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#1 2011-08-28 23:10:41

ZackLewis
Physics/Policy Wonk
Registered: 2011-08-04
Posts: 39

Proposed Constituion Changes.

From Tyler:

The first post is the new, amended constitution and the post below it is the old one. I have posted both so every member can compare and contrast them and then post any objections, questions, or concerns in one organized feed.

The process will go as such:
1) I will announce that constitutional amendments have been proposed at the next meeting (August 30th)
2) The amendments will be voted on at the next meeting (September 6th)

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#2 2011-08-28 23:12:22

ZackLewis
Physics/Policy Wonk
Registered: 2011-08-04
Posts: 39

Re: Proposed Constituion Changes.

Version with proposed changes.

--------------------------------------------------------

Constitution of the Freethinkers at Virginia Tech
Ratified: April 17, 2002
First Amendment Adopted: March 15, 2011

Preamble

Freethought is the application of critical thinking and logic to all areas of human experience, and the rejection of supernatural and authoritarian beliefs. Freethinkers value rational and scientific inquiry, individual freedom and responsibility, and the need for tolerance and cooperation. Freethinking encompasses, among other things, atheism, agnosticism, deism, humanism, skepticism. It values the primacy of reason.

Freethought is thought unconstrained by deference to authority.

ARTICLE 1 – Name and Purpose
Section 1 – Name
The exact title of this organization is the Freethinkers at Virginia Tech; this title may be abbreviated by the term “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 of any variety of non-theist. It will also seek to enrich campus life by sponsoring various educational and social events which will help foster student dialogue on matters of faith, science, state, and reason. 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).

ARTICLE 2 – Membership
Section 1 – Non-Discrimination Statement
Membership in this organization shall not be restricted to any person on the basis of race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, age, veteran status, national origin, religion, or political affiliation.

Section 2 – Membership
Membership in this organization shall be open to all students, faculty, and staff of Virginia Tech as well as 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 sufficient recent participation.

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 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:
1. Be proposed by the Executive Council or a majority of members in good standing.
2. Be voted on at a designated meeting, attended by a quorum, no sooner that 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
Section 1 – Dissolution
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 August 23, 2011
Tyler Arthur
Daniel Newcomb
Nicole Schrand
Paul Tuscano

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#3 2011-08-28 23:13:17

ZackLewis
Physics/Policy Wonk
Registered: 2011-08-04
Posts: 39

Re: Proposed Constituion Changes.

Current Version

----------------------------------------

Constitution of the Freethinkers at Virginia Tech
Ratified: April 17, 2002
First Amendment Adopted: March 15, 2011

Preamble

Freethought is the application of critical thinking and logic to all areas of human experience, and the rejection of supernatural and authoritarian beliefs.
Freethinkers value rational and scientific inquiry, individual freedom and responsibility, and the need for tolerance and cooperation.
Freethinking encompasses, among other things, atheism, agnosticism, deism, humanism, skepticism. It values the primacy of reason.
Freethought is thought unconstrained by deference to authority.

ARTICLE 1 – Name and Purpose

Section 1 – Name
The exact title of this organization is the Freethinkers at Virginia Tech; this title may be abbreviated by the term “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 of any variety of non-theist. It will also seek to enrich campus life by sponsoring various educational and social events which will help foster student dialogue on matters of faith, science, state, and reason. 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).

ARTICLE 2 – Membership

Section 1 – Non-Discrimination Statement
Membership in this organization shall not be restricted to any person on the basis of race, color, sex, sexual orientation, disability, age, veteran status, national origin, religion, or political affiliation.

Section 2 – Membership
Membership in this organization shall be open to all students, faculty, and staff of Virginia Tech as well as 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 exceed fifty percent of the total membership. Members shall be fully informed of issues to be voted upon prior to a vote. Members are also encouraged to contribute voluntary dues to the organization.

Section 4 – Removal of Voting Rights
Failure to observe regulations as established by this constitution and bylaws shall be considered grounds for withdrawal of voting privileges within this organization. Any member found in violation of these regulations can have his or her voting privileges withdrawn at a meeting by a majority vote of present members.

ARTICLE 3 – Governance Section 1 – List of Elected Officers
The elected officers of this organization shall be:
1. President 2. Vice President 3. Treasurer 4. Executive-at-Large

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, at any meeting in the year in which that election will take place, with the approval of the majority of members in good standing at that meeting.
3. To be eligible for the office of Executive-at-Large each nominee must be a member in good standing of this organization.
4. The prior-membership qualifications shall be waived for the offices of President Pro Tempore and Treasurer Pro Tempore. These offices will be effective only in the event that less than two (2) candidates satisfy the aforementioned qualification requirements.

Section 3 – Elections and Replacement of Elected Officers
1. Nominations from the floor shall be made and elections shall be held at a special meeting held each spring semester to elect the organization’s officers.
2. Officers shall be elected by a majority of members in good standing present at the election meeting.
3. Officers-elect will be responsible for learning their duties from the current officers prior to the beginning of their terms.
4. Terms of the officers-elect will begin after the last regular membership meeting of the same semester.
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 calendar year.
7. Any officer who is unable to perform his/her duties as deemed by a majority vote of the Executive Council may be brought before the general membership and may be impeached by a majority vote of the members in good standing present at that meeting.
8. No person may hold more than one office at a time.

Section 4 – Duties of Elected Officers

Subsection 1 – Duties of the President
1. The President shall be familiar with and enforce the constitution and bylaws of the organization. 2. The President shall preside over meetings of the organization and the Executive Council. 3. The President shall decide all questions of order and set the meeting agendas. 4. The President shall be responsible for maintaining all affiliations with other organizations, including membership as a representative in the Secular Student Alliance’s Council of Campus Group Leaders.
5. The President shall sign all official documents of the organization. 6. The President shall vote at meetings only in case of a tie. 7. The President shall be responsible for arranging programs for the organization’s meetings if so desired by the membership.

Subsection 2 – Duties of the Vice President
1. The Vice President shall be familiar with and enforce the constitution and bylaws of the organization.
3. The Vice President shall preside over meetings of the organization and the Executive Council. 4. The Vice President shall decide all questions of order and set the meeting agendas. 5. The Vice President shall be responsible for maintaining all affiliations with other organizations. 6. The Vice President shall vote at meetings only in case of a tie.
7. The Vice President shall be responsible for arranging programs for the organization’s meetings if so desired by the membership.

Subsection 3 – Duties of the Treasurer
1. The Secretary shall assist the President and advise him on all organizational policy matters. 2. The Treasurer shall establish and maintain financial records of the organization and its account balance. 3. The Treasurer shall be responsible for assisting with any fund raising activities engaged in by the group. 4. The Treasurer shall be responsible for assisting with the preparation and presentation of budget requests made to the Student Government Association Budget Board. 5. The Treasurer shall prepare a report of the organization’s finances at the request of the Executive Council. 6. The Treasurer shall be held responsible and accountable to the organization for all financial transactions. 7. The Treasurer shall perform such duties as delegated by the Executive Council.

Subsection 4 – Duties of the Executive-at-Large
1. The Executive-At-Large shall assist the President and Treasurer, and advise those offices on all organizational policy matters. 2. The Executive-At-Large shall take and keep minutes of all meetings of the organization, which are to be distributed to members via the group discussion listserv or website.
3. The Executive-At-Large shall maintain an accurate roll of the current membership. 4. The Executive-At-Large shall issue all necessary notices concerning regular and special meetings. 5. The Executive-At-Larges hall act as liaison between the Executive Council and the general membership. 6. The Executive-At-Large shall advise the officers on all organizational policy matters. 7. The Executive-At-Large shall perform such duties as delegated by the Executive Council.

Section 5 – Executive Council
The management of this organization shall be vested in an Executive Council consisting of all the elected officers.

Subsection 1 – Duties of the Executive Council
1. The Executive Council shall be responsible for the creation of committees. 2. The Executive Council shall be responsible for adhering to the budget policies set forth by the membership of the organization. 3. The Executive Council shall also be responsible to take any other actions deemed necessary and proper to insure successful operation of the organization.

ARTICLE 4 – Amendments and Bylaws

Section 1 – Proposal of Amendments
Proposed amendments to this Constitution shall be suggested by the Executive Council or a majority vote of those members in good standing.

Section 2 – Adoption of Amendments
Amendments to this Constitution shall be adopted by a two-thirds vote of all members in good standing at a meeting specially called for this purpose.

Section 3 – Proposal of Bylaws
Proposed changes or additions to the Bylaws of this organization shall be suggested by the Executive Council or a majority vote of those members in good standing.

Section 4 – Adoption of Bylaws
Proposed changes or additions to the Bylaws of this organization shall be adopted by a majority vote of all members in good standing at a meeting specially called for this purpose.

Section 5 – Quorum
A quorum shall be required to vote on any proposed amendment to this Constitution or proposed changes to the Bylaws of this organization. A quorum shall constitute at least 50% of all members in good standing.

ARTICLE 5 – Finances Section 1 – Funding
The activities and functions of Free@VT shall be funded by:
1. Submitting an annual budget to the Student Government Association Budget Board. 2. Holding fund-raisers and/or other money-making activities. 3. Collecting voluntary dues from Members of Free@VT. 4. Requisitioning funds from other affiliate organizations in times of need.

Section 2 – Dissolution
In the event that the organization is dissolved, all funds present in the organization’s account will become under sole ownership of its faculty advisor, who will use discretion as to the further direction of those funds.

ARTICLE 6 – Registration Renewal
Registration renewals for Free@VT are to be filed and approved by the officers and members of Free@VT at the first meeting each August.

ARTICLE 7 – 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

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#4 2011-08-28 23:45:21

ackthet
Hammer of God
Registered: 2011-08-04
Posts: 42

Re: Proposed Constituion Changes.

Should have just posted a diff big_smile

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#5 2011-08-29 13:17:58

Cornelioid
Inquisitive
From: Blacksburg
Registered: 2011-08-04
Posts: 31
Website

Re: Proposed Constituion Changes.

Suggestions for the proposed version:

Article 1, Section 1:
. . . may be abbreviated “Free@VT.”

Article 1, Section 2:
. . . rationalists, skeptics, deists, or any variety of non-theist.
. . . by sponsoring events intended to foster dialogue . . .
. . . on matters of faith, religious identity, science, reason, and ethics.

Article 2, Section 4, Subsection 1:
4. Has participated sufficiently recently.

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#6 2011-08-30 13:34:30

linford86
Inquisitive
Registered: 2011-08-04
Posts: 35

Re: Proposed Constituion Changes.

Proposed change to definition of "freethinker":

"Freethought is the application of critical thinking, logic, and empirical investigation to all areas of human experience, and the rejection of dogmatic beliefs held without rational justification. Freethinkers value rational and scientific inquiry, individual freedom and responsibility, and the need for tolerance and cooperation. Freethinkers are often atheists, agnostics, deists, humanists, and skeptics. Freethinking values the primacy of reason."

I propose this for the following reasons:

1. While we do not, at present, have any good reasons to suppose the existence of supernatural entities, we should not rule them by *definition* (second clause, first sentence). We don't reject the existence of the supernatural by definition, so much as by the use of rational thought. If we had merely assumed, by way of definition, that the supernatural does not exist, then we would actually be dogmatic. Besides, if deism is under the definition of freethought, then including non-belief in the supernatural would make the definition self-contradictory.

2. Not all atheists (for example) are freethinkers (third sentence). You can find dogmatic atheists; certain communist dictators come to mind.

3. It's not necessarily authority we're rejecting; rather, we're rejecting dogmas and/or doctrines which do not have rational justifications (second clause, first sentence).

4. I think it's important to mention not only critical thinking and logic, but also empirical investigation (first clause, first sentence). These are actually three separate modes of inquiry which are presumably acceptable as freethinkers (informally, I would call all of them rational.)

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#7 2011-08-30 17:13:07

Cornelioid
Inquisitive
From: Blacksburg
Registered: 2011-08-04
Posts: 31
Website

Re: Proposed Constituion Changes.

I'm glad someone tackled the definitions of "freethought", "freethinker", and "freethinking". I'd like to propose some adjustments to linford86's suggestions, followed by my reasons. The changed parts are in italics.

"Freethought is the application of critical thinking to all areas of human experience, unconstrained by tradition or authority."

Re: "critical thinking...": I merged "logic and empirical investigation" here with "rational and scientific inquiry" below as "rational and empirical investigation". Rationalism includes logic, empiricism includes science, and investigation includes inquiry; i used the broader word in each case.

Re: "unconstrained...": The original caveat seemed redundant, and the core essence of freethought (nondeference to authority) was missing. (Here i disagree with linford86's assertion 3. See the short definition of "freethought" in the original constitution. Not rejection of authority but nondeference to it is essential to freethought.)

"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."

I put the five categories in order of immediacy from freethought (as i perceived them). In particular, i put "skeptics" and "humanists" first.

"Freethinking emphasizes the primacy of reason."

Freethinking is an activity, not an entity.

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