Constitution

PREAMBLE

Freethought is the application of critical thinking to all areas of human experience, unconstrained by tradition or authority. Freethinkers value rational and empirical investigation, individual freedom and responsibility, and the need for tolerance and cooperation. Freethinkers are often skeptics, humanists, agnostics, deists, and atheists. Freethinking emphasizes the primacy of reason.

ARTICLE 1 – Name and Purpose

Section 1 – Name

The exact title of this organization is ‘Freethinkers at Virginia Tech’; this title may be abbreviated “Free@VT.”

Section 2 – Purpose

Free@VT seeks to promote all aspects of freethought to the Virginia Tech community through social and educational activities. This organization will seek to establish a positive social environment for members of the Virginia Tech community who consider themselves rationalists, skeptics, deists, or any variety of non-theist. It will also seek to enrich campus life by sponsoring various events with the intent of fostering dialogue on matters of faith, religious identity, science, reason, and ethics. This organization will also seek out affiliations with individuals, groups, and organizations who wish to join us in promoting freethought.

Be it hereby known that Free@VT abides by all established policies and regulations of Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University (Virginia Tech).

Section 3 – Diversity Statement

We believe that diversity should be openly discussed and celebrated. We strive to create an open, safe space in which people feel free to express different ideas, opinions, and worldviews. Our aim is to promote critical thinking and positive attitudes towards both the similarities and differences in each other. All people are welcome to attend club meetings and events regardless of ability, need, background, lifestyle, culture, national origin, race, religion, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, veteran status, political affiliation, or economic circumstances.

ARTICLE 2 – Membership

Section 1 – Non-Discrimination Statement

Membership in this organization shall not be restricted to any person on the basis of ability, need, background, lifestyle, culture, national origin, race, religion, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, veteran status, political affiliation or economic circumstances.

Section 2 – Membership

Membership in this organization shall be open to all students, faculty, and staff of Virginia Tech as well as to those in the surrounding community who express a genuine interest in actively participating in and promoting the meetings, activities, and goals of the organization.

Section 3 – Membership Requirements

Undergraduate student membership of this organization must be at least fifty-one percent of the total membership. Members shall be fully informed of issues to be voted upon prior to a vote.

Section 4 – Good Standing

Subsection 1 – Criteria

A member who meets the following criteria shall be in good standing:

1. Has read, understood, and agreed to be bound by and uphold the Constitution and Bylaws of this organization.
2. Has completed and submitted a membership application.
3. Has paid current membership dues or provided other material investment.
4. Has participated in recent club activities to a sufficient extent.

Subsection 2 – Privileges

Members in good standing merit the following privileges:

1. Voting rights (extended only to students, faculty, and staff of Virginia Tech)
2. Eligibility for office or to represent the organization

Subsection 3 – Revocation

Failure to observe regulations as established by this constitution and its bylaws shall be considered grounds for revocation of good standing.

ARTICLE 3 – Governance

Section 1 – The Executive Council

The Executive Council shall consist of the following officers:

1. President
2. Vice President
3. Treasurer
4. Secretary
5. Executive-at-Large

The Executive Council shall be responsible for adherence to budget policies and for any other actions necessary and proper to the successful operation of the organization.

Section 2 – Qualifications of Elected Officers

1. To be eligible for any office of this organization, each nominee must be a student enrolled for at least six credit hours per semester.
2. To be eligible for the office of President or Treasurer, a candidate must have been a member in good standing of this organization for at least two consecutive semesters prior to their election. This requirement can be waived for one election with the approval of the majority of members in good standing present.

Section 3 – Elections and Replacement of Elected Officers

1. Nominations from the floor shall be made and elections shall be held to elect all of the organization’s officers at a designated meeting held each spring semester.
2. Officers shall be determined by a majority vote.
3. Terms of the officers-elect will begin immediately after the last regular meeting of the spring semester.
4. Officers-elect will be responsible for learning their duties from the current officers prior to the beginning of their terms.
5. In the event of the recognition of a vacancy of any of these offices, a special election must be held in a timely manner to fill that position. Officers elected in this manner shall begin their terms immediately upon election.
6. No one shall be eligible to hold the same office (with the exception of Executive-at-Large) for more than one full year.
7. Any officer who is unable to perform their duties as deemed by a majority vote of the Executive Council may be brought before the general membership and impeached by a majority vote.
8. No person may hold more than one office at a time.

Section 4 – Duties of Elected Officers

Subsection 1 – Duties of the President

The President shall:

1. Set agendas for and preside over meetings of the organization and of the Executive Council.
2. Be responsible for maintaining all affiliations with other organizations.
3. Sign all official documents of the organization.
4. Vote at meetings only in case of a tie.
5. Delegate responsibilities to other officers as the President sees fit.

Subsection 2 – Duties of the Vice President

The Vice-President shall:

1. Assume the responsibilities of the President in the absence of the President.
2. Assist the President in the fulfillment of their duties.

Subsection 3 – Duties of the Treasurer

The Treasurer shall:

1. Establish and maintain financial records of the organization and its account balance.
2. Be responsible for assisting with any fund raising activities.
3. Be responsible for assisting with the preparation and presentation of annual budget requests made to the Student Government Association Budget Board.
4. Prepare a report of the organization’s finances at the request of the Executive Council.
5. Be held responsible and accountable to the organization for all financial transactions.

Subsection 4 – Duties of the Secretary

The Secretary shall:

1. Take and disseminate minutes of all meetings.
2. Issue all necessary notices concerning club activities.
3. Coordinate media presence and public relations.

Subsection 5 – Duties of the Executive-at-Large

The Executive-At-Large shall

1. Maintain an accurate roll of the current membership.
2. Act as liaison between the Executive Council and the general membership.
3. Advise the officers on all organizational policy matters.

ARTICLE 4 – Amendments and Bylaws

Section 1 – Quorum

A quorum shall constitute attendance by at least 50% of all members in good standing.

Section 2 – Amendments to the Constitution

Amendments to this Constitution shall be:

1. Proposed by the Executive Council or a majority of members in good standing.
2. Voted on at a designated meeting, attended by a quorum, no sooner than one week following their proposal.
3. Adopted by a two-thirds vote.

Section 3 – Changes to the Bylaws

Changes or additions to the Bylaws may be proposed by any member in good standing and shall be adopted by a majority vote at a meeting where a quorum is present.

ARTICLE 5 – Finances

In the event that the organization is dissolved, all funds present in the organization’s account shall come under the sole ownership of its faculty advisor, who will use discretion as to the further direction of those funds.

ARTICLE 6 – Ratification

This Constitution shall be considered ratified by a majority vote of those members present and in good standing at a meeting specially called for this purpose.

Ratified April 17, 2002:

Cliff Palmer, Jr., Sarah Jacobson, Aparna Bamzai, Justin Eastman, Ty Brady

Amended March 15, 2011:

Hector Quesada, Tyler Arthur

Amended September 6, 2011:

Tyler Arthur, Daniel Newcomb, Nicole Schrand, Paul Tuscano

Amended April 23, 2013:

Jonathan Barrett, Lana Parker, Zoe Brilakis, Hector Quesada, Ozzie Lane

 

BYLAWS

 

1. Member in Good Standing Defined

A member in good standing shall be defined by the following:

a. Has read, understood, and agreed to be bound by and uphold the Constitution and Bylaws of this organization.
b. Has completed and submitted a membership application (if the latter exists) to the current Secretary.
c. Has paid current membership dues (if any are required) to the Treasurer.
d. Has attended general meetings with sufficient frequency.

2. Meetings

Section 1 – General Meetings

General meetings should be held on a weekly basis while classes are in session or as decided by the Executive Council.

Section 2 – Executive Council Meetings

Executive Council meetings should be held once a month while classes are in session or as required.

3. Affiliations

This organization shall be affiliated with the following local, national, or international organizations:

1. Student Government Association
2. Center for Inquiry (formerly the Campus Freethought Alliance)
3. Secular Student Alliance

4. Representatives

This organization shall have the option of recognizing various representatives for the organization:

1. Faculty Advisor
2. Student Government Association Representative
3. CFA/SSA Liaison

Section 1 – Appointment and Selection of Representatives

Subsection 1 – Qualifications of Faculty Advisor

1. Candidacy for Faculty Advisor is open to any member of the faculty of any department or college of the university who expresses a genuine interest in promoting the purposes of the group.
2. Candidates for Faculty Advisor may be brought to the attention of the organization by any member in good standing.

Subsection 2 – Duties of Faculty Advisor

The Faculty Advisor shall serve as a faculty liaison to other faculty members, their department, their college, and the greater university for this organization.

Subsection 3 – Qualifications of Student Government Representative

Candidacy for Student Government Representative is open to any member in good standing who expresses a genuine interest in promoting the purposes of the group to the SGA.

Subsection 4 – Duties of Student Government Representative

The Student Government Representative shall serve as a liaison to the Student Government Association.

Subsection 5 – Qualifications of CFI/SSA Liaison

Candidacy for CFI/SSA liaison is open to any member in good standing who expresses a genuine interest in acting as a communications liaison to promote the ideals of the organization to the Center for Inquiry and/or Secular Student Alliance.

Subsection 6 – Duties of CFI/SSA Liaison

The SSA/CFI Liaison shall serve as a liaison to the Center for Inquiry and Secular Student Alliance. This representative will advise the members of the organization of any programs or possibilities that are being conducted by these national organizations which could be of benefit to Free@VT. This representative will also serve to help communicate with the national organizations in constructing events and activities.