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The Constitution of the Philolexian Society of Columbia University in the City of New York

As agreed upon by the Philolexian Society

We, the members of the Philolexian Society, in order to reform our Society, provide for the common defense, and to secure the Blessings of the Avatar to ourselves and to our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the Philolexian Society.

Article I. NAME

Section I. This Society shall be known as the ''Philolexian Society."

Article II. OBJECT

Section I. Its object shall be to improve its members in Oratory, Composition and Forensic Discussion.

Article III. MEMBERSHIP

Section I. All students in the University and its affiliates shall be eligible to full membership. Full members will be henceforth referred to as "members" in this document with the exception of the bylaws.

Section II. Admission to the Society shall be by the trial of New Member Night, as conducted by that board of full members convened for that purpose and pro-aided by the bylaws. This board will be hereafter known as the New Member Night Board. A third of the votes of the New Member Night Board shall be sufficient to defeat any candidate for membership.

Section III. Immediately upon his or her election, the successful candidate shall be notified thereof by the New Member Night Board.

Section IV. The rejection of a candidate for membership shall not be reconsidered until the following New Member Night.

Section V. Active membership shall not be limited to any number of persons.

Section VI. All graduates or alumni of the Society (hereafter referred to as "Graduate Members") shall retain the privileges of membership with the exception of the right to run for office. Graduate Members are exempt from the performance of duties.

Section VII. Any member of this Society may, after graduation, receive a certificate of Graduate Membership. This privilege extends to those who have already graduated.

Section VIII. Any member who shall leave college before he receives his degree may also obtain a certificate of Graduate Membership when his class shall graduate.

Section IX. The following shall be the text of the certificate of Graduate Membership:

SURGAM 
SOCIETAS PHILOLECTICA COLLEGII COLUMBIAE
ANNO DOMINI MDCCCII NEO EBORACI INSTITVTA 
OMNES AD QVOS HAE LITTERAE 
PRAESENTES VENERINT CERTIORES FACIT 
[NAME HERE] 
ADVLESCENTEM VIRTVTE ATQVE HVMANITATE INSIGNEM 
SOCIVM NOBIS IAMPRIDEM ADSCITVM ESSE 
ET SESE TAM STVDIIS LIBERALIBVS DEDITVM 
QVAM MORIBVS INGENVIS ORNATVM OSTENDISS 
QVAE OB MERITA AD SOCII HONORARII 
GRADVM NVNC ADMITTI 
IN CVIVS REI TESTIMONIVM PRAESES 
INCARNATIOQVE A SECRETIS SOCIORVM PRO NOMINE 
CHIROGRAPHA NOSTRA SIGILLVMQVE SOCIETATIS 
HISCE LITTERIS AFFIGENDUM CVRAVIMVS 
PRAESES 
INCARNATIO

Section X. Members of the Faculty and instructors in the University, persons of literary distinction may in like manner be elected to honorary membership in the Society by a two-thirds majority of the present membership. Honorary members may obtain a certificate of Graduate Membership but are denied the privileges of full membership. All nominations for honorary membership shall be announced by the Minister of Propaganda one week prior to their consideration by the Society.

Section XI. The Society may, at the discretion of the Executive Board, invite students at peer institutions of higher education who have otherwise fulfilled the requirements for membership contained within the bylaws to be candidates at New Member Night for Ambassadorship. The procedures for admitting Ambassadors shall be same as for members. The Society shall grant these Ambassadors the same privileges as members, except for serving on the Executive Board. The eligibility of an Ambassador to serve in a particular supporting office shall be decided by the Executive Board.

Article IV. EXECUTIVE BOARD AND OFFICERS

Section I. The Executive Board of the Society shall be the Moderator, Censor, Scriba, Impresario, Minister of Propaganda, Chancellor of the Exchequer, and Editor of Literary Czar.

Section II. The Chancellor of the Exchequer and Literary Czar shall serve for terms of one year.

Section III. The Society may from time to time ordain and establish by Bylaw supporting offices to aid the Executive Board in its responsibilities.

Section IV. The Moderator shall preside over meetings, be empowered to call special meetings of the Executive Board and the Society, and possess the usual prerogatives of the office of president. A member of the Society is eligible to become the Moderator only if he or she has served as an officer of the Society for two semesters including one semester on the Executive Board, with the exception of the office of Censor.

Section V. The Censor shall either commend or censor members of the Society at the conclusion of each general meeting.

Section VI. It shall be the duty of the Scriba to keep the minutes of the Society in books provided for the purpose, to take a roll of the members, which he shall call at the opening of each meeting, to place upon the minutes the names of all prize-winners, to transcribe upon the books all new laws and amendments, subscribing his name and the date thereof, to notify committees of their appointment and the duties assigned to them, to notify candidates of their admission to membership, to count votes at the general meetings, and in general, to perform all other duties, such as the reservation of meeting space, which the Society may require. The Scriba must bring a copy of this Constitution and its Bylaws to each general meeting of the Society.

Section VII. It shall be the duty of the Impresario to plan and produce the Society's events other than weekly meetings, including but not limited to the Joyce Kilmer Memorial Bad Poetry Contest, Beat Night, Croquet Tea, Symposium, New Member Night, and all other events the Society holds.

Section VIII. It shall be the duty of the Minister of Propaganda to oversee all aspects of the Society's promotional efforts, including but not limited to overseeing flyering, the dispatch of electronic announcements, and other public relations efforts.

Section IX. It shall be the duty of the Chancellor of the Exchequer to make all ordinary disbursements, to keep a correct accounting of Societal funds, and to maintain financial relations with the University. He shall not pay out any moneys of the Society except with approval of the Executive Board.

Section X. It shall be the duty of the Literary Czar to produce and distribute the high quality literary magazine of the Society at least once per annum in addition to all other publications of the Society, and to procure submissions with extreme prejudice.

Section XI. The officers of the Executive Board shall be elected before the conclusion of the semester, but not before New Member Night. Only in the case of a vacancy in office, during the semester may an election occur at another time. Election of all other officers shall be held at the discretion of the Executive Board.

Section XII. All elections shall be determined by a majority of votes. The Moderator shall count the votes and announce the results immediately following the tally; if he or she is deemed to have a conflict of interest, the responsibility falls to the Censor or another member of the Executive Board. Votes for office must be tallied and may not be approximated by Secret Scriba Fashion. In the case of multiple candidates, the Moderator may restructure the election as a run-off if he or she sees fit.

Section XIII. If any officer fails to attend a general meeting of the Society or is momentarily absent from a meeting, his or her position will be filled by an officer pro tempore, who will be appointed by either the Moderator or by general acclamation.

Section XIV. The Executive Board described in this article constitutes the ruling POWERS THAT BE of the Philolexian Society.

Article V. REMOVALS

Section I. Any member or officer of the Society may be tried for an offense, removal, or expulsion by a two-thirds vote of the entire available membership and with the approval of both a majority of the Executive Board and the Moderator himself. If the Moderator is indicted, then the approval of the Censor is required. But in all such cases the accused shall, at least ten days previously, receive from the Scriba a statement of the charges together with the names of the persons preferring them. He shall have the benefit of witness and of a defense, personal or by counsel.

Section II. The same charges may not be entertained twice, and, in lieu of a definite law to the point, a two-thirds majority of the entire enrolled membership shall be necessary to determine an offense to the Society.

Section III. Trials shall be presided over by the Moderator, his appointee, or as the Society may direct. If the Moderator is indicted, the Censor may preside.

Article VI. AMENDMENTS

Section I. Every proposed alteration or amendment to this constitution shall be presented to the Moderator, who shall submit the same to the Society for two consecutive general meetings. The Minister of Propaganda must announce the proposed amendment to the full members and graduate members of the Society prior to each meeting. At the second meeting, a two-thirds majority vote of present full and graduate members and the approval of a majority of the Executive Board shall be necessary to give it effect. Votes must be counted by the Moderator alone. They may not be approximated by the Secret Scriba fashion.

Section II. The Bylaws of the Society may be temporarily amended by a two-thirds majority vote of the present membership. Upon initial passage of an amendment, the Minister of Propaganda shall announce the amendment to the full and graduate members of the Society prior to the next meeting, where a two-thirds majority of present full and graduate members will be required to make the amendment permanent. Bylaw amendments shall take immediate effect upon initial passage unless otherwise noted.

Section III. Constitutional Conventions, which shall be the exclusive means of revising the constitution by means other than amendment, may be held from time to time.

  1. A convention will be held if a petition is made to the Moderator by one fifth of the full members of the Society. The time and location of the convention shall be set by the petitioners in consultation with the Moderator.

  2. The time and location of any such Convention must be announced to the full and graduate members at least one week in advance. An additional announcement must be made one day in advance.

  3. Proposed revisions to the constitution must be submitted to the Moderator, who shall submit the same to the Society for two consecutive general meetings. The Whip must announce the proposed revisions to the constitution to the full and graduate members before each meeting. At the second meeting, a two-thirds majority vote of the present full and graduate members and the approval of a majority of the Executive Board shall be necessary to give them effect. Votes must be counted by the Moderator alone. They may not be approximated by the Secret Scriba fashion.

This Constitution of the Philolexian Society revised by

Jonathan Aaron Treitel '05
Scriba, Co-Editor of Surgam, Minister of Internet Truth, Moderator, Censor
Philolexian Society
in Spring of 2004

and revised again and agreed upon by all members present at the Philolexian Constitutional Convention of April 2009.

Revised once again and agreed upon by all members present at the Philolexian Constitutional Convention of April 2011.


BYLAWS OF THE PHILOLEXIAN SOCIETY

Chapter I

Section I. This Society shall hold meetings every Thursday during the University term at eight-thirty (8:30) P.M, or at a time deemed more suitable by the Moderator.

Section II. The foregoing section is subject to alteration on motion.

Section III. The order of business shall be:

  1. Society called to order.
  2. Calling of the Roll.
  3. Reading of minutes.
  4. Reports of officers and committees.
  5. Old business.
  6. New business.
  7. Literary exercise.
  8. Debate.
  9. Censor's Report.
  10. Vote for the resolution two weeks hence.
  11. Adjournment.
  12. Reconvene at a location chosen by the Moderator for carousing, rabble- rousing, or other revelry.

Chapter II

Section I. When any member wishes to debate he shall address himself to the Moderator and perform an obsequious address. His qualification to address the Society shall be dependent upon the quality of his obsequious address as determined by the Moderator.

Section II. Any individual who attends a meeting of the Society is a lifetime member of the Society. He or she is not, however, a full member (previously referred to as "member") with all the privileges thereof unless he or she has passed the trial of New Member Night.

Section III. In order to address the current speaker, a questioning member must raise his hand and wait to be called upon. In general, this Society shall follow Robert's Rules of Order as enforced by the Moderator and his Sergeant-at-Arms. This Society shall, at each meeting, also follow the oft-quoted "Way of the Moderator," which shall be brought to every meeting by the Scriba. Any rule of order or motion is subject to Fiat of the Moderator, as discussed in Section IV.

Section IV. The Moderator shall have the power to arbitrarily dismiss any motion before the Society or any rule of order of the Society. This power shall be known as Fiat of the Moderator, or Moderatorial Fiat. The Moderator may not, however, arbitrarily alter this constitution or the Bylaws of the Society, and it is reminded that the Moderator is subject to indictment following an offense to the Society.

Section V. No member shall speak for more than five minutes or more than once upon a single resolution, without unanimous consent of all members present.

Section VI. A member's speech may be curtailed either by motion, by Fiat of the Moderator, or by unanimous applause.

Chapter III

Section I. The supporting officers of the Society shall be the Herald, the Whip, the Keeper of the Halls, the Sergeant-at-Arms, the Minister of Internet Truth, the Tea Marm, and the Quaestor.

Section II. Supporting officers shall serve for a term of one semester. Members of the Executive Board may simultaneously hold an supporting office. A supporting officer may hold the same office more than once.

Section III. The Herald shall produce and distribute notices of each weekly general meeting and lead flyering efforts on campus. The Herald shall answer to the Minister of Propaganda.

Section IV. The Whip of the Society shall advertise the weekly general meeting, in a witty manner, through e-mail. The Whip shall answer to the Minister of Propaganda.

Section V. The Keeper of the Halls shall maintain and secure the Halls of the Philolexian Society, both for the preservation of the records of the Society and against incursions from rogue States and Societies. The Keeper of the Halls shall answer to the Scriba.

Section VI. The Sergeant-at-Arms shall maintain order at each general meeting, maintain a list of fines which he or she shall collect as required, and expel or quell members of the Society according to the command of the Moderator.

Section VII. The Minister of Internet Truth shall maintain the web stronghold of the Society. On a weekly basis, the Minister will update the site with notices of that week's resolution, with calendar changes, and with documents of the Herald. On a semesterly basis, the Minister will train his successor, and he or she will significantly contribute to a portion of the online archives, either in content, in form, or both. The Minister of Internet Truth shall answer to the Minister of Propaganda.

Section VIII. The Tea Marm shall provide sustenance to the membership of the Society at each weekly meeting as allowed by budgetary requirements and good taste. The Tea Marm shall answer to the Scriba.

Section IX. The Surgam Syndicate shall consist of the Associate Wordsmiths, the Errata Eradicators, the Layout Wizard, and the Quaestor, and will be chaired by the Literary Czar. The Associate Wordsmiths will assist the Literary Czar in the selection and editing of pieces deemed worthy of publication in Surgam; the Errata Eradicators will hunt down and correct errors without mercy; the Layout Wizard will arrange Surgam in a form that is both aesthetically pleasing and functional; and the Quaestor will manage the finances of Surgam, including its advertising, subscriptions, grants, and printing. The members of the Surgam Syndicate will be appointed by the Literary Czar for a term of one semester, subject to the approval of the Moderator.

Chapter IV

Section I. The New Member Night Board shall consist of all members of the Society present at New Member Night.

Section II. On petition by the candidate or on recommendation by any member of the Society at New Member Night, the New Member Night Board shall take into consideration particularly the literary ability and personality of the candidate, as well as the likelihood of his or her benefiting the Society. Reports shall be specific as to the final decision of the Board and the grounds for such decisions shall be stated. The sentiment of the members present regarding each candidate shall then be ascertained by open discussion or by vote. It shall be the understanding that the members in general are favorably disposed toward any candidate who is invited to speak before them and will not vote him down unless his address is of such a character that he is manifestly unworthy of admission to the Society. The candidate, in order to be considered for membership, must speak at three consecutive debates, obtain the signatures of five full Philolexians on his petition, and, at New Member Night, present an original work of artistic, literary, or otherwise creative merit. He or she may be denied admission to the Society by negative votes of one-third of the New Member Night Board, as written in Section II, Article II, of this Constitution.

Section III. On rare occasion, a candidate's presentation of artistic, literary, or otherwise creative merit may be postponed until the first meeting of the next semester.
Postponement may only occur at the discretion of the Moderator or by a majority vote of the New Member Night Board. It should be noted that the Moderator and the New Member Night Board should not be favorably disposed toward any such postponement.

Chapter V

Section I. The Executive Board, comprising the Moderator, Censor, Scriba, Impresario, Minister of Propaganda, Chancellor of the Exchequer, and Literary Czar, shall meet in session at least every other week during the academic year to discuss and transact the business of the Society. This meeting shall be before the weekly meeting of the Society; however, at the discretion of the Moderator it may be moved to a more convenient time.
Attendance at this meeting is mandatory except in cases of extreme emergency.

Section II. Committees appointed by the Society for the planning and execution of events or other important matters shall report their business to the body of the Society at a general meeting within two meetings from their formation, and at least every other meeting thereafter, until their dissolution. This duty may be waived by Moderatorial fiat only.

Chapter VI

Section I. Fines shall be imposed and collected by the Sergeant-at-Arms for offenses to the dignity of the Society, including but not limited to:

Section II. All fines shall be one dollar, except in case of special or repeated offense.
The Scriba shall note all offenses; fines shall double for the third and further offenses within a single semester. Lifetime members will be warned, rather than fined, upon their first offense.

Section III. The Moderator may pardon any offense and waive any fine with the exception of his or her own.

Section IV. All fines collected by the Sergeant-at-Arms shall be forwarded to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, to be used for societal expenses.

The Philolexian Society
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