Constitution of The Society of Professional Journalists

UW-Eau Claire Chapter

Article I:  Name and Purpose

Section 1: Name:  The official name of the organization shall be “Society of Professional Journalists: University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire chapter,” which may be simplified to “UWEC-SPJ” for university purposes.

Section 2: Purpose:  UWEC-SPJ exists at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire to associate journalists of talent, truth and energy into a more intimately organized unit of good fellowship, and to assist the members in acquiring the noblest principles of journalism and to cooperate with them in this field.  UWEC-SPJ is for journalists in or intending to enter news-editorial journalism or newspapers, magazines, press or syndicate services, professional or business publications, radio and television; or the teaching of journalism.

Section 3: University Regulations:  UWEC-SPJ will be responsible for the observance of the rules and regulations established by the university.

Article II:  Membership

Section 1: Classes:  There shall be three classes of campus membership.

            Subsection A:  Members of the organization must be UW-Eau Claire students, faculty or emeriti faculty, or staff members, or community members interested in journalism. UW-Eau Claire students must make up a minimum of three-fourths of the organization’s membership.

            Subsection B:  Undergraduate & Graduate:  Those freshmen, sophomore, junior and senior undergraduates, or graduate students engaged in or intending to engage in the study of journalism while maintaining a grade point average considered in “good standing at the University” are eligible. *See Art. II, Sec. 6, Subsection A for explanation of fees and dues*

            Subsection C:  Professional and Faculty:  Those candidates who have been engaged in the practice of professional journalism or journalism education, as defined by the Society, for at least one year; who are principally so engaged at the time of election; and who signify intention of remaining in journalism or journalism education as their life’s work are eligible for membership.

            Subsection D:  Honorary:  The chapter may elect honorary members to the Society.  There are not specific requirements for honorary membership. 

Section 2:  Non-Discrimination:  “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.”

Section 3:  The primary control of UWEC-SPJ rests with the student members.

Section 4:  UWEC-SPJ 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.”

Section 5:  Membership Privileges:  Only undergraduate and graduate members will have the right to vote, but all classes of membership will carry the other parliamentary privileges.

Section 6:  Voluntary Withdrawal:  Any member may terminate his/her SPJ membership in the UWEC chapter by notifying the faculty advisor.

Section 7: Responsibility for Conduct: All UWEC-SPJ members are individually responsible for their conduct at all times.

Section 8: Initiation: The chapter will have an annual fall initiation following its first official business meeting (usually October). Dues must be paid by this time if the student wishes to be initiated that semester. The chapter’s membership committee is responsible for recruitment of new members. An informational meeting for prospective members must be held at least four weeks prior to the initiation ceremonies. All paid members will receive a chapter membership card. The chapter may decide to hold an initiation in the spring to recruit new members.

            Subsection A:  Chapter fees and dues:  Chapter fees will be $5 annually and must be paid within 30 days of the start of the fall semester unless a member is given an extension by the executive board.  Both subcategories of membership must pay this chapter fee. 

                        Subcategory I: Associate members of UWEC-SPJ will pay UWEC-SPJ $5 annual membership dues.

                        Subcategory II:  National SPJ members will pay their dues directly to the national organization.  Information can be found at www.spj.org

Section 9: Expulsion: Any UWEC-SPJ member may be removed by a two-thirds affirmative vote of the society at any regular business meeting.

Article III:  Meetings

Section 1:  Business Meetings:  The society shall have at least one business meeting a month.  The first of these must be held within one month following the beginning of the first semester of each school year.

Section 2:  Special Meetings:  The president or the majority of the executive board may, upon 24 hours notice, call a special meeting of the society.

Section 3:  Parliamentary Guide:  At all UWEC-SPJ meetings where business is conducted, Robert’s Rules of Order, Revised shall be the source of all parliamentary rules and regulations.

Section 4:  Quorum:  A quorum for conducting business shall be defined as 50-percent of all voting members.

Section 5:  Chapter Control:  Control of the chapter rests with the student membership.

Article IV:  Officers

Section 1: All leadership positions in the Society of Professional Journalists – UW-Eau Claire must be held by students enrolled at UW-Eau Claire at least half-time. Half-time is a minimum of six (6) credits for undergraduates and three (3) credits for graduate students.” To qualify for holding office, leaders must have shown a significant interest in the pursuit of journalism as a profession, and be a national member of SPJ.

Section 2:  Number and Duties:  The executive board shall consist of six members.  The board shall have five fairly and democratically elected officers; president, print vice president, broadcast vice president, secretary and treasurer.  The board will also have one appointed member; webmaster.  The executive board will appoint the web-master by a simple majority vote.

            Subsection A:  President:  The president shall be the chief executive of the chapter, responsible for the general functioning of the chapter, organizing and calling all meetings and presiding at those meetings.  He/she shall be responsible for emailing and relaying messages to the entire organization.  He/she will be in charge of the membership roster.  The president shall also be in charge of elections.  It is up to the president to let the webmaster know of additions that must be added to the chapter website.

            Subsection B:  Print and Broadcast Vice Presidents:  The vice presidents shall fill in for the president when the president is unable to perform his/her expected duties.  The vice president with the most seniority will fill-in for the president if needed.  They shall also act as liaisons between the UWEC Journalism department and the journalism students.  The print vice president shall be responsible for recruiting members and organizing programs from the print side of the journalism spectrum.  The broadcast vice president shall be responsible for recruiting members and organizing programs from the broadcast side of the journalism spectrum.

            Subsection C:  Secretary:  The secretary shall carry on correspondence with the Executive Officer of the Society.  It is imperative that the secretary keep careful records of the proceedings of all chapter meetings and forward those records to the webmaster for publication on the chapter’s website.  These records/minutes of meetings must be forwarded to the webmaster within one week of the meetings.  It shall also be his/her duty to inform the Society as to the condition of his/her chapter.

            Subsection D:  Treasurer:  The treasurer shall have charge of all monies of the chapter and shall disburse funds on proper authorization of the membership.  He/she shall keep records of all receipts, disbursements and balances.  He/She shall report the financial condition of the chapter as requested by the president of the society.

            Subsection E:  Webmaster:  The webmaster shall be appointed by the five elected members of the executive board.  He/she will be in charge of updating the chapter website, located at www.uwec.edu/spj.  It is up to the webmaster to ensure that minutes of the previous meeting are on the website within two weeks after the meeting taking place. 

Section 3:  Elections:  The officers shall be elected at the April business meeting for the following year, or the December business meeting if there are vacancies, by a simple majority of chapter members present and voting, by secret written ballot, and shall assume office immediately for a period of one academic year.  However, if an officer is elected in December, they will only preside in the office until the April election when a new election must be conducted.  Candidates will nominate themselves by emailing the president one month before the election with a candidate statement and photograph.  These candidate statements and photos shall be published on the chapter website so members can be informed voters at the next business meeting.

Section 4:  Candidates for office must be UWEC-SPJ undergraduate or graduate members.  If elected, officers must become national members of SPJ.

Section 5:  Faculty Advisor:  The Chapter advisor shall be approved annually in April by the executive board.  He/She may be chosen to succeed him/herself for any number of successive years.  At least one advisor must be a UWEC faculty or staff member and shall be appointed by the organization.  The chapter advisor will be charged with the duties of attending meetings regularly, acting as advisor of the chapter at all times, and of providing, whenever possible, a permanent place of safekeeping for the books, documents and records of the chapter and its officers.

Section 6:  Removal of Officers:  Any UWEC-SPJ officer may be removed by a two-thirds affirmative vote of the society at any regular business meeting.

Section 7: Quorum: A minimum of three members must be present at executive and general meetings in order to establish quorum for meeting validity. In addition, at least three members must be present in order to conduct business.

Section 8: To pass business or an amendment, there must be a majority vote in order to pass.

Article V:  Committees

Section 1:  Executive Board:  The officers of UWEC-SPJ shall constitute an executive board.  This executive board shall meet once a month, the week immediately following a general meeting, to discuss and plan for the next general meeting.  This executive board shall be responsible for compiling lists of prospective members, creating new and innovative program ideas and finding ways to raise chapter funds.  The executive board will also have the power to create other committees on a temporary basis for the execution of special duties.

Article VI:  Amendments

Section 1:  the Constitution may be amended at any regular business by a majority voice vote of those members present and voting.  All proposed amendments must be in writing and circulated to the membership at least 24 hours before the meeting via the chapter’s website.  Such amendments will be submitted to the Student Senate Organizations Commission.

Article VII:  Bylaws

Section 1:  Creation:  Bylaws to this Constitution may be created at any business meeting by a simple majority vote of those members present and voting.

Section 2:  Amendments:  The Bylaws of this Constitution may be amended at any business meeting by a majority voice vote of those UWEC-SPJ members present and voting.

Revised Aug. 30, 1976

Revised Jan. 30, 1987

Revised Dec. 12, 2006

Revised March 14, 2012


Copyright 2010, Society of Professional Journalists, University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire
Webmaster, Liz Dohms