    Names and duties of standing committees, and methods for choosing chairpersons
         and members of them
    •    Provision for rules of order or parliamentary manual to be used, such as
         Robert’s Rules of Order, Revised
    •    Provision for permitting honorary member or officers if group so desires
    •    A method for amending bylaws (usually a majority vote)